Chocolate Milk vs Energy Drink: The Best Post-Exercise Recovery Drink?
Who doesn’t love chocolate milk? This delicious concoction with milk and chocolate along with a bunch of other vital nutrients is a favorite among kids and adults alike. Nothing beats the comfort of having a steaming hot cup of chocolate on a cold winter day or a chilled cup on a hot summer day!!
But did you know that chocolate milk energy drinks are being touted as a post-workout recovery drink? During the 2008 Olympics, Michael Phelps, counted among the best swimmers the world has ever seen, was seen sipping his Carnation breakfast drink mid-swimming laps. That says something about the power of this delicious beverage.
The significance of energy drinks for an athlete cannot be underestimated. These beverages are designed to meet the unique requirements of athletes and help build:
- Energy levels
- Post-workout recovery.
While some people argue that chocolate milk is better than energy drinks, others believe that energy drinks are the best beverages for athletes.
This sounds like the argument “Which came first, the chicken or the hen?” Much can be said on both sides with both points of view carrying some weightage.
We decided to take up this burning topic to give our readers a better understanding of how these drinks can be beneficial and which emerges a winner!!
The chocolate milk energy boost:
Let us first take a quick look at the nutritional value of an 8-ounce serving of 2% chocolate milk.
These numbers represent a rough estimate of how much nutrition is present in chocolate milk, though the numbers may vary depending on the type of milk used.
Whole milk chocolate milk has a higher nutritional value when compared to reduced-fat or skimmed milk.
Does chocolate milk give you energy?
Yes, chocolate milk gives you energy. The calorie content in milk along with proteins and carbs ensures that you stay energetic throughout your races and workout sessions.
In addition, chocolate milk is a rich source of electrolytes such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium, making it a perfect hydrating drink. These nutrients ensure that you are building muscle mass with every workout.
We now take a look at some of the studies that highlight the importance of chocolate milk beverages for post-workout or post-activity recovery.
Study 1: Canadian Science Publishing
Several studies such as the one published by Canadian Science Publishing prove that chocolate milk is excellent for post-recovery after prolonged endurance activities and high-intensity workouts.
Study 2: University of Chichester
The University of Chichester published a research study on the effectiveness of chocolate milk as a post-climbing recovery aid. The results of the study made it clear that drinking this beverage helped climbers with further sustained climbing and helped them recover quickly from muscle soreness when compared to water.
Study 3: Independent Study
Another study conducted on 13 soccer players also showed that post-workout chocolate milk energy drink provides a similar muscle recovery response as that of high-carb sports or energy drinks.
Know More: How long does energy drinks lasts?
Advantages of Chocolate Milk Energy drink for athletes
Chocolate milk, especially the low-fat or skim milk version, provides the following advantages to users:
- The proteins help with muscle recovery and repair and help reduce soreness and injuries quickly.
- Having chocolate milk after working out ensures that you are building your endurance and muscle mass while recovering from any aches and injuries.
- The fat and the protein content in milk keep you feeling full for longer. If you are trying to lose weight, a chocolate milk energy drink is an ideal option.
- Carbohydrates provide much-needed energy as you prepare for the next lap of the race or the next workout/training session.
- The chocolate present in the milk improves carbohydrate absorption by your muscles and liver.
- The water content and electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and calcium make it ideal for hydration.
- It is free from added calories making it ideal for kids and young adults who should stay away from caffeine.
- This beverage is cheaper compared to other energy and sports drinks available in the market and is the best source of energy and proteins for school-level athletes.
Despite the advantages, some chocolate milk brands have added sugars and calories which may lead to obesity, especially in children. Always check the labels for sugars, calories, and sodium before buying them to ensure that the beverage is on the healthier side.
Sports and Energy drinks:
These functional drinks are specially formulated for athletes and sportspersons. The idea behind these drinks is that the person drinking them stays hydrated, has enough energy to complete the task at hand, and is able to recover completely post the workout/race/tournament.
