Have you been brainwashed into believing that only an energy drink can give the post exercise recovery benefits after you perform a gruelling sweaty workout? Well, turns out chocolate milk could have a similar impact as a sports drink.
People eat and drink during and after exercise to replace electrolytes and fluid that they lose during a workout.
Chocolate milk lengthened time to exhaustion, and improved perceived exertion, heart rate or levels of lactic acid in the blood at least as much other beverages, claims a recent study.
Chocolate milk drinkers were able to exercise without getting exhausted for almost 1 minute longer than with nutrition-free beverages and about 6 minutes longer than with sports drinks.
Lactic acid levels, an indication of exertion, were lower for chocolate milk drinkers than for people who consumed placebo drinks, the study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition also found.
In some instances, chocolate milk appeared better than alternative drinks, the researchers report.
How well chocolate milk works compared to other beverages also depends on the alternatives being considered, said Mike Saunders, director of the Human Performance Laboratory at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
“For example, plain water would not be as effective at promoting fuel replenishment (due to lack of carbohydrates), muscle repair (due to lack of protein), or fluid retention/rehydration (due to low electrolyte content) in comparison to chocolate milk (which has all three),” Saunders, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.
“Traditional sports drinks have the carbohydrates and electrolytes, but usually no protein.”
“Chocolate milk contains carbohydrates, proteins, fats, flavonoids, electrolytes, and some vitamins which make this drink a good choice for recovery in athletes,” said senior study author Dr Amin Salehi-Abargouei of Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences in Yazd, Iran.
Most studies assessing whether drinks with carbohydrates and electrolytes, or with protein, might aid recovery have been too small to draw firm conclusions about which beverages are the best option, stated the authors of the study.
The best choice for a workout recovery drink depends a lot on the individual athlete and the type of workout they do, Saunders said.
“Someone at the gym who completes a 20-minute jog might be advised to have a glass of water after exercise so they don’t undermine their weight-management goals with unnecessary calories,” Saunders said. “But a distance runner who has completed a hard 15-mile run and has a session of high-intensity intervals to do the next morning could obtain meaningful benefits from a recovery beverage like chocolate milk.”
So, there you go. “The take-home message is that chocolate milk is a low-cost, delicious, and palatable option for recovery and provides either similar or superior effects compared with commercial drinks,” Salehi-Abargouei said by email.