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Chocolate Milk: The Perfect Sports Drink?

Chocolate milk has always been the official drink of CFI. We’ve done a lot of work in the dairy sector and often serve it at our functions. But did you know that chocolate milk is one of the best sports nutrition drinks?

I have participated in sports my entire life. Growing up, I was a typical Hoosier kid who couldn’t play enough basketball, football or baseball. It seemed like we were playing one of those sports all the time, whether it was suiting up on the grade school team or just gathering in the neighborhood for a pick-up game.

Entering high school as one of the skinniest and shortest kids in the class, I knew my days of playing organized football and basketball were over. So I joined my school’s cross country team and discovered a love for running that continues to this day. Over the years, I’ve completed two marathons and countless half-marathons, 10k’s and 5k’s. I have also logged hundreds of hours in the seat of my road bike.

Intense endurance sports such as running and cycling deplete the amount of glycogen stored in your muscles. Because glycogen is one of the primary sources of fuel for endurance athletes, it is important to replace it as quickly as possible via proper post-exercise nutrition. Over the years, I have experimented with countless sports drinks and supplements to help recover from a run or bike ride. These range from water to the high-tech – and high-cost – powders.

What I have discovered is that chocolate milk may be the best sports drink on the planet.

In 2006, a study published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism compared low-fat chocolate milk to Gatorade and Endurox R4, two of the more established sports nutrition drinks at that time. During the study, nine cyclists rode until they were exhausted, depleting the glycogen stored in their muscles. Afterward, they rested for a period of four hours, during which some were given Gatorade, some Endurox, and the rest chocolate milk.

After the rest period, they rode again and the results showed that the cyclists who drank chocolate milk were able to ride for a significantly longer period of time than those who drank Endurox and for about the same amount of time as those who consumed Gatorade. This is likely because milk contains an ideal ratio of carbohydrates to protein that helps tired muscles recover quickly.

Now let’s look at the cost. A 28-serving container of Endurox costs $35 ($1.25 per serving). An 11.6-ounce bottle of Gatorade costs approximately $1.10. A gallon of low-fat chocolate milk, which has ten 12-ounce servings, costs about $3 in most locations. That equates to 30-cents a serving.

With a daughter heading to college next year and two others coming behind her, I don’t have a lot of extra money to spend on expensive sports drinks. But then again, why would I when chocolate milk delivers the same, if not better, performance benefits?

Plus, to me, there is nothing better than the taste of a cold glass of chocolate milk.

Posted by Jim.

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