Originally published June 17 2010
New research: chocolate milk beats sports drinks for post-exercise muscle recovery
by S. L. Baker, features writer
(NaturalNews) After an intense workout, instead of downing a commercial sports drink loaded with artificial colors and sugar, you'd be better off just having a glass of chocolate milk. That's the conclusion of two studies presented at the recent American College of Sports Medicine's 57th Annual Meeting held in Baltimore. It turns out that chocolate milk offers a distinct recovery advantage to help repair and rebuild muscles when compared to widely hyped commercial carbohydrate sports drinks.
William Lunn, Ph.D., worked on both research projects, which were conducted in the lab of University of Connecticut nutrition scientist Nancy Rodriguez, Ph.D. The first study involved eight male runners in relatively good training shape who completed two runs over the course of two week. Each run lasted 45 minutes and involved running at 65 percent of the men's maximum levels. During this research period, the runners ate a balanced diet that had been matched to their individual needs.
After each run, the research subjects drank either 16 ounces of fat-free chocolate milk or 16 ounces of a carbohydrate-only beverage (which had the same number of calories as the chocolate milk). Then, during a three-hour recovery period after each run, muscle biopsy samples were taken. The results showed the runners who drank the chocolate milk during their exercise recovery had increased markers of muscle protein repair when compared to the study participants who had been given the carbohydrate drink.
The second study involved the same eight male runners who were tested 30 minutes and 60 minutes after drinking either the fat-free chocolate milk or the sports drink-type beverage. Again, chocolate milk was found to be superior to the sports drink in helping to replenish glycogen stores in muscles -- and glycogen stores are a source of fuel during intense or prolonged exercise.
"It's always helpful for exercisers to learn of additional options for recovery drinks," Dr. Lunn said in a statement to the media. "Chocolate milk can be relatively inexpensive compared to commercially available recovery drinks and is easy to make at home, making it a viable and palatable option for many people."
As NaturalNews has previously reported, researchers are finding that chocolate has a host of health benefits, including lowering blood pressure and slashing the risk for heart disease (http://www.naturalnews.com/028521_chocolate_...). So is it possible that chocolate could be the primary reason chocolate milk is beneficial to athletes? And, if so, could versions of vegan chocolate milk such as rice milk or almond milk also beat sports drinks in helping with post-exercise recovery?
That may be a possibility. However, Dr. Lunn's studies do not address these questions and, it is important to note, his research was funded by the National Dairy Council and the National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board.
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