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Chocolate Milk Aids Muscle Recovery And Growth

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Chocolate Milk Aids Muscle Recovery And Growth

New research shows that low-fat chocolate milk is an effective sports drink to aid muscle recovery, endurance, and performance….

New research has shown that drinking low-fat chocolate milk after a workout session aids muscle recovery, endurance, performance and growth. This is because the flavored milk has the perfect amount of protein and carbohydrates that our tired muscles require after exerting large amounts of energy.

Lead researcher of the study and department chair of kinesiology and health education at the University of Texas at Austin John L. Ivy, PhD, explained that recovering from exercise requires sugar to switch on protein synthesis, and stop protein breakdown, and the combination of carbohydrates and protein in chocolate milk work together to help these functions.

In two separate tests compared with two other drinks; a no-calorie beverage and a carbohydrate drink containing zero protein, chocolate milk gave the participant a greater advantage every time. The chocolate milk used in the trails contained 11.5 grams of carbohydrates per 100 milliliters, 3.5 grams of protein, and 2 grams of fat, whereas the carbohydrate drink had 15 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fat, and no protein.

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Low-Fat Chocolate Milk Aids Muscle Recovery, Growth and Endurance.

Image Credit: Sugar Bear, 2008.
In the first test, Ivy asked 10 well-trained cyclists to exercise for 2 hours until they felt fatigued. They were then asked to drink the milk, the carb drink or the zero-calorie beverage right after the workout, and again two hours later.

After 4 hours they were asked to complete a 40km cycling time trial. When the athletes performed the time trail after drinking the chocolate milk, they managed to shave 6 minutes off their time.

In a second study, Ivy took 32 untrained people and asked them to cycle 60 minutes a day, five days a week for four and a half weeks. One group were asked to drink chocolate milk right after the exercise and again one hour later, the other group were given a placebo zero calorie drink.

When Ivy analyzed the results he found that the maximum oxygen uptake – a measure of aerobic exercise – was twice as great in those drinking chocolate milk compared with those taking the placebo drink. The group drinking the milk also had greater increase in lean body mass and reduction in body fat.

While the findings certainly prove chocolate milk is a great drink to aid muscle recovery and growth, Ivy says he was not trying to compare the results, or discredit the performance enhancing abilities of popular sports drinks that also contain protein.

Barbara Lewin, RD, a sports nutritionist in Ft. Myers, Fla., who was not involved in the research, said she was not surprised the chocolate milk did so well at improving muscle repair and growth. She says she has been drinking milk for such reasons for several years and advises drinking the chocolate milk within 20 to 30 minutes of your workout. Ivy also agrees.

How much you should consume largely depends on how hard you exercise, and your weight. Lewin suggested between 8-16 oz as a rough average.

For those trying to increase muscle mass, it’s common knowledge that protein is essential part of a muscle building diet. But the new findings bring to light an effective, and tasty, alternative to protein beverages, or scooping whey protein supplement into your morning power shake.

The research, which was funded by the National Dairy Council and the National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board, was published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research and the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. Ivy also presented the findings at the American College of Sports Medicine Meeting in Denver in June.


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