Study: Chocolate milk good for athletes
By EDDIE PELLS, AP National Writer Fri Nov 17, 5:06 AM ET
To be forthright, the study by the scientists from
Still, their findings are compelling.
The small group of fit athletes who took part in the study were asked to work out strenuously on a stationery bicycle, then drink low-fat chocolate milk, a fluid-replacement drink like Gatorade and a carbohydrate replacement drink like Endurox R4. A few hours later, they were asked to cycle again until they reached exhaustion.
The test was repeated three times — once with each kind of drink — and the data showed that the cyclists were able to go between 49 and 54 percent longer on the second stint after drinking chocolate milk than when they drank the carbohydrate drink. The difference between the milk and the fluid-replacement drink was not significant.
"My way of explaining it is, there's really nothing magic about the powder in a can that you mix with water," cycling coach Scott Saifer said of the carbohydrate drink. "It's water, carbs, proteins, maybe minerals and electrolytes. What's in chocolate milk? The same thing. There's no reason it shouldn't be as good for recovery as a carb drink."
The milk folks tout their product as a less-costly and healthier alternative to the more traditional energy drinks.
They have some data to back up the physiology of the issue. Among their points are that milk also provides much-needed calcium and might be more efficiently absorbed into the system than the other drinks.
The cost analysis also works in their favor.
To get 75 grams of carbohydrate, you'd need about 18 ounces of chocolate milk, three scoops of a carb drink or about 17 ounces of a fluid-replacement drink. The milk option would cost around 49 cents, which is about 95 cents less than the carb drink and about 9 cents less than a 17-ounce serving of Gatorade.
(Prices were calculated on the basis of a sale-priced $3.50 gallon of chocolate milk, an eight-pack of 20-ounce bottles of Gatorade on sale for $5.50 and a 56-scoop container of Endurox priced at $26.95.)
This latest study by the milk industry is an attempt to get people thinking about one of the world's most basic products in new ways. Of course, it could also be viewed as little more than a ploy to cut into the multibillion-dollar sports-drink market. (According to brandchannel.com, Gatorade topped $2 billion in sales in 2001.)
Dietician Mary Lee Chin, who does public-relations work for the Western Dairy Council, says that either way, there's nothing wrong with this sales pitch.
"It's not like you're talking about some beverage that's really outlandish and recommending that," she said. "Milk should be part of everyone's diet anyhow. It's the fact that you already have a nutritional benefit, and then there's this additional replenishment benefit as an added bonus."
Chin acknowledged the
As for the prospect of chugging down a glass of chocolate milk on a hot day after an extensive workout ... well, that's a matter of personal preference.
"If it tastes good enough that you want to reach for a bottle and drink it, it's a good exercise drink," said Saifer, who prefers a fruit and yogurt smoothie to quench his thirst. "If it tastes nasty and you don't want to drink it, there's no way it can help you."I drink chocolate milk every morning and I have always insisted that it's what gives me my super powers. It's nice to know that I can just make shit up and scientists in Indiana will hop to it.
In other milk news, I am damn tired of places advertising vanilla milk, chocolate milk, strawberry milk and white milk. Not to be a total shmuck, but milk IS white. Can we just call milk milk? Also strawberry and vanilla varieties of milk are an abomination.