In a post-exercise energy recovery trial that pitted chocolate milk against commercial sports drinks, chocolate milk has taken first place.
Researchers from England's Northumbria University recently compared the effects of three beverages on performance in a cycling endurance test.
The three beverages were chocolate milk, a commercially available sports drink, and a commercially available fluid replacement drink.
On three occasions, nine male cyclists completed a glycogen depletion workout, drank one of the three test beverages during a four-hour recovery period, and then cycled in an endurance capacity trial.
When the cyclists were given chocolate milk, they were able to cycle 51pc longer in the endurance test before exhaustion than they did when they were given the sports drink and 43pc longer than when they were given the fluid replacement drink.
The researchers noted that participants cycled longer after drinking chocolate milk than after sports drink, despite the beverages having very similar calorie (or energy) contents.
They said the difference could be due to differences in carbohydrate type and (or) fat content between the beverages.
These latest results support a growing body of research into the potential benefits of milk in post exercise hydration and recovery, compared to other sports nutrition products.
Dairy Australia dietitian Glenys Kerrins said that milk was about 90pc water, making it ideal for re-hydration, while also providing "an ideal natural mix of carbohydrate and protein to help refuel tired bodies".
"Plus it packs a nutritional bonus of calcium and seven other essential nutrients (including potassium, phosphorus, vitamins A, D and B12, riboflavin and niacin)," she said.
Ms Kerrins says that the study demonstrates that expensive supplements are not necessarily better than great tasting whole foods when it comes to athletic performance.
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