Build a Better Body with Chocolate Milk

1
Why Athletes Still Drink Chocolate Milk

Chocolate Milk
Build a Better Body with Chocolate Milk. andresr/Getty Images

Chocolate milk came on the scene a few years ago as a potential workout recovery drink.  Chronic studies continue to indicate it helps promote muscle protein synthesis (growth).  Further research also shows chocolate milk improves athletic performance, maintains cellular balance, and keeps the body hydrated.

Sometimes we can overthink sports nutrition when it comes to muscle recovery.  It’s really not necessary to spend lots of money on ‘turbocharged’ muscle building drinks. Chocolate milk tastes delicious and according to evidence-based research is better post-workout than a carbohydrate replacement drink. 

Nothing fancy or expensive required after your workout to maintain lean muscle. Whether you’re endurance running, swimming, cycling or weight training, quality nutrition is vital to optimal performance and results. No wonder athletes are still building a better body with chocolate milk and you can too. Let’s take a look at the benefits of chocolate milk before and after a workout: 

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Fuels Your Body

Chocolate Milk Provides Energy
Chocolate Milk Provides Energy for Workouts. Sam Edwards/Getty Images

Working out requires quality energy food. Chocolate milk contains an excellent combination of protein and carbohydrates.  It also provides fluids and electrolytes to keep the body hydrated and in cellular balance.

Studies have shown consuming healthy carbs and whey protein at night help with muscle recovery and next day workouts.  Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise wanted to test this theory with chocolate milk.  

A study was conducted to prove drinking chocolate milk at night would prepare athletes for competition. Eight female endurance runners, aged 31 to 34 participated in a double blind study and given chocolate milk or flavor matched placebo 30-minutes before bed.

The following morning, the women were given water only and each ran 10 kilometers or 6.2 miles on a treadmill. The participants who drank chocolate milk before bed had a faster trial time than those who consumed the placebo.

It was concluded chocolate milk may be helpful to meet both hydration and nutritional needs of athletes prior to race mornings.  

3
Improves Athletic Performance

Chocolate Milk and Athletic Performance
Chocolate Milk Improves Athletic Performance. Paul Bradbury/Getty Images

Putting our best into a workout can feel like a challenge without restoring our glycogen (sugar). We can literally hit the wall and not want to continue when our nutritional tank is on empty. Chocolate milk is shown to be an effective way to restore our glycogen levels (energy) during exhaustive workouts.

Research presented at the annual conference of the American College of Sports Medicine examined chocolate milk for athletic performance. The study was conducted on elite swimmers working to exhaustion but had to perform again within that same day. Researchers set out to prove chocolate milk would supply quick energy for the athletes performing several exhaustive swim trials.

Participants included 6 male National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) swimmers who worked to glycogen exhaustion. The men were given chocolate milk, carbohydrate sports drink or calorie-free beverage immediately following their swim bouts and two hours post-workout. The swimmers completed three varying swim performance tests after recovering. Testing was repeated over three consecutive weeks in order to gather accurate information.

The swimmers who drank chocolate milk were faster by 2.1 seconds in a 200-yard bout compared to those who consumed the sports drink and calorie-free beverage. They also completed a 75-yard sprint faster by .5 seconds. Conclusive results show nutritional supplements like chocolate milk do enhance athletic performance.  

4
Builds Muscle

Chocolate Milk Builds Muscle
Chocolate Milk Builds Muscle. Caiaimage/Sam Edwards/Getty Images

Hard workouts tear down our muscle. Proper nutrition and protein intake are important to repair and rebuild the damage. Did you know chocolate milk has 8 grams of high-quality protein per 8-ounce serving? The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recently reported, “because of its favorable carbohydrate and protein content, chocolate milk is indeed an effective recovery aid.”

A study reported in the Official Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine examined whole-body protein turnover (WBPTO) in endurance athletes after drinking fat-free chocolate milk. Whole-body protein turnover measures both muscle protein synthesis (muscle growth) and protein breakdown. The two-week randomized study included 6 moderately trained male runners in their early twenties.

The men were required to run for 45-minutes at a fairly quick pace. The participants were given either 16-ounces of chocolate milk or placebo carbohydrate equivalent. Blood and breath samples were collected from each runner during a 3-hour recovery period on days 7 and 14. The researchers were looking for leucine content, an amino acid and building block of protein within the samples.

During the recovery interval, the men who drank chocolate milk showed greater leucine oxidation positive for muscle growth. They also showed less leucine oxidation disposal which means less muscle breakdown. Conclusions to the research indicate chocolate milk as a better post-workout aid for muscle growth over a carbohydrate recovery drink.  

5
What Makes Chocolate Milk Superior?

Chocolate Milk
Chocolate Milk is Great Sports Nutrition. Jack Andersen/Getty Images

Let’s face it, chocolate milk tastes awesome. What makes it a superior recovery drink and under continued research studies are the ingredients:

High-quality protein:

Chocolate milk contains approximately 8 grams of high-quality protein per 8-oz serving. Milk based protein is high in leucine, one of the primary Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) linked to muscle protein synthesis (growth). 

Carbohydrate to protein ratio:

Chocolate milk has a 3 to 1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio. Studies indicate this ideal combination is an effective way to restore glycogen levels (energy) after exhaustive workouts.  

Fluids and Electrolytes:

Chocolate milk contains electrolytes potassium and sodium.  Electrolyte balance is essential for optimal fitness. Sweating during hard workouts decreases our fluids and electrolytes. Chocolate milk provides these essential elements plus fluids keeping the body in balance and well hydrated.  

Essential Micronutrients:

Chocolate milk is a good source of calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.  It also contains vitamins A, B12 and D. These important nutrients contribute to strong bones, improved energy, healthy immune system, and improved vision.  

Sources:

Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, Effects of chocolate milk consumption on markers of muscle recovery following soccer training: a randomized cross-over study, Stephanie F Gilson et al., 5/18/10

American College of Sports Medicine in the News, Chocolate Milk May Help Repair Muscles, Restore Glycogen After Exercise, 2016

Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Chocolate milk and endurance exercise recovery: protein balance, glycogen, and performance, Lunn WR et al., 4/12

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, How to Fuel Your Workout, Eleese Cunningham, RDN, 3/16

American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, Exercise is Medicine, Abstract, Supplemental Recovery Nutrition affects Swim Performance following Glycogen Depleting Exercise, Joel M. Stager, FACSM et al., 5/14

Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Morning Hydration Status and Running Performance in Female Athletes following Nighttime Consumption of Chocolate Milk, Miller, Elizabeth A et al., 5/28/15

Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Effects Of Chocolate Milk Consumption On Leucine Kinetics During Recovery From Endurance Exercise, Colletto, Megan et al., 6/10

Dairy Council of California, Healthy Eating Made Easier, Chocolate Milk, Is Chocolate Milk Good For You

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