Is Chocolate Milk Ideal after a Workout?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Nutrition and sports professionals study every nutrient combination to look for just the right competitive edge. Post workout recovery was critical for Michael Phelps in his record setting Olympics performance, too. Well, this year's Olympics may just have shared one of those little secrets that the rest of us can use as well.

Recently the Today Show looked at technology in the Olympics. David Zinczenko, editor of Men's Health Magazine reported on many technological advances seen during the Olympics. He said the athletes have never been more nutritionally prepared for competition than they have this year.

We learned that during the Olympics, Michael Phelps eats more than 10,000 calories a day and that post-workout muscle recovery was a specific focus as well. Michael uses a sports drink called Pure Sport, which was designed at the University of Texas, has a precise carbohydrate to protein ration and is ingested 15 minutes after working out. The combination of carbs to protein apparently prevents the sugar rush and crash that comes from many sugar-only options. According to the company, the precise ratio of 2.67 grams of carbohydrates to 1 gram of whey protein in Pure Sport allows the body to get into the recovery zone quicker after serious physical activity and accelerates the replacement and storage of muscle fuel while promoting muscle repair.

But what if you don't want to invest in a high-tech replacement? (The starter kit of Pure Sport costs $19.99.) Men's Health and Women's Health found that 1% chocolate milk has some of the same effects on the body as Pure Sport because it contains the same ratio of carbohydrate to whey protein.

So, after your next workout, pour yourself a glass of 1% chocolate milk. (Find more post-workout snack ideas here.

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Good info. Report
Um...okay. You do realize that chocolate milk has at least 30 grams of sugar in it, right? The whole focus is to stay fit and healthy. Not inject the body with UNWANTED sugars. Report
I love chocolate milk. Not only is it good after a workout but it also helps beat cravings. Since I tend to workout in the evening a nice cold glass of chocolate milk will keep all my nightime cravings at bay. Report
I prefer a chocolate-flavored whey shake.

In this Spark feature chocolate milk is listed as one of the 'bad' sugar-added offenders:

LOL Report
My nutrition needs vs Olympics performance are miles apart.. Eating decent food and planning it around my workouts avoids unnecessary suppliments..
A small low fat chocolate milk post workout can be easily worked into my daily nutritional needs- wow- that is welcome information! Report
I mix up my own using nonfat milk and Hershey's syrup. 12 ounces of my home-mixed stuff has slightly fewer calories than the pre-mixed. It also has only one gram of fat- from the milk, not the chocolate! Report
Is this also true for soy milk (like Silk milk-chocolate)? I love it, and I'm lactose intolerant. Report
My youngest son rows crew; one of his coaches is a nutrition major at a noted university. She did research on this - and its TRUE. The best recovery drink is chocolate milk! Some varieties now have extra protein added - "Rockin' Refuel" is one - that's good too. BUT good ol' chocolate milk is great. Report
THank you as I love chocolate milk and I get h--- when I buy it from my huaband
so this will get his taste buds goining in my drection sparkkathy2 Report
this is great. I love chocolate milk and get it free at work. Sounds like i get to save the starting cost of 19.99.

very cool Report
I grew up as a competitive athlete in multiple sports, and my coaches always told me to drink chocolate milk after a workout or competition so I've been doing this for quite a while. Definitely not something I'm going to complain about :) Report
Wow. I didn't know. I used to avoid it because of the amount of sugar. Now, I've found a reason to drink it. Thanks for the article Report
Choc milk was already one of my favorite splurge snacks. Now I've got another reason to enjoy! Report
chocolate soymilk for me, woo hoo! Report
ohh I will love this one
I've tried that but it just makes me want more chocolate milk.

I do think it is correct that it is a good recovery drink. Report
OK...yeah...this is one habit I will enjoy.... Report
That's great! I love milk chocolate :D Report
No way!! You just made my day!! AWESOME!! Report
Personally I've recently discovered that I really like a glass of soy milk after my bike ride. (I'm mildly lactose intolerant) I'll definitely try mixing in a little chocolate. I hope fat free is alright. Report
I actually read a similar article last summer, so I've been drinking chocolate milk after my workouts since then. Plus, I love, love, love chocolate milk! Report
Many, many years ago, I was taught that chocolate milk was a BAD choice because the chocolate ties up the calcium, preventing the body from using it.
Perhaps research has proven other wise. But, I want to make sure I get my calcium. Report
I've drunk chocolate milk after workouts since I was about 15 (I'm coming up on 29 now) just because I always crave protein and sweetness (usually watermelon) after a workout and chocolate milk has both. Report
Yessssssssssssssssss! Report
Why Chocolate milk? I love chocolate but have been staying away from it to keep my calorie count down. Can I add chocolate to Low Cal Soy Milk? Report
How great is it when you learn what you thought was a vice is actually good for you? Enjoy! Report
Woo Hoo! I LOVE chocolate milk! Report
I've heard this before and I tried it after long runs when training for my half marathon. Maybe its just me, but although I like milk (and I'm NOT lactose intolerant), it didn't really sit right with me when I was hot and sweaty from a hard workout.

