Chocolate Milk Is Not A Sports Recovery Drink

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Just when LA schools put a ban on flavoured milk, a Canadian chain of fitness centres, Goodlife Fitness has declared it their official recovery beverage.
Hey there Healthwashing, didn’t expect to see you here.
Their healthwashing claim is that that consumption of chocolate milk after physical exertion is excellent replenishment for muscles. What is needed for recovery is carbs and protein to boost muscle repair. Being high in water, they also state that chocolate milk provides hydration. Well so do a lot of things, um… like water? What one seems to be considering is the amount of sugar in chocolate milk. As soon as there is an insulin response in the body (caused by refined sugar intake) the body will switch into a fat storing mode.
5 Reasons Why Chocolate Milk Is Never Good (Workout or Not!):
  1. Chock full of sugar. As mentioned before, chocolate milk contains 6-10 tsp of sugar. Yuck, my teeth hurt! 240 mL (ie one serving) of Nesquick ready-to-drink chocolate milk contains 28g of sugar. Keep in mind, this is only one serving. The bottle actually contains 2 and is polished off easily at once.
  2. Acid forming. Dairy, by its very nature is acid forming within the body. This means it must be neutralized by various chemical reactions (science class anyone?) Basically, what happens is that in order to calm down the acid-factor, minerals must be put to work. Where do these minerals come from? Bones! Say hello to our good friends calcium and magnesium (among others). So, even though chocolate milk and milk in general may be rich in calcium, we aren’t really absorbing much of it.
  3. Artificial ingredients. If you think the only ingredients within chocolate milk are milk and cocoa powder, guess again. While this may be true if you physically make your own chocolate milk from these two ingredients, most people prefer the convenience of drinking this beverage pre-made. Chocolate milk is primarily made from 1% milk, which is already unnatural as much of the fat component has been stripped from it. This means the milk has gone through processing (never a good thing) and along with the fat, goes the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K). So, the next logical step is to add these vitamins back. The problem here is that they are added back in a synthetic form which our bodies do not readily absorb. Also found in chocolate milk are strange things like cellulose gel, cellulose gum, carageenan, and artificial flavours. I’ll pass on those, thanks.
  4. Overly stimulating. Chocolate milk packs a caffeine punch that may not be the best thing for your body, well, ever…but especially after an intense workout. Exercise, while beneficial at low and even moderate intensity, is actually a stressor to the nervous system when kicked into high gear. Post-workout, it’s defnitely a good idea to shift things down a notch and let our systems recuperate. Avoiding stimulants is a big part of this.
  5. Takes the place of other things you could be drinking! Why sip something that is not health promoting when there’s so much goodness out there? How about making your own amazing chocolate milk?

Question Of The Day: What’s your favourite post-workout beverage?

 

48 Responses to “Chocolate Milk Is Not A Sports Recovery Drink”

  1. veganlisa

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    Thank you Meghan! I see so many runners and triathletes reaching for chocolate milk as a recovery drink. I know that milk is acid-forming, and promotes inflammation so I can’t believe that this is at all helpful to their bodies. I appreciate you writing up something I can refer my friends to.

    Amazing as always!

    Reply
  2. Jennifer Nicol (@JennyNatural)

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    The truth! RT @meghantelpner: Chocolate Milk Is Not A Sports Recovery Drink http://t.co/qfRrCz87 #health #healthwashing #holistic #junkfood”

    Reply
  3. Barbi D. (@2becreative)

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    http://t.co/1J1azEsT via @meghantelpner

    Reply
  4. Rachel

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    Thanks for the post Meghan! There is so much propaganda out there about milk products being good for you and necessary! As a mum I struggle with avoiding milk for my two children – people think it’s practically child abuse when I don’t give it to them.

    Reply
  5. TREVOR JOHNSTON (@trevmoy) (@trevmoy) (@trevmoy)

    #

    Chocolate Milk Is Not A Sports Recovery Drink: Just when LA schools put a ban on flavoured milk, a Canadian chai… http://t.co/mQYnDIZf

    Reply
  6. Kristin (Cook, Bake, Nibble)

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    THANK YOU for this!! I’m sending it to my husband and all of his ridiculous sugar-laden-mucus-drink-touting personal trainer friends!! Your drink looks much more tasty, anyway :)

    Reply
  7. Susan (@BalanceSusan)

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    Looks SO good!! RT @meghantelpner: Chocolate milk does not do the body good! http://t.co/MslP3FAA

    Reply
  8. Taryn

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    My post-workout recovery drink of choice is green rooibos – chock full of lovely things like magnesium (hello happy muscles!) and great for replacing electrolytes.

    Just yesterday I was commenting on how an ice cream maker would save my poor sad blender from the gruel of it’s ice cream duties.

    Passionfruit is my favourite ice cream flavour followed closely by lime ‘n’ coconut and raspberry.

    Reply
  9. Erica

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    The whole milk thing is so ridic. None of the studies that promote milk seem to do the long-term research which – done by others – shows that milk (aside from it’s carbohydrate load of lactose and added sugar) also has an inherent insulinogenic effect. Meaning it raises insulin levels by other mechanisms than sugar content. Furthermore it contains growth hormones. These two factors together = increased growth…. of any kind of cell, including cancerous ones. Loading your bod up with growth factors like GH, IGF-1, and insulin because of cow’s dairy ain’t a good idea if you’re no longer growing. Furthermore we all know that the growth promotion of cow’s milk is meant to make baby cows grow huge, so frankly even children should not be drinking the stuff (what happened to breast milk?)

    Reply
  10. Lara

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    mass marketed sports recovery drinks in general have way too much sugar in them – more than necessary to address glycogen depletion I am sure. several years ago I too was told by trainers to jump on the chocolate milk bandwagon – and I can assure you, guzzling it down after a long run or intense workout session did nothing for my waistline – good that is. Training for half marathons I actually gained weight (and this was nothing to do with planned carbo loading). Not to blame it all on the chocolate milk but a few years, 25lbs weight loss and 15% reduction in body fat later, my post workout recovery is just fine, if not better, without it. I like plain and simple and whole. I go for water, half a banana w plain greek yogurt, oats/nuts and berries after a workout or run. :)

    oh and my favourite flavour of ice cream is pretty much the same. plain and simple, vanilla bean ! :)

    Reply
  11. @Holistic_Gal

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    Why choc milk is NOT a postworkout drink "@meghantelpner: Chocolate milk does not do the body good! http://t.co/o3BSjpBv"

    Reply
  12. Stephanie Moram (@GGirlGGreen)

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    In cae you were wondering: Chocolate Milk Is Not A Sports Recovery Drink http://t.co/zbd2OxVb @meghantelpner

    Reply
  13. fartygirl

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    Hey Meghan. My favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate, actually. If I won that ice cream maker, I’d make it for breakfast!!! But with cacao, mesquite, and raw honey – the way I learned from you. :-)

    Reply
  14. fartygirl

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    I’m already following you on twitter and facebook. Gonna blog about this tomorrow! :-)

    Reply
  15. Kim Chretien

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    Fav post work out recovery is a smoothie with dates, water, vanilla hemp protein, maca and a little bit of chia seeds. Yumm … sometimes a bit of cacao if I am feeling it too ..

    Also another great post from nomeatathlete talking about similar idea: http://www.nomeatathlete.com/post-workout-recovery/

    Reply
  16. lance

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    I make my own chocolate milk. I use raw milk unsweet cocoa and honey. I don’t understand why people have a fear of milk. It works wonders!

    Reply
  17. Kendall

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    Yumm! My favorite flavor is anything chocolate – in this case how about some cacao nut milk ice cream?! Yum mmm :)

    Reply
  18. Brigitte VK

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    this is way way better…
    and Lyzabeth knows her stuff!
    http://youtu.be/0TqdHPycd_k

    Reply
  19. Melissa Ramos

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    Hey Meghan,

    I’m FLOORED by the idea that they actually think that chocolate milk is being promoted as a recovery drink. Mmmm mucous and sugar to rebuild…yikes!

    One of my favourites after my workout is coconut water (the most natural electrolyte replacement) combined with E3Live or their jacked up version, BrainOn. The combo of electrolytes + chlorophyll and the rebuilding energy of blue-green algae is like a spark plug for my brain and muscles. I honestly swear by it in a lot of the writing on my blog and in my shop.

    Another tried and true for me is MSM and I know you’ve written about it as well and it’s amazing to reduce the amount of lactic acid after a workout.

    Thanks for posting this and informing the public in your fun, colourful and beautiful way.

    Amen sista!

    xo
    Your fellow Nutritionista & Chinese Medical Practitioner,

    Melissa Ramos

    Reply
  20. Donna

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    Looks like a great recipe. Do you strain to remove graininess? If so, how about adding ice and leaving the grainy bits? Would that add any fiber or nutritional value to the drink?

    Reply
  21. Donna

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    I think chocolate, cherry ice cream would be lovely!

    Reply
  22. Love In The Kitchen (@meghantelpner) (@meghantelpner) (@meghantelpner) (@meghantelpner)

    #

    Thanks for sharing the chocolate milk crappola @body_bynature @chefpenni http://t.co/gFPPApEZ

    Reply
  23. SweetsFromTheEarth (@SFTEBakery) (@SFTEBakery)

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    Or for us. RT @meghantelpner: Chocolate milk? Not for me thanks! http://t.co/2SGsOiYu

    Reply
  24. Kristin Overton, RHN

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    I <3 you on FB!

    Reply
  25. Kristin Overton, RHN

    #

    I’m a big fan of cookie dough ice cream, or anything else ridiculous & decadent resembling turtles or involves chocolate & peanut butter… mmmm….

    Reply
  26. Kristin Overton, RHN

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    I <3 HB on FB too (but I'm not on twitter)

    Reply
  27. Pamela

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    Great Recipe!
    How long might this last in the fridge?
    Thanks for the inspiration :)

    Reply
  28. Hayley

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    I love coconut ice cream :)

    Reply
  29. Ryan Lesperance (@RyanLesperance)

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    http://t.co/QyCRv8qp via @meghantelpner (Thank you!)

    Reply
  30. Andrea

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    Two points:
    -One of the trainers at my gym sometimes provide free Gatorade after spin classes. I’ve told her how I feel about this.
    -Years ago I saw Bruce Wylde make his own version of electrolyte drink on Breakfast Television. I’ve since lost it (I keep everything) and can’t find it online anymore (I looked awhile back), but it involved lemon, molasses, and the contents of a calcium capsule. There was probably more in it.

    I got behind on your blog again and missed the contest – and you’re even now in my list of 10 (yes, an even 10) blogs that I’m still reading on a regular basis. *sigh*

    Reply
    • Andrea

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      (To clarify, I’d written down Dr. Wylde’s recipe and used it frequently.)

      Reply
  31. Ana

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    I am so sick of this chocolate milk for recovery crap! Thanks for posting this :-)

    Reply
  32. Quora

    #

    Why is chocolate milk considered a good post-workout recovery drink?…

    Not everyone agrees with this. Andy Johns is hard to argue with since he’s run the experiments on himself. The results speak for volumes; however, it is hard to REALLY know what’s going on inside the body. As he said, he wasn’t able to run true scie…

    Reply
  33. Quora

    #

    Is chocolate milk healthy?…

    No, it’s not healthy. Mammals only consume milk (from their own species!) when they’re infants. They’re bodies didn’t evolve to consume it beyond that. My answer from this question (Why is chocolate milk considered a good post-workout recovery drin…

    Reply
  34. Vanessa Runs (@vanessaruns) (@vanessaruns) (@vanessaruns) (@vanessaruns)

    #

    WHY MILK IS NOT A RECOVERY DRINK – http://t.co/Mn5g4PEK via @meghantelpner

    Reply
  35. Making Love in the Kitchen » Should Sugar Be Regulated Like Ciggies and Booze? » Making Love in the Kitchen

    #

    […] Chocolate Milk Is Not A Sports Recovery Drink […]

    Reply
  36. (@meghantelpner) (@meghantelpner)

    #

    Hey @goodlifefitness- chocolate milk is NOT a sports recovery drink! http://t.co/Nj7h6Wj7 #healthwashing

    Reply
  37. Grassroots (@grassrootsstore)

    #

    So true! Thanks @meghantelpner Chocolate Milk Is Not A Sports Recovery Drink – Making Love in the Kitchen http://t.co/nX9J5gGb

    Reply
  38. (@meghantelpner) (@meghantelpner)

    #

    Always. RT @grassrootsstore: So true! Thanks @meghantelpner Chocolate Milk Is Not A Sports Recovery Drink – http://t.co/BzonyggM

    Reply
  39. Making Love in the Kitchen Healthwashing in Canadian Dairy Industry

    #

    […] continues with the DFC. May not surprise many of you – nor us – that the whole “chocolate milk as a recovery drink thing” would be rearing it’s ugly head again. The most recent display is manifested in this campaign, […]

    Reply
  40. Chris Green

    #

    Maybe you should read the actual scientific studies themselves before becoming too critical.

    Note the one that compares chocolate milk with the trendy Soy Milk, made from GM’d soybeans…. and nearly all soybeans available now are GM’d.
    http://www.rechargewithmilk.ca/scientific-studies.php

    You’ll have to find these peer-reviewed medical journals in your nearest big university library.

    Reply
    • Meghan Telpner

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      It’s tough to trust the objectionability of studies that are posted on a Milk sponsored website, or studies sponsored by milk companies.

      Reply
  41. Lauren

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    Try reading the research. I’m doing research for an independent study in this topic and not one of the studies I’ve come across has had negative results. The reason chocolate milk is being promoted is because of its carb:protein ratio that is equivalent to many other popular recovery drinks. The protein helps to repair and build muscle, while the sugar keeps blood sugar from dropping, preventing the drastic valleys and peaks that generally occur throughout the day. There are studies that have been done as independent research at universities, not being funded by milk companies. Until you have a strong scientific backing that says that chocolate milk isn’t actually helpful, I don’t think you can deny its benefits.

    Reply
  42. Adam

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    So where is this research that shows that what your saying holds true?? Calcium has been identified in studies as an essential component in recovery as also has simple sugars, which cause an insulin spike (anabolic process) and hence drives protein synthesis and muscle repair, milk proteins (casein) are slowly digested and provide a good steady stream of essential building blocks (amino acids) for protein synthesis and muscle repair. So chocolate milk has all these and in a “good” ratio of between 3:1 and 4:1 carbohydrates to protein ratio, a known “ideal” ratio to promote faster recovery.

    Reply
  43. Carrie

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    When my son was a baby and not drinking enough “milk” according to the paediatrician he told me to give him chocolate milk…really! Glad my kids LOVE home made chocolate almond milk! Great post!

    Reply

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