Thursday, April 12, 2012

Is Chocolate Milk the Better Recovery Drink for Runners?

As no doubt you’re coming down from your Easter Egg charged sugar rush, what better than a Chocolate inspired guest posting. It’s food for thought…

Rehydrating after an intense run or workout should be automatic. After all, your body must be restored of all of the liquid lost through sweat. But rather than reaching for water or your favorite sports drink, you might just want to gulp down a tall glass of fat-free chocolate milk instead. 

We know what you're thinking— Gross! But while it may sound repulsive, several experts say that chocolate milk—which is extremely high in calcium, carbohydrates and protein— can really help long distance runners with muscle repair. Not to mention that chocolate milk still has the ability to restore water content in the body and can aid in energy restoration— some experts claim even more so than pure water because it's naturally filled with electrolytes. And when you factor in the cost, chocolate milk can be far more affordable than purchasing sports drinks or pricey muscle milk.

The study, which was conducted by American researchers from Indiana University, tested 9 high endurance cyclists. Half of the test subjects were required to drink either 16 ounces of fat free chocolate milk or 16 ounces of an undisclosed high carbohydrate sports drink after cycling to the point of exhaustion. Both beverages had the same amount of calories. The test was completed twice. After three hours of "resting" researchers took muscle biopsies of the test subjects. What they discovered was those who drank the chocolate milk experienced better muscle recovery and protein repair than those who didn't. 

It's unclear whether test subjects were given low fat chocolate milk that is pre-made and ready for purchase in super markets or if chocolate syrup was poured in a glass of milk and stirred. It is also unclear if whether cow milk alternatives, such as soy milk, almond milk or rice milk will have the same results.  What is certain however is that chocolate milk really only benefits "competing athletes"—those who are used to practicing for a running in marathons, ultramarathons, etc and need the higher levels of carbs, calories, and protein to maintain their performance. Otherwise, too much chocolate milk for "light runners" can inadvertently pack on the pounds. As a plus, chocolate (dark chocolate in particular) has been linked to an array of other health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease and lowering blood pressure.

Before running out to buy a gallon of chocolate milk, it's extremely important to take into the consideration that the study was funded by the National Dairy Council.

This guest post is contributed by Angelita Williams, who writes on the topics of online courses.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id:


  1. I am a huge chocolate milk fan when it comes to recovery. Nothing works better for me. When it is hot or I am dehydrated I never drink anything else. I even carry some with me during certain events.

    1. I've used choc milk or just sustagen choc powder with water, and it's a great drink at the end of a long run which really does the rehydrating and refueling trick.

  2. Andy, last year I discovered that the food that works best for me while I'm running is UHT chocolate soya milk - it has all the benefits of chocolate milk plus soya protein is supposedly easier to digest. And being UHT you can take it out on the trail with you. I'd read somewhere that as well as being important for recovery, a little protein intake while exercising can help delay the onset of fatigue. It's much nicer than it sounds, and gives you some calories and hydration at the same time - the brand here in the UK is Alpro, not sure if they have anything similar down under.

  3. I've heard this before and will definitely will be thinking of this next time Ido my long run!

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