Chocolate milk: Sports drink of champions

Explore why chocolate milk can be a great way to refuel after a good workout or practice.

Chocolate milk cartons
Chocolate milk is an excellent source of nine essential nutrients that athletes need for good health. Photo by ANR Communications | MSU Extension

It is the time of year when students are gearing up for the fall sports season. Whether playing football, volleyball or soccer, youth are practicing hard, sweating and burning many calories. Chocolate milk can be a great way for youth to refuel after a good workout or practice.

When we think about chocolate milk, we often think about how we drank it in grade school with a snack or at the lunch table. Recently however, chocolate milk came back into the spotlight as a great after workout drink.

According to a research study by the University of Texas at Austin by John Ivy, chocolate milk consumed after a workout is the best post-workout recovery drink.  Study participants had better body composition in the form of more muscle and less fat, improved times while working out, and overall better physical shape than peers who consumed sports beverages that contained just carbohydrates.

In addition to this study, chocolate milk is an excellent source of nine essential nutrients that athletes need for good health: calcium, potassium, protein, phosphorus, vitamins A, D and B12, riboflavin and niacin. For these reasons and more, the United Dairy Industry of Michigan calls chocolate milk nature’s sports drink. United Dairy Industry of Michigan promotes the use of dairy products across the state. If schools are interested in getting more milk into their athletic programs, the United Dairy Industry of Michigan has a grant program for high schools to receive funding to provide chocolate milk to athletes at afterschool sports events.

Schools may also be interested in bringing sports nutrition to their athletes. Michigan State University Extension had a program call Peak Health and Performance that is designed to teach proper nutrition to student athletes. Contact your local MSU Extension office to get a program scheduled for your school. 

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