The Tour De France came to its exiting finish today in France. Britian’s Chris Froome won his third Tour. If you watched this year you would have probably seen multiple commercials touting Chocolate Milk as a great recovery drink for athletes. Believe it or not it is actually the official recovery drink of USA Swimming.
Is this really true. Well, milk is not a bad choice as long as you are not lactose intolerant. However, it is the chocolate part that is the problem.
All chocolate milk can be a bit different based on what you use for milk (1%, 2%, whole milk) and what you use for flavoring. Since TruMoo Chocolate Milk touts USA Swimming on their website, let’s use them as a representative of the beverage.
The ingredients found in one (1) cup of TruMoo Chocolate Milk include Low Fat Milk, Sugar, Cocoa, Corn Starch (more Sugar), Salt, Carrageenen (a questionable filler) and then some natural flavors and added vitamins.
There are 18 grams of Sugar which equates to over 4 teaspoons of Sugar in this cup of chocolate milk! This is in one (1) cup remember and a TruMoo bottle actually contains 12 oz. So, in a typical bottle of TruMoo Chocolate Milk we find 27 grams of sugar or almost 6 teaspoons. This is approximately what the World Health Organization recommends that an adult consume in an entire day. Chocolate Milk is providing as much sugar as you should be consuming in an entire day in one bottle. Doesn’t sound like a great thing to be drinking to recover from exercise.
Additionally the intake of all of this excess sugar creates a massive influx of insulin and inflammation both of which are not a great idea for post exercise. According to Harvard Medical School, “The bolus of blood sugar that accompanies a meal or snack of highly refined carbohydrates (white bread, white rice, French fries, sugar-laden soda, etc.) increases levels of inflammatory messengers called