Remember drinking chocolate milk with your lunch or as a snack when you were a kid? It’s probably a habit you gave up ages ago, but maybe you should rethink it. According to a 2009 study published in February in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, when nine trained male cyclists performed three experimental trials on different days consisting of a glycogen-depleting bout of cycling, a 4-hour recovery period, and then cycling to exhaustion at 70% power at maximal oxygen uptake, chocolate milk came out on top of three different recovery drinks.
Right after the depleting exercise, the cyclists consumed either chocolate milk, a carbohydrate replacement drink (i.e., a sports drink), or a fluid replacement drink (flavored water), and they had some more two hours into recovery. When completing the final “cycle to exhaustion” portion of the experiment after four hours, they cycled 51% longer after having drunk the chocolate milk compared to the sports drink and 43% longer compared with extra fluids. Who knew? Actually, in the diabetes world, we have known for quite some time that whole milk post-exercise helps keep blood glucose levels more stable and prevent late-onset hypoglycemia than sports drinks, skim milk, or water, but it’s good to know that our post-exercise secret has now spread to the rest of the world as an exercise recovery aid!