The drinks were developed to improve athletes’ performance and support performance capacity by providing fluids and electrolytes. They are generally water-based and evolved as a superior alternative to plain water.
They form an important part of the rehydration strategy, a concept that has gained quite a bit of significance in recent years. According to an article published in the International Journal Of Sports Medicine, even low levels of dehydration in athletes can cause effects such as:
- Impaired cardiovascular responses
- Disturned thermoregulatory processes
- Reduced capability of exercising
As we know athletes constantly face fluid and electrolyte losses in the form of sweat. With this, dehydration becomes a constant threat, leading to the symptoms above. To avoid these conditions, athletes must consume fluids infused with carbohydrates to improve exercise performance, cardiac functioning, and blood flow.
When an athlete is not properly hydrated and doesn’t have enough supply of carbohydrates, the body must start depending on the stored glycogen from the muscles. When this happens, the muscles weaken, and the athlete experiences cramps, muscle wear, and fatigue.
To avoid all these conditions, sports and energy drinks contain carbohydrates along with other essential nutrients to ensure that you have everything your body needs while performing high endurance or high-intensity activities.
Composition of energy and sports drinks:
Sports drinks contain the following nutritional components:
- Water: To ensure hydration and maintain fluid balance
- Carbohydrates: Provide you with the much-needed energy and keep you going through long-lasting high-intensity activities
- Electrolytes: Source of minerals, such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium to ensure that you stay hydrated and prevent dehydration.
Energy drinks contain the following nutritional components:
Along with water, carbohydrates, and electrolytes, energy drinks contain certain additional nutrients such as:
- Vitamin B6 and B12
- Some energy drinks may also contain added caffeine that helps with post-workout recovery.
These can be found in both artificial and natural form in these drinks depending upon which drink you would go for.
Benefits of sports and energy drinks:
- Maintain electrolyte and fluid balance
- Keep you hydrated pre, during, and post-workout and events
- Help build muscle mass and endurance
- Aid muscle and tissue repair helping in quick injury recovery
- Added nutrients help with cell and tissue growth and regeneration
Sports drink vs chocolate milk:
So, which beverage is the best for athletes? Sports and energy drinks or chocolate milk? The answer is subjective and depends on multiple factors. Sports drinks and chocolate milk may both be good for you.
But while most research supports the benefits and advantages of energy and sports drinks for athletes, research regarding the benefits of chocolate drinks for athletes is limited.
Additionally, chocolate beverages are only good for post-workout recovery and may not be ideal for drinking throughout the day, especially for marathon races. Drinking too much chocolate may not be palatable to all. You will need a lot of fluids to stay hydrated, which chocolate milk cannot supply enough of.
Sports drinks and energy drinks are ideal for high-endurance and high-intensity exercises, and since they are specifically designed to keep an athlete’s requirements in mind, they are the best choice.
So, when is chocolate milk useful? We recommend it for kids and tweens who are into athletics and sporting activities. They are in a growth phase and need a lot of naturally occurring easily digestible nutrients that milk can provide.
Chocolate milk and water are also excellent electrolyte drinks for those who do not work out or train for more than 30 or 45 minutes in a day.
But an average athlete who takes part in tournaments training and workouts, or a bodybuilder who does a lot of high-intensity training does require sports and energy drinks to keep them hydrated.
Chocolate milk vs energy drinks: Which is the best? In all our research, we found sports and energy drinks to be the best supplements for athletes.
Chocolate milk is an ideal hydration and supplement drink for kids, young adults, and low-intensity, low-duration training, and workouts. Keep in mind the sugar and calorie contents though! You do not want to unnecessarily pile on the pounds!!
For everyone else, energy and sports drinks are ideal hydration and supplement drinks to be consumed before, during, and post the session or event.
So, if you are an athlete, get a hold of a sports or energy drink and enjoy the full benefits it has to offer you!!