Is Chocolate Milk a Good Recovery Drink?

I ran cross country and track all throughout high school and my one coach would always tell us to drink a glass of chocolate milk after a hard workout. My mother is a health nut and when I told her I had to drink chocolate milk she told me that drinking chocolate milk after a workout only applies to professional runners otherwise it is a myth. She claims that high school runners did not run hard enough to need chocolate milk after a workout, but time and time again my coach told us to drink it.

To answer this question we should first state the components of a “good” sports recovery drink. The three key ingredients to a proper recovery drink include carbohydrates, proteins, and water. These ingredigients aid to replenish the body after it lost the necessary muscle glycogen , muscle tissue, and any lost fluids. The purpose of a recovery drink is to give the body the nutrients and energy it looses after a hard workout. Popular recovery drinks include Nuun (which aids to replenish electrolytes), SIS (science in sport tablets or protein powder), Optimum Nutrition: Essential AmiN.O Energy, Gatorade recovery drinks, and many others. So what makes these more favorable than others? A main factor to consider is the idea of the carbohydrates to protein ratio. An ideal ratio is anywhere between 3:1 to 4:1. Gatorade recovery drinks have a 1:1 ratio.

Chocolate milk’s benefits include the ideal ratio of 3:1 carbohydrates to protein, the presence of whey protein (digests and absorbs quickly and also replenishes amino acids into the blood stream), the cheap cost, and the presence of protein casein, which aids to reduce the amount of muscle breakdown. Here is a chart showing the differences between chocolate milk and Gatorade’s recovery drink

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In the end it is evident that chocolate milk is a better recovery drink than Gatorade’s recovery drinks. But the initial question, is chocolate milk a good recovery drink answered? In some ways chocolate milk is a good recovery drink aiding to replenish the necessary nutrients, calories, and energy that athletes lose during workouts. Athletes need to drink and eat more than a non-athlete therefore they can afford to drink chocolate milk after a workout, whereas a non-athlete would most likely be putting on more weight from drinking loads of chocolate milk. So chocolate milk is a decent recovery drink, but at least I would recommend only to drink it after the hard workouts, not just every run.

3 thoughts on “Is Chocolate Milk a Good Recovery Drink?

  1. Patrick Hryckiewicz

    I never knew that chocolate milk was a good post-workout drink. After a run, I usually just drink gatorade or water. Chocolate milk is also much better for you, as there is less sugar, which can be bad for your teeth. I will probably drink chocolate milk after longer runs, and stick to gatorade for less intense runs. Chocolate milk is also a better option because it’s cheaper and helps replenish the vitamins that the body needs. Check out this post about the reasons why people should drink chocolate milk more.

  2. Sara Grace Perlowitz

    I am so glad that I read this article because it answered a question that I have been meaning to look up the answer to. I am a swimmer, and my coaches told me that it was always beneficial to drink chocolate milk after practice. Every now and then I would drink chocolate milk, but I never saw a difference between when I drank it versus when I didn’t drink it. I am not a big fan of Gatorade either, so I would always just stick with water when I was getting thirsty. Now that I know chocolate milk isn’t bad for you after a hard workout, and with the creamery milk being so good, I might consider drinking more chocolate milk after my practices. Thanks for the information!

  3. Brendan Feifer

    Great article, like yourself I played sports in high school, but I played basketball. I always drank Gatorade after a long practice or game, and never really thought about if it actually worked or not. The thing with chocolate milk is that it varies. It really all depends on the ratio of chocolate to milk, and that’s something that would be engrossing in relation to this post. Also, what about PowerAde? PowerAde is often considered the poor mans Gatorade, but essentially they both look and taste the same. From prior experience, I have concluded that recovery drinks CORRELATE with energy restoration, but do NOT CAUSE an increase in stamina. Stamina is affected by third variables such as training and exercising. Once again, very intriguing article on such an interesting topic!

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