Chocolate Milk: The New Sports Drink?
Study Shows Chocolate Milk May Help Athletic Performance
WebMD News Archive
Milk vs. Sports Drinks continued...
The findings suggest that chocolate milk has an optimal ratio of
carbohydrates to protein to help refuel tired muscles, researcher Joel M.
Stager, PhD, Indiana University kinesiology professor, tells WebMD.
But the most puzzling result of the study, experts say, was why Endurox --
which has the same carb-to-protein ratio as the chocolate milk -- fared so
poorly. Researcher Jeanne D. Johnston, MA, tells WebMD it may have to do with
the different composition of the sugars in the milk. Another theory is that the
sugars in the milk may be better absorbed in the gut than those in the
Edward F. Coyle, PhD, a researcher on exercise and hydration at the
University of Texas, tells WebMD the trial would have been stronger if the
researchers had also tested the effect of flavored water or another dummy
The study was partly funded by the Dairy and Nutrition Council, an industry
group. Coyle says that the study's reliance on industry funding is not unusual
in the world of sports research, as federal funding for such research is hard
to come by.
A Cheaper Alternative?
While rapid nutrient replacement may not be important for casual exercisers,
it 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.
Anding has long recommended chocolate milk for young athletes who come to
her practice at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. For children and
teenagers from lower-income families, it doesn't make sense to spend serious
money on sports drinks when they can get milk as part of a subsidized lunch
program, she tells WebMD. The only advantage of sports drinks, she notes, is
that they never spoil.
Ayoob estimates that more than two-thirds of teenagers should be drinking
more milk anyway because they don't get enough calcium in their diets. He also
recommends milk for its vitamin D and potassium content. "For me, this is a
no-brainer," he says.