Chocolate Milk: Post-workout drinks

ONE OF THE BEST post-exercise recovery drinks could already be in your refrigerator, according to new research presented at the American College of Sports Medicine conference in 2010. In a series of four studies, researchers William Lund and Nancy Rodriguez, both of the University of Connecticut, found that chocolate milk offered a recovery advantage to help repair and rebuild muscles. Drinking low-fat chocolate milk after a strenuous workout could even help prep muscles to perform better in a subsequent bout of exercise.

Specifically, the researchers found a chocolate milk advantage for: Building muscle. Post-exercise muscle biopsies in eight moderately trained male runners showed that, after drinking 16 ounces of fat-free chocolate milk, the runners had enhanced skeletal muscle protein synthesis—a sign that muscles were better able to repair and rebuild—compared to when they drank a carbohydrate-only sports beverage with the same number of calories. The researchers suggest, “Athletes can consider fat-free chocolate milk as an economic nutritional alternative to other sports nutrition beverages to support post-endurance exercise skeletal muscle repair.”

Replenishing muscle “fuel.” Replacing muscle fuel (glycogen) after exercise is essential to an athlete’s future performance and muscle recovery. Researchers found that drinking 16 ounces of chocolate milk, with its mix of carbohydrates and protein (compared to a carbohydrate-only sports drink with the same number of calories), led to greater concentration of glycogen in muscles at 30 and 60 minutes post exercise.

Maintaining lean muscle. Athletes risk muscle breakdown following exercise when the body’s demands are at their peak. Researchers found that drinking chocolate milk after exercise helped decrease markers of muscle breakdown compared to drinking a carbohydrate sports drink.

Subsequent exercise performance. Ten trained men and women cyclists rode for an hour and a half, followed by 10 minutes of intervals. They rested for four hours and were provided with one of three drinks immediately and two hours into recovery: low-fat chocolate milk, a carbohydrate drink with the same number of calories or a control drink. When the cyclists then performed a subsequent 40-kilometer ride, the trial times of those who drank chocolate milk were significantly faster than the trial times of the cyclists who consumed the carbohydrate drink or the control drink.

Milk also provides fluids for rehydration, as well as electrolytes, including potassium, calcium and magnesium lost during exercise, that both recreational exercisers and elite athletes need to replace after strenuous activity. Plus, chocolate milk is naturally nutrient-rich, with the advantage of additional nutrients not found in most traditional sports drinks.

Source: Costco News

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