Get More For Your Money
A study published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism earlier this year has shed some light on the best way for endurance athletes to recover after exercise. The study pitted fluid replacement (FR) drinks (such as Gatorade), carbohydrate replacement (CR) drinks (such as Endurox), and Mars Refuel (chocolate milk) to see which would help replenish muscle glycogen the fastest after exhaustion for cyclists. Participants were given the recovery drink immediately after and at 2 hours following cycling till exhaustion. The effectiveness was measured by a second bout of exercise 4 hours after the first where time to exhaustion was measured again.
The results showed that those who ingested chocolate milk cycled 51% and 43% longer than those who ingested CR and FR, respectively. They concluded that chocolate milk could be used as an effective means of recovery from prolonged endurance exercise.
Nutrition during tournaments is a big predictor of how long one can last out on the field in top condition. Rapid nutrition replacement can make a big difference in performance for competitive athletes who work out vigorously once or twice a day, says Roberta Anding, a sports dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. For many players, money is also a big issue. What could be a cheaper way to replenish your body than with chocolate milk? Chocolate milk is almost a third of the price of Endurox and has shown to be more effective as a recovery drink.
The effectiveness of chocolate milk as a recovery aid is thought to be due to its carbohydrate to protein ratio (about 4:1, depending on the brand), which is very similar to the pricy Endurox. So how did milk outperform? The differing types of sugar in milk are theorized to be the deciding factor, as well as the higher fat content. In addition, the calcium, sodium, and vitamin D content are an added plus of milk. So ditch those expensive recovery drinks and do what your mother always told you: Drink your (chocolate) milk.