This post is about my thoughts on the subject. I am not a doctor, nutrionist or any authority on the matter of food or fitness. So, please if you are reading this for expert advice I am not the person to get it from. I will have links to places to get better information on the subject I am posting on. Please make sure to do your research before trying anything new or check with your doctor before hand.
I was reading another fitness magazine last night: Oxygen when I came across this little tidbit about how to keep up your energy and one of the things in there mentioned drinking chocolate milk after a workout. Thats right chocolate milk. I did a double, triple, quadrulpe take on that. Now, it may not be new for many but as a milk fanactic I am always worried about whether or not I should keep drinking milk and ways of getting it into my diet without my midnight cereal cravings. And low and behold – here is a new way. So, this morning I did a little digging since I don’t always take things at face value and wanted to know why – out of all the drinks why chocolate milk is recommended over other sports drinks and over regular milk.
Here are some reasons: calcium, carbs and protein. All things you would get in say a smoothie from Robeks or Keva Juice or any other smoothie place but chocolate milk is about 10 times cheaper since you can make it at home or pick up a personal size drink at the grocery store for like $1.29. But back to the health benefits of chocolate milk. From fitnessmagazine.com article:
For a high-endurance athlete, Stager’s team sees it as a catch-all workout recovery drink. Compared to plain milk, water, or most sports drinks, it has double the carbohydrate and protein content, perfect for replenishing tired muscles. Its high water content replaces fluids lost as sweat, preventing dehydration. Plus it packs a nutritional bonus of calcium, and includes just a little sodium and sugar — additives that help recovering athletes retain water and regain energy.
Sounds good to me. But I was curious on the calories and sugar content. So, I did a comparison of a single serving of three different drinks: Robeks Cardio Cooler, Dairyland 1% Chocolate Partially Skimmed Milk and Propel Sports Water.
Robek’s Cardio Cooler - 2 Servings/24 Ounces, single serving is 12 ounces but you can only buy this in a 24 ounce drink but I will post the 24 ounce then 12 ounce. This drink also includes several additonal items to increase protein and nutrients.
Carbs: 88g/44g (Fiber: 6g/3g, Sugars: 76g/38g)
Vitamn A: 104%/52% of DSV
Vitman C: 438%/219% DSV
Calcium: 12%/6% DSV
Iron: 6%/3% DSV
Dairyland 1% Chocolate Partially Skimmed Milk – 1 Serving/250g:
Carbs: 29.0g (mostly sugar but there is dietary fiber in milk)
Calcium: 30% of DSV
Propel Sports Water – 2 Servings/16 oz once again because this is sold normally as a 16 ounce bottle and not a 8 ounce bottle, I will but the bottle amount then the true serving amount since that is normally what people drink.
Carbs: 6g/3g (Sugars 4g/2g)
So what does this tell us? Well, each drink has its plus and minuses.
You get an after workout smoothie from a store and you get a ton of sugar and calories. This is more of a meal then a cool down drink. I am aware that most of the sugars are coming from fresh fruits and juice. So the sugar carbs aren’t completely empty. The calcuim is lower then the milk drink but that is to be expected. While the smoothie does have frozen yogurt in it – its benefits seem to be lowered due to the fruit sugar content. But this is definatly not something you drink after a long run or swim to just cool down and get a quick replensihment of proteins and carbs. And be aware of what you are getting. Check out their nutrional info on their drinks before ordering. There are lower carbs/calorie smoothies then this. Just watch yourself.
The Propel Fitness Water tells you basically what it is: sugar water. While the carbs/sugars are low as well as the sodium and there is no fat. There is nothing else to it. It would be better to just drink water. I am no doctor but there aren’t enough carbs I think to make a difference. And the carbs aren’t coming from fruits but a refined sugar. It would be good if you are just wanting to drink water but have flavor.
The chocolate milk – its got fat of course but it seems the portion of protein seems like a good amount. It may be worth a try but not something for everyone to do every day. It may be a better treat. And I know there may be better ways of making it healthier. I know that GNC sells a protein mix called Dessert that may make a good alternative and give you a higher precentage of proteins. But its up to you.
It seems from what I have been reading that its better for high endurance athletes such as runners, swimmers and bikers then someone who is just doing Sweatin’ to the Oldies. But maybe for those days when you push beyond your limits and go the extra distance where you feel like your body is going to drop this would be a nice treat for yourself. Especially since there is the added bonus of the chocolate being good for you in controlled portions.
Why? Antioxidents and its good for women to keep the seritonin balance going during your diet, stress and hard workouts. Which have a habit of dropping dangerously low in women due to the mass reduction of healthy carbs. Men can normally go without carbs better then women. If you are craving lots of chocolate at night or during your diet there is a reason and not just because you want chocolate. Chocolate is a good quick boost to your serotonin levels which are vital to what make us women, women. It helps balance our emotions. A little bit of chocolate isn’t bad for you. In fact it can be beneficial to loosing weight and staying healthy. As well as the other benefits including help stave off binge eating while dieting. But eat the dark chocolate since it actual is healthier for you then milk chocolate (and white chocolate isn’t really chocolate at all).
But, in conclusion – I can definatly see the benefits of drink chocolate milk after a workout even if it has fat in it. Now, if only they made a dark chocolate drink instead of always the milk chocolate milk.