Chocolate milk works extremely well as a post-workout drink, says study

Sports teams have yet to pour a celebratory cooler of chocolate milk over their coach after winning the big game.

chocolate milk in a glass
A tall glass of chocolate milk. (Credit: Flickr user 'Cyclone Bill')

Do you even lift, bro (or brodette, and/or whatever the gender-nonspecific equivalent is for bro)? If you do: don't drink a sports drink after your workout. Instead, reach for a cool glass of chocolate milk. In a recently published study co-authored by researchers from Iran and Canada, it turns out that chocolate milk actually provides better recovery time than sports drinks. 


Sure, it might seem counterintuitive. Chocolate milk is hardly known for its appearance at athletic events, and sports teams have yet to pour a celebratory cooler of chocolate milk over their coach after winning the big game. Sports drinks of the "-ade" variety have long-running commercial campaigns where ripped athletes glug wide-eyed from a bottle of brightly colored liquid. Chocolate milk, on the other hand, has delightful happy cows

From the study: 

Subgroup analysis revealed that time to exhaustion significantly increases after consumption of CM compared to placebo [mean difference (MD) = 0.78 min, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.27, 1.29, P = 0.003] and carbohydrate, protein, and fat-containing beverages (MD = 6.13 min, 95% CI: 0.11, 12.15, P = 0.046).

Essentially, you're looking at six more minutes of playing time due to milk's already incredible muscle recovery qualities. Flavored milk has a better carbohydrate to protein balance, so it works better than regular milk. 

It's also worth noting that chocolate milk is far more nutritionally rounded than sports drinks: chocolate milk contains healthy fats, enzymes, and naturally occurring electrolytes. With an unopened fridge life of 7-14 days, good ol' chocolate milk absolutely falls under the general healthy food advice that "if it can go bad, it's good for you"—while sports drinks can survive on a shelf for nine months.  

While the study might be news to some, it's been a long time coming for the lactose-inclined. Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers made a commercial in 2015 praising chocolate milk and was laughed at for it by sports media. Perhaps they could reconsider, because more and more chocolate-milk-meets-sports studies keep coming out. Kevin, if you're reading this, feel free to come by Big Think's office and talk to us about why chocolate milk is a game changer.

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