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Chocolate milk: Workout recovery magic or myth?

January 4, 2023 - By Nautilus Plus

Temps de lecture 3 minutes

In January, fitness centre members often experience an increased motivation to work out more often or more intensively. To support a more rigorous training schedule, good nutritional support is essential. Chocolate milk is a nutritional drink often associated with sports recovery, but is it warranted?

The mystery of chocolate milk revealed

The distinctive ingredient of chocolate milk is obviously cocoa. It is rich in antioxidants that are easily absorbed by the digestive system when consumed in liquid form rather than in solid form (e.g., chocolate). Chocolate milk contains more sugar than regular milk, which helps to replenish energy reserves in the muscles after a workout. The protein naturally present in milk helps rebuild muscles after training, a process called anabolism. Anabolism is optimal within 30 to 120 minutes after physical activity.

Studies in runners suggest that a ratio of 3 to 4 times more carbohydrate than protein promotes better recovery after moderate to high intensity exercise. Chocolate milk has this ratio, which is why it has been identified as a good post-workout snack. In addition, the minerals (calcium, potassium) and vitamins (vitamin A and D) it contains give it an interesting added value for the athlete. As milk is 87% water, it also has the capacity to rehydrate the body after physical exertion.

Who should drink chocolate milk?

Chocolate milk is a nutritious snack recommended after moderate to high intensity physical activity. For example, an athlete might drink chocolate milk after an endurance workout lasting more than an hour (marathon runners or cyclists etc.) or after intense weight training. If there is no training scheduled in the next 8 hours and a meal is scheduled soon, the snack is not mandatory. Also, it is important to question your hunger before snacking. If your exercise routine is less intense, chocolate milk could be a snack to have on occasion.

Are all chocolate milk products created equal?

Chocolate milk can of course be purchased in a store, but it can also be prepared at home. For those who prefer a ready-to-drink version, we suggest Chocolate flavoured Milk2 Go. This drink offers an optimal ratio of carbohydrates and proteins, water, vitamins, and minerals essential for sports recovery. For those who prefer a homemade version, here is a recipe option: Chocolate Milk recipe (French only).

To learn more about other snacks that are ideal for athletes or for preparing for a sporting event, don’t hesitate to contact a nutritionist.

Article written by Vladislava Vicol, nutrition student, and revised by Dorothée Buteau-Poulin, nutritionist

References:

Chocolate milk: Workout recovery magic or myth? is a post from Nautilus Plus. The Nautilus Plus blog aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
Copyright © Nautilus Plus 2023

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