By Dr. Natasha Klemm ND
Chocolate milk…the smooth, sweet taste of artificial flavours, glucose/fructose, carageenan and guar gum. No longer limited to childrens’ birthday parties, chocolate milk has gained increasingly popularity as a post-exercise recovery drink for all ages.
Touted by researchers, dietitians and exercise enthusiasts alike, this dairy-aisle beverage has surpassed Gatorade, regular milk and placebo in studies by causing the greatest benefit on muscle recovery and fatigue after exercise. (Who do you think funded these studies?)
The truth is that both regular and chocolate milk contain 9 grams of protein per cup. After exercise, protein provides amino acids essential for muscle recovery. When milk, chocolate or otherwise, is compared to proteinless placebo or Gatorade, there are obvious advantages.
Unlike regular milk, the sugar content is doubled in chocolate milk, but according to studies this is a good thing because it increases the storage of carbohydrates to be used as fuel during exercise. Sounds great, doesn’t it…
The issue: study participants are professional athletes and people that have much greater caloric requirements than the average person. Chocolate milk has double the calories compared to regular milk and these calories come from added sugar. Remember that excess sugar turns into fat, and the sugar in chocolate milk equals 6 tsp per cup! (Coke has 1/2 tsp more). Can you imagine putting that much sugar in your coffee?
The bottom line—eat whole foods. Consume your protein from a combination of animal and vegetarian sources and have your sugar come from fresh and whole fruits and vegetables. The benefits of such a diet far outweigh the benefits of what the dairy industry calls a “super-food”. Don’t be fooled.