I read the actual gatorade/water/chocolate milk study a couple years can find it online. It was a very small sample, used elite bicyclists and could be flawed. HOWEVER, that being said, I do often drink a glass of chocolate milk after a long or a vigorous workout because it does have some health benefits: easily digested, good protein:carb ratios and has some fat to immediately replenish what we lose. I (and probably others) just have to be careful to watch the quantity (8 oz is a very small glass) and not overdo it. Everything in moderation!! Report
Whenever I workout on my lunch break I stop at the little store downstairs and grab a chocolate milk and drink it as I walk back to my desk!!!!!! I'm glad that I saw this article b/c now I know that I was doing something right without even knowing!!!! Report
I am glad that I read this..I love chocolate milk but I was drinking it as a "snack" in the evening.... Report
Wow......I wouldn't have figured on that bit of info. Interesting! I'm really big on "soy" chocolate milk! Is this a good alternative?

Greg Report
You know, this may just be the incentive I need to get myself to work out: Healthy chocolate milk as a reward! Report
Thanks for the info. I love my chocolate milk now I know that I can have it well you just made my day. Thanks Report
I'm so glad - I have not had chocolate milk in a long time! Report
This is great, and something that I've started doing after working out with my trainer and seems to be helping offset the soreness I usually feel. The problem is, I've only been able to find 1 brand that doesn't have HFCS in it - the 2% Great Value (the Walmart brand) in a 6-pack of 8 oz bottles. Even the 1% generic brand has it, along with Shamrock Farms brand.

Any one find a brand that doesn't have HFCS? I'm thinking my options are to keep buying the small bottles, or getting 1-2% milk and adding 'midnight moo' from Trader Joe's. Report
how wonderful, I always crave a glass of chocolate milk! Report
Awesome!! I love to heat up some chocolate milk in the microwave when I'm cold, but I didn't know there were benefits to drinking it after a workout!! I won't go crazy but it's nice to know I don't have to give up something I enjoy. Thanks for telling us about this!!

Sandy Report
I hate chocolate milk but I've been drinking it pwo until I can find a protein powder that won't kill me instantly - there's some scary things in most of them.

If you're just walking, you don't need it, but if you're doing hard workouts then you need to make sure you handle pwo properly so you can rebuild. :-)
Mmm something tasty and good for you! love it! Report
As with anything moderation is key and if you decided to try this you could just work it into your daily fat/caloric intake. Regarding whether it applies to everyone - sure, if you're only getting moderate exercise then it may not apply to you but some people here are training for marathon running and such and this is potentially helpful information for them.

Thanks for the info! Report
I had heard this before and have been doing it after my I'm glad that it was posted here as me reassurance I'm doing things right. Report
:) love this, i've always been a firm believer in the power of milk - and had heard that it was better at re-hydration after excersise than water but the chocolate's a bonus - will definitely add chocolate from now on. Report
low fat chocolate! will remember that next time i have a serious workout.
I agree with WolfKitty. Our routine and diets don't compare with that of an olympic champion. For one thing he eats 10,000 calories a day, the recommended allowance for average folk is 2,000 and those on a diet can be a low as 1200. Report
Sounds good to me! Thanks! Report
Hmm, this SparkPeople article seems out of place a bit. I mean, yeah, after intense workouts like OLYMPIC champion Phelps', we might use that choc milk, but if you're like my husband, who is doing just 20 minutes of moderate walking a day, it doesn't seem like a "free ticket" to drink a bunch of chocolate milk is a good idea.

However, when I get to the point where I'm doing intense physical activity, I will definitely keep this in mind. And, as always, I'm sure it's good to remember that we can have anything in moderation. Report
thanks great piece of info Report
Ok, twist my arm. If I have to drink chocolate milk (heavy sigh) I guess I'll try it. Great news! Nonfat on the rocks, best thing in the world!

H-50 Report