Low-fat chocolate milk helps muscle recovery and performance

12 July 2011

Sports people who drink low-fat chocolate milk perform better and improve their performance more rapidly in comparison to their peers who drink water or sports drinks. This is the outcome of two recent studies.

‘Milk is often called the natural sports drink. Drinking milk is an effective way to recover the body’s energy and moisture balance after physical exercise. Each portion contains nutrients that promote effective recovery after heavy physical exercise,’ says Gregory Miller, President van the Dairy Research Institute.

Research carried out by the University of Texas (1) shows that sports people who drink low-fat chocolate milk perform better than those who drink sports beverages. According to the researchers, the nutrients contained in chocolate milk include carbohydrates that provide muscles with energy: proteins activate the recovery and growth of muscles and the moisture and minerals (such as potassium, sodium, chloride, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate and phosphate) ensure recovery of the moisture balance and mineral supplementation.

Aim of the study
The Texan university’s study followed 32 healthy, untrained participants for a period of four and a half weeks who cycled five times a week for an hour at average speed. Directly after training, they were given either low-fat chocolate milk, a sports beverage or water. To measure the difference in effect, the degree of increase in muscle mass and percentage of fat loss were examined. The outcome was that improved performance and recovery among participants drinking chocolate milk was the highest.

Other recent studies
The conclusion from the study carried out at the University of Texas ties in with other recent studies as is evident from a publication in the May 2011 edition of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (2) . This research was carried out among ten well-trained cyclists and triathletes. They were asked to cycle 90 minutes at average speed, followed by 10 minutes of high-intensity interval training. Directly after the training and two hours later, they were given low-fat chocolate milk or a sports beverage containing as much fat and as many calories as low-fat milk, or flavoured water.
The result of the study: chocolate milk improves cycling performance more than the other drinks. Chocolate milk ensures better muscle recovery than water or a sports beverage.

(1) Aerobic Exercise Training Adaptations Are Increased by Postexercise Carbohydrate-Protein Supplementation

(2) Postexercise Carbohydrate–Protein Supplementation Improves Subsequent Exercise Performance and Intracellular Signaling for Protein Synthesis