Have you ever considered drinking a big glass of chocolate milk after your workout? No? Well, according to a recent study, it might be a better alternative to your traditional post-workout recovery drink!

According to a study conducted by researchers from Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences in Yazd, Iran, who reviewed 12 smaller studies, chocolate milk is just as effective and in some cases better than sports drinks and recovery drinks post workout. Chocolate milk contains the perfect combination of carbs, protein, fats, water, and electrolytes to replenish your body of nutrients which are lost during workouts.

Researchers studied the effect of chocolate milk on heart rate, perceived exertion and time to exhaustion and concluded that it has significant benefits as compared to placebos or sports drinks. “Chocolate milk contains carbohydrates, proteins, fats, flavonoids, electrolytes, and some vitamins which make this drink a good choice for recovery in athletes,” said a senior author of the research study, Dr. Amin Salehi-Abargouei.

The Benefits of Dairy

Milk has always played a vital role in any post-workout routine since it contains two types of high-quality protein: whey and casein. With the addition of chocolate, the benefits improve tenfold due to the inclusion of sugar and carbohydrates. “The take-home message is that chocolate milk is a low-cost, delicious, and palatable option for recovery and provides either similar or superior effects compared with commercial drinks,” said Salehi-Abargouei to Reuters.

Chocolate Milk

Although the researchers studied only a small sample size, 150 participants who either bicycled or ran for exercise, further research could prove that chocolate milk also provides a significant boost in how long people can exercise before feeling tired. People who participated in the study who drank chocolate milk were able to exercise for 6 minutes longer than people who drank sports drinks.

Best Time for Consumption

So when exactly is the best time to drink chocolate milk? Kelly Pritchett of the department of foods and nutrition at the Universiy of Georgia told the Guardian that drinking chocolate milk in the first two hours after exercise will enhance recovery significantly. “We say this is the window of opportunity, as the ability to replace muscle glycogen is boosted during that period when you have increased blood flow going to the muscles. If you wait longer, it could take more time to restore your natural levels,” said Pritchett.

Alternatives to Chocolate Milk

Although chocolate milk provides benefits post-workout, small meals after workouts could also have the same effect according to Kim Spaccarotella, a biology researcher at Kean University in Union, New Jersey, who was not involved in the study. “In addition to chocolate milk, other popular choices are cereal with milk, smoothies, sandwiches or soup. A small meal will even work if the athlete is feeling hungry,” said Spaccarotella.

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