Who doesn’t love a glass of chocolate milk? Chocolate milk is often the poster child for being the perfect recovery food. But what makes the perfect recovery food? Typically, when evaluating a potential recovery food, I look at three things: carbohydrate, protein and fluids. Read on to see how chocolate milk stacks up.
We used our stored carbohydrates, called glycogen, as our fuel source during exercise. Consuming carbohydrates after a workout is important to restore these depleted stores. Chocolate milk contains ample carbohydrates to help replete glycogen levels so that you’re ready for your next workout.
Consuming protein after a workout helps build and repair muscle that was damaged during exercise. Chocolate milk has a fairly good amount of protein in it. On top of this, the type of protein that is found in milk is high quality since it contains all the essential amino acids and they are easily digested.
Most people end exercise dehydrated due to sweat losses. It’s important to replace these fluid losses, and chocolate milk can help us do this. Chocolate milk also contains electrolytes such as sodium and potassium that are lost in sweat.
The main concern about chocolate milk is the added sugar. Yes, some of the carbohydrates found in chocolate milk will be in the form of added sugar. However, athletes have some room in their diet for added sugar and this added sugar also comes with the benefits of protein, fluids, vitamins and minerals. Many people also don’t consume enough milk and alternatives on a daily basis and as a result, are lacking in the calcium department. A post-workout glass of chocolate milk is a great way to up your calcium intake.
All of this being said, the importance of post-exercise recovery foods can often be blown out of proportion. Post-exercise recovery foods are most important for those who do double workouts in a day, have another workout within 6 hours or did very exhaustive exercise. For most athletes, having a balanced meal after your workout is all the recovery food you need.
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