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Is Chocolate Milk “Nature’s Protein Drink”?

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An optimal post-exercise nutrition regimen is fundamental for ensuring recovery. Studies addressing the effects of nutrient intake after endurance exercise highlight the importance of eating immediately after a workout. In one study, consuming a protein-carbohydrate supplement immediately following exercise (3 hour time limit), resulted in positive muscle protein balance and a more positive whole-body protein balance.

Protein plays many roles during and after exercise. Amino acids are used for energy in the muscles and for building and repairing of tissues following exercise. Therefore, research has aimed to examine post-exercise nutritional strategies for enhanced training. It is often suggested that chocolate milk is “nature’s protein drink”, and a great option to consume after training for re-hydration, recovery, and adaptation.

Chocolate milk has become an affordable recovery beverage for many athletes yes I said chocolate milk! Taking the place of more expensive commercially available recovery beverages. Low-fat chocolate milk consists of a 4:1 carbohydrate:protein ratio and provides fluids and sodium to aid in post-workout recovery. Consuming chocolate milk immediately after exercise and again at 2 h post-exercise appears to be optimal for exercise recovery and may lessen muscle damage.


I researched the particular topic of chocolate milk benefits for after exercise on

Additional research that showed the positive effects of chocolate milk for post-workout recovery is found here – (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.


This study aimed to compare water with chocolate milk as recovery aids following an exhaustive session of high intensity endurance climbing. Ten male climbers climbed a Tredwall until exhaustion. The participants consumed either water or chocolate milk 20 minutes after the climb and then again with their evening meal. The exercise protocol was repeated 24 hours after the original climb. The second condition was completed 7 days later. Workload indicators of heart rate, rate of perceived exertion, blood lactate and muscle soreness scores were recorded alongside climbing performance measures of duration and distance of the climb.

An improved performance was found after the consumption of chocolate milk, with both a greater distance climbed, there were no differences in end of climb heart rate or rate of perceived exertion. Muscle soreness scores were lower three days after exercise following chocolate milk. Chocolate milk as a recovery drink resulted in further sustained climbing, a decrease in muscle soreness, compared to water. It may be applicable for high endurance athletes to consider its use as a recovery aid during repeated endurance training. Chocolate milk is a relatively unexplored recovery aid and warrants further attention.


Obviously one study doesn’t prove that chocolate milk is the best post-exercise drink.. but hey why not? It replenishes your body and tastes



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