Chocolate Milk and Your Body

A childhood favorite, chocolate milk is rarely thought of when considering sports drinks.  Millions of dollars are spent every year advertising the need for exotically-colored beverages promising extreme hydration. Now a research study discovered that low-fat chocolate milk is superior to these sports beverages in several key areas.

Dr. John Ivey at the University of Texas at Austin studies nutrition and its impact on athletic performance.  He recently led a research study that compared the recovery benefits of drinking carbohydrate-bearing sports drinks, calorie-free sports drinks and low-fat chocolate milk.  For one experiment, he asked participants to ride a bicycle for 90 minutes at moderate exertion followed by 10 minutes of high exertion.  In this experiment, the riders who drank chocolate milk had measurably better performance than cyclists who drank carb or zero calorie sports drinks.  The chocolate milk drinkers displayed more cycling power and better riding speed.

In a second experiment, participants spent five days a week cycling strenuously for a period, followed by consuming one of the three test beverages.  After more than four weeks of this regimen, the chocolate milk drinkers had twice the improvement in aerobic endurance, as measured by their oxygen absorption.

In these experiments the low-fat chocolate milk drinkers developed more muscle and lost more fat than the carb and calorie-free drinkers.  On average, they ended up with a three pound lean muscle improvement compared to the other two groups.

Additional research is needed to identify the actual metabolic mechanisms that make low fat chocolate milk so beneficial for athletes.  Until then, I'll just skip the Gatorade and reach for the cow juice!

Have you tried low-fat chocolate milk as your sport drink?  Click on the Comment button and let us know how it works for you.

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