Time to reconsider your post-workout sports drink. When it comes to exercise recovery, chocolate milk may be your new best friend.
According to researchers at the University of Texas in Austin, the sweet dairy beverage many of us remember as an elementary school essential is now considered the ideal drink to consume after a workout.
Two studies by the Department of Kinesiology and Health at UT determined that drinking chocolate milk after a workout, compared to drinking a regular carbohydrate or calorie-free sports drink, greatly increases your chances of better performance during future workouts.
“Chocolate milk has a good carbohydrate to protein ratio,” said John Ivy, the head of the department and lead researcher in the studies. “So we were interested in whether chocolate milk would respond in a positive way like we’ve seen with some of the exercise supplements that have been developed.”
The studies revealed that low-fat chocolate milk drinkers built more muscle and burned more fat during training, compared to people who drank carbohydrate rich or low-calorie sports drinks. Ivy said it's an affordable alternative to buying the more expensive recovery drinks marketed at athletes.
"Some of the formulations out there for recovery drinks are really good," said Ivy. "Chocolate milk is just a natural, good recovery drink that anyone can buy at the supermarket, so it's readily available and works very well."
Ivy says the department will continue to research other foods, like yogurt, and their impact on exercise.