Lowfat chocolate milk contains high-quality protein to help repair and rebuild muscles after strenuous exercise. It’s also been shown to help athletes tone up–gain more lean muscle and lose fat–when compared to drinking a carb-only beverage.
Several studies have found that subjects who drank regular or flavored milk after a rigorous workout experienced less exercise-induced muscle damage than those who drank typical sports drinks or water.1, 2
- In one recent study, post-exercise muscle biopsies in eight moderately trained male runners showed enhanced skeletal muscle protein synthesis after drinking 16 ounces of fat-free chocolate milk compared to when they drank a carbohydrate-only sports beverage with the same amount of calories. This enhancement is a sign that muscles were better able to repair and rebuild.3
- In another study of healthy, untrained men, those who consumed fat-free milk after exercise gained more muscle and lost more body fat at the end of a 12-week training program than those who drank a soy protein beverage or a carb-only beverage. All three beverages had the same amount of calories. A second study found similar results for women.4, 5
- In another University of Texas at Austin study, 32 healthy but untrained cyclists who recovered with lowfat chocolate milk gained more muscle and lost more fat during training, with a 3 pound lean muscle advantage, compared to athletes who recovered with a carbohydrate drink.6
1 Cockburn E, Hayes PR, French DN, Stevenson E, St Clair Gibson A. Acute milk-based protein-CHO supplementation attenuates exercise-induced muscle damage. Applied Physiology, Nutrition & Metabolism. 2008;33:775-783.
2 Cockburn E, Stevenson E, Hayes PR, Robson-Ansley P, Howatson G, Effect of milk-based carbohydrate-protein supplement timing on the attenuation of exercise-induced muscular damage. Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism. 2010;35:270-277.
3 Lunn WR, Colletto MR, Karfonta KE, Anderson JM, Pasiakos SM, Ferrando AA, Wolfe RR, Rodriguez NR. Chocolate milk consumption following endurance exercise affects skeletal muscle protein fractional synthetic rate and intracellular signaling. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2010;42:S48.
4 Hartman JW, Tang JE, Wilkinson SB, Tarnopolsky MA, Lawrence RL, Fullerton AV, Phillips SM. Consumption of fat-free fluid milk following resistance exercise promotes greater lean mass accretion than soy or carbohydrate consumption in young novice male weightlifters. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2007;86:373-381.
5 Josse AR, Tang JE, Tarnopolsky MA, Phillips SM. Body composition and strength changes in women with milk and resistance exercise. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2010;42:1122-1130.
6 McCleave EL, Ferguson-Stegall L, Ding Z, Doerner PG, Liu Y, Kammer L, Wang B, Wang W, Hwang J, Ivy JL. Effects of aerobic training and nutritional supplementation on body composition, immune cells and inflammatory markers. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2011; 23:442.