Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Is Chocolate Milk a Good Recovery Drink?

Personal Admission. I Love Chocolate Milk. There. Done. So, I have a bit of a bias with this topic, but let's try to get to the facts.

Chocolate Milk has become a trendy drink being touted as a "recovery drink" after working out. This is  on the basis of studies showing benefit in cyclists after training (Medicine & Science in Sport and Exercise, 2010).Is there any scientific benefit to this? Here are the stats.

1 cup (250 ml) of low fat chocolate milk has around 170 calories, 8 grams of protein, and a good source of Calcium, Vitamin D. It has around 2.5 grams of fat, and unfortunately 24 grams of sugar.

In comparison, 1 cup of Coca-cola has only 100 calories, 0 g protein, zero calcium, vitamin D. On the flip side, it also has NO fat, and a comparable 27 grams of sugar.

Alternatively, 1 cup of Orange Juice has 110 calories and an equal 27 grams of sugar.
Finally, 1 cup of Gatorade Recover Drink has 100 calories, 20 grams of sugar and some electrolytes.

Hmmmm. So, in terms of calories, chocolate milk actually has more, a similar amount of sugar relative to a can of coke or a cup of O.J. It does have significantly more protein, although not likely enough to matter if you're eating a well balanced diet.

What to do?

Unless you're training hard, (and by this I mean more than 1 hour sessions at high intensity), water is still your best choice. If you are calorie deficient, and trying to bulk up, chocolate milk might be reasonable. Just be aware of all the facts.

What do you drink after working out?
Let me know what you think!


  1. I drink coffee before and after working out

    1. ? after? I haven't heard that before.The caffeine beforehand can improve performance though!

  2. What's wrong with sugar, especially from milk? Post-training is a good time for carbohydrates, but overall macronutrients are much more important in the context of any physique/recovery goals than specific sources or timing.

    1. Nothing wrong with sugars,per se, but a lot of people don't realize the additional calories they are getting from any of these drinks, often negates the calories they just burned off! My point was more to show how suprisingly similar the number of calories, and amount of sugar in the fruit juices, and colas. Also trying to point out that the hype over chocolate milk in the media recently, as with most trends, is probably a bit overblown.

  3. Totally agree, it could be related back to overall macronutrients being more important than sources (at leas in terms of weight maintenance). Many think they're doing themselves a favor by choosing juices over colas, or think it's a good idea to sip a sports drink while doing light activity. Good points.