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Chocolate milk wins battle of the sports drinks

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Whether you’re kicking off the new footy season, or sweating it out at the gym – chocolate milk could be your new best friend. In a post-exercise energy recovery trial that pitted chocolate milk against commercial sports drinks, childhood favourite – chocolate milk – has taken first place

Milk and exerciseResearchers from England’s Northumbria University recently compared the effects of three beverages on performance in a cycling endurance test.1 The three beverages were chocolate milk, a commercially available sports drink, and a commercially available fluid replacement drink.

On three occasions, nine trained male cyclists completed a glycogen depletion workout, drank one of the three test beverages during a four-hour recovery period, and then cycled in an endurance capacity trial.

When the cyclists were given chocolate milk, they were able to cycle 51 percent longer in the endurance test before exhaustion than they did when they were given the sports drink and 43 percent longer than when they were given the fluid replacement drink.

The researchers noted that participants cycled longer after drinking chocolate milk than after sports drink, despite the beverages having very similar calorie (or energy) contents.  They said the difference could be due to differences in carbohydrate type and (or) fat content between the beverages.

These latest results support a growing body of research into the potential benefits of milk in post exercise hydration and recovery, compared to other sports nutrition products.2,3

Dairy Australia dietitian Glenys Kerrins said: "Milk is a sports drink plus a whole lot more. Being about 90% water, it is ideal for re-hydration and contains an ideal natural mix of carbohydrate and protein to help refuel tired bodies. Plus it packs a nutritional bonus of calcium and seven other essential nutrients (including potassium, phosphorus, vitamins A, D and B12, riboflavin and niacin)."

Ms Kerrins says that the study demonstrates that expensive supplements are not necessarily better than great tasting whole foods when it comes to athletic performance.

"Milk is something most people have in their fridge. It’s easy, doesn’t cost a lot and it’s got everything you need after a workout," Ms Kerrins said.


  1. Thomas K, et al. (2009) Improved endurance capacity following chocolate milk consumption compared with 2 commercially available sport drinks Appl Physiol Nutr Metab;34:78-82.
  2. Karp JR et al. (2006) Chocolate milk as a post-exercise recovery aid. Int J Sports Nutr and Exercise Metabol 16, 78-91.
  3. Roy, B. (2008) Milk: the new sports drink? A Review Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 5:15.

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Posted On: 16 April, 2009
Modified On: 16 January, 2014


Created by: myVMC