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Chocolate Milk Is Not A Sports Recovery Drink

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?


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

  1. Chris Green said…
    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. You'll have to find these peer-reviewed medical journals in your nearest big university library.
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      It's tough to trust the objectionability of studies that are posted on a Milk sponsored website, or studies sponsored by milk companies.
  2. Lauren said…
    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.
  3. Adam said…
    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.
  4. Carrie said…
    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!

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