William Lunn, Ph.D., who collaborated on both research studies conducted in the lab of Nancy Rodriguez, Ph.D., FACSM, found in the first study that ingesting chocolate milk after a run supported skeletal muscle protein synthesis during recovery.
Eight male runners in relatively good training shape completed two runs (each 45 minutes at 65 percent of their maximum levels) during two weeks of eating a balanced diet matched to their individual caloric needs. Following each run, the study participants drank either 16 ounces of fat-free chocolate milk or 16 ounces of a carbohydrate-only beverage, matched for calories with the milk.
Following muscle biopsy samples taken during a three-hour recovery period after each run, Lunn found that runners who drank fat-free chocolate milk during recovery had heightened markers of muscle protein repair compared to the carbohydrate drink.
“It’s always helpful for exercisers to learn of additional options for recovery drinks,” Lunn said. “Chocolate milk can be relatively inexpensive compared to commercially available recovery drinks and is easy to make at home, making it a viable and palatable option for many people.”
The second study showed that chocolate milk also contributes to replenishing glycogen stores in muscles, a source of fuel during prolonged exercise. Muscle glycogen levels in the same eight male runners were tested 30 minutes and 60 minutes following ingestion of either the fat-free chocolate milk or the carbohydrate beverage.
Muscle glycogen content was greater for the chocolate milk drinkers at both measurement times, further supporting the use of this drink in recovery nutrition strategies.
The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 35,000 international, national and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.
Note: These studies were supported by a grant from the National Dairy Council and National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board.
The conclusions outlined in this news release are those of the researchers only, and should not be construed as an official statement of the American College of Sports Medicine.