Chocolate milk is an effective postexercise drink that improves recovery, according to the results of a small, randomized trial reported in the February issue of the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.
"Our study indicates that chocolate milk is a strong alternative to other commercial sports drinks in helping athletes recover from strenuous, energy-depleting exercise," coauthor Joel M. Stager, PhD, from Indiana University in Bloomington, said in a news release. "Chocolate milk contains an optimal carbohydrate to protein ratio, which is critical for helping refuel tired muscles after strenuous exercise and can enable athletes to exercise at a high intensity during subsequent workouts."
On 3 separate days, 9 male, endurance-trained cyclists performed an interval workout followed by 4 hours of recovery, and a subsequent endurance trial to exhaustion at 70% maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max). In a single-blind, randomized design, the men drank equivalent volumes of chocolate milk, fluid replacement drink (FR), or carbohydrate replacement drink (CR) immediately after the first exercise bout and 2 hours of recovery. The chocolate milk and CR had equivalent carbohydrate content. Primary endpoints were time to exhaustion, average heart rate, rating of perceived exertion, and total work for the endurance exercise. Time to exhaustion and total work were significantly greater for chocolate milk and for FR trials than for CR trials, suggesting that chocolate milk is an effective recovery aid between 2 exhausting exercise bouts.