You won’t believe what the latest thing is in working out, CHOCOLATE MILK. I always thought that chocolate milk was a drink that I needed to stay away from. But after much research, it appears that reduced-fat, chocolate milk is more nutritious than Gator Aid and other sports drinks. After a tough workout, chocolate milk helps restore muscles quickly to peak potential and helps replenish what your body lost – including fluids and critical nutrients lost in sweat.
According to Livestrong.com, chocolate milk is a natural choice when it comes to electrolytes. Chocolate milk provides many of the same electrolytes that are added to commercial recovery drinks (calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium) along with fluids to help you rehydrate. In fact, some research suggests milk may help you stay hydrated after exercise, more than some commercial sports drinks.
According to a study published in Fitness Magazine, “drinking low-fat or fat-free milk after exercise could restore hydration better than other popular post-exercise beverages.” The study compared the rehydration efficacy of four beverages: low-fat milk, low-fat milk with added sodium, plain water, and a sports drink. After exercise in a warm climate, participants were given one of the four test beverages and the researchers measured hydration status. While all beverages restored hydration status equally, the researchers found that milk may be more effective than water or sports drinks at maintaining normal hydration status after exercise, likely due to milk’s electrolyte content and energy density.
In a second study, the same researchers found that drinking fat-free milk after exercise-induced dehydration restored fluid balance better than a commercial sports drink. The researchers concluded that, “milk can be an effective post-exercise rehydration drink, with subjects remaining in net positive fluid balance throughout the recovery period.” Drinking milk after exercise also helps replace essential electrolytes that are lost in sweat. These essentials include potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium. The loss of calcium is of particular concern since research suggests rigorous exercise may cause substantial calcium loss, which could increase the risk of stress fractures.
According to new research, grabbing reduced fat chocolate milk after a hard swim could give swimmers a performance edge compared to when they recovered with a carbohydrate sports drink or calorie-free beverage. Researchers at Indiana University found that when trained swimmers recovered with reduced fat chocolate milk after an exhaustive swim, they swam faster in time trials later that same day!
- On average, swimmers shaved off 2.1 seconds per 200 yard swim, and 0.5 seconds per 75 yard sprint after drinking reduced fat chocolate milk, compared to when they recovered with a traditional carbohydrate sports drink or calorie-free beverage.
- The study is the first to test the benefits of reduced fat chocolate milk in swimmers, and included six division one collegiate swimmers performing a muscle fuel (glycogen)-depleting swim bout of 60 x 100 yards followed by five hours of recovery for three consecutive weeks.
- The athletes then recovered with one of three randomized beverages – reduced-fat chocolate milk, commercial carbohydrate sports drink (with the same calories as the reduced fat chocolate milk), or calorie-free beverage – immediately and two hours after the swim. The athletes who recovered with reduced fat chocolate milk swam the fastest in their time trials later that same day.
Milk and milk’s high-quality protein has been shown to help athletes gain lean muscle and lose fat when compared to drinking a carb-only beverage, as part of a regular workout and recovery routine. Since powdered milk has a taken a fall in price, maybe we should add a little chocolate to it and sell it at the gym!
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