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The Perfect Recovery Drink: A Glass Of…Chocolate Milk?

If you’re physically active and have a sweet tooth, there’s good news for you.

After your workout, considering reaching for a glass of chocolate milk instead of that glass of water. Unlike water, chocolate milk typically has double the carbs and protein (ideal for muscle recovery and replenishment), high water content (to replace lost fluids and prevent dehydration), and sodium and sugar (helping you retain water and regain energy).

Scientifically Proven Benefits of Chocolate Milk

In 2010, at the American College of Sports Medicine’s 57th Annual Meeting two studies were presented underscoring the benefits of chocolate milk on muscle recovery and glycogen.

Chocolate Milk for Muscle Recovery

The first study had eight male runners complete two runs over two weeks while ensuring that they ate a balanced diet matched to their individual needs. Each run lasted 45 minutes at an effort of 65 percent of their maximum effort.

After each run, these men either drank 16 ounces of fat-free chocolate milk or 16 ounces of a carbohydrate-only beverage (with the same amount of calories as the chocolate milk). During a three-hour recovery period, muscle biopsies were taken and researchers found that drinking chocolate milk after a run had heightened markers of muscle protein repair compared to the carbohydrate-only drink.

Chocolate Milk for Glycogen Restoration

The second study, with the same eight male subjects, showed chocolate milk’s contribution to replacing glycogen stores in muscles. Glycogen stores are used as a secondary energy source (after fats) during prolonged exercise. Their glycogen levels were tested 30 and 60 minutes following ingestion of fat-free chocolate milk or the carbohydrate-only beverage. And again, muscle glycogen stores were greater in the chocolate milk drinks—further supporting chocolate milk’s efficacy.

Additional resources on chocolate milk for recovery:

The Washington Post: Why You Should Try Chocolate Milk After a Workout

American College of Sports Medicine: Chocolate Milk May Help Repair Muscles, Restore Glycogen After Exercise

Dr. Sonja Stilp likes whole chocolate milk for the added benefits of Vitamin D and dairy fat. Don’t worry, fat isn’t bad. Her favorite? Morning Fresh Dairy’s whole chocolate milk in a glass bottle. The best! And if you want to learn more about muscle recovery, schedule an appointment.


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