Is chocolate milk really a good recovery drink after working out? The answer is, YES. The first time I heard about the benefits of chocolate milk was from my conditioning coach in college. Yes of course there are electrolyte-packed drinks, shakes and water, but the combination of carbs and protein in chocolate milk helps recover and rebuild muscles much faster. Drinking plain water after exercise replaces sweat losses – and that’s it. Since there’s nothing to metabolize in water, chocolate milk is the best alternative to replenish your muscles. Here’s a quick Q & A about the benefits of chocolate milk, what kind of chocolate and milk is best and when you should drink it.
Q: What’s in Chocolate Milk that Helps Rebuild Muscles?
A: Low-fat or fat-free chocolate milk has a natural source of high-quality protein (8 grams in 8 ounces), which is necessary to building and maintaining lean muscle. Chocolate milk has the right combo of carb-to-protein to refuel and rebuild muscles. It also has Vitamin A, B vitamins, electrolytes, water (fluids), calcium, vitamin D, potassium and phosphorous.
Q: What Are Some Other Benefits of Drinking Chocolate Milk After a Workout?
A: Studies have shown that drinking chocolate milk resulted in greater muscle mass, strength gains, fat loss and even a potential protective effect on bone health (compared to a carb-only sports drink with the same calories).
Q: When Should I Drink Chocolate Milk?
A: After you exercise, your body needs time to adequately carbo-reload and replace your depleted glycogen. Did you know that one pound of sweat loss equals 16 ounces of fluid loss? My coach always had a pre-and post-exercise fuel routine. Pre-exercise fuel will not only help you have a better workout, but it will also keep your recovery needs down. Within an hour or two before exercise, fuel up with 300-500 calories of carbs and proteins such as oatmeal, quick bowl of cereal, toast with almond butter and banana. After exercise, your body needs and wants an adequate supply of protein to reduce muscle breakdown and stimulate growth, carbs to refuel depleted muscle glycogen and lots of fluids (electrolytes) to rehydrate the body and replenish what’s lost in sweat. How well you refuel after you exercise can and will make a difference in how well you can preform during your next workout. Drinking low-fat or fat-free chocolate milk within 30-60 minutes after finishing a workout offers the right balance of carbs and proteins and has been scientifically shown to effectively refuel exhausted muscles.
Q: Can I substitute with Almond or Soy Milk?
A: The answer is YES. You can substitute milk for almond or sweetened soy milk (if you use soy, make sure it’s sweetened for the necessary calories). They’re equal in protein, carbs, fat and calories. Researchers found that both beverages (almond, milk or soy) resulted in a positive net muscle protein balance and more protein synthesis. Though milk does have greater benefits because of its additional proteins like whey and casein, I highly recommend drinking any chocolate milk drink.
Q: What Type of Chocolate Do I Use?
A: There are many pre-made chocolate milk options you can buy. What I recommend is making your own chocolate instead of picking up Nesquik off the shelf. Try picking one that isn’t high in sugar and added sweeteners.
-DIY Recovery Chocolate Milk Drink:
- 8-12 ounces low-fat or fat-free milk (almond or sweetened soy)
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 1 tbsp. cacao powder (unsweetened)
- Mix it all together and ta-dah! You’ve got a perfect post-recovery workout drink
The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.