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4 ways chocolate milk helps you benefit post-workout

4 ways chocolate milk helps you benefit post-workout

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Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

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Chocolate milk as a post-workout drink has been touted for several years. For good reason too, as milk can have extra benefits over sports drinks after a strong workout.

“When we are talking about working out, we are not talking 45 or 30 minutes and less,” said Kary Woodruff, sports dietitian for the LiVe Well Center in the Salt Lake Clinic. Water is best if the activity is less than the 45-minute threshold. For longer, and more intensive workouts, milk can help you heal faster and feel better. Here are four ways that milk helps.

Chocolate milk helps you rehydrate

Chocolate milk has four components that help: water, electrolytes, protein and carbohydrates. Because of these compounds, milk can help you rehydrate after a tough workout. “Milk helps if you are working out in hot environments where you are sweating a lot,” Woodruff said.

Milk does a body good

Chocolate milk provides two different types of protein: whey and casein. The protein is broken down into amino acids, which serve different purposes.

“Whey is a fast releasing protein so it gets into the blood pretty quickly,” Woodruff said. “Casein is more of a slow protein that releases amino acids more slowly in the blood.”

The slow delivery of casein helps prevent any further breakdown of the muscle after the workout and helps repair the muscles post-workout, she continued.

Use it to carbo-load

Carbohydrates are important for active lifestyles—especially with athletes. Carbs are energy sources that help your body perform. Using milk post-workout helps your body recover faster and get ready for the next workout.

Chocolate versus regular milk

You can drink regular milk over chocolate milk if you prefer. There is a place for the chocolate, if you are someone who is exercising or competing more than once a day (like a Ragnar relay race or perhaps a softball tournament with multiple games played per day).

“It matters with the chocolate if you don’t have a lot of time to recover,” Woodruff said. “In the cases where you don’t have a full 24 hours to recover, we find that recovery nutrition is extra important.”

Carbohydrates and protein are important with recovering through nutrition. The body’s energy storage need to be restocked to get you ready for the next event. “We restore that muscle glycogen, which allows us to recover quicker if there is a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein,” Woodruff said. “Regular milk has about a 1.5:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein. So chocolate milk has the benefit of an extra carbohydrate to help with faster recovery.”

For lactose intolerant or vegan athletes, research has shown that these benefits are also found to a degree in chocolate soy milk as well.

To learn more about eating well and sports nutrition in your daily life, visit http://www.intermountainlivewell.org.

Intermountain LiVe Well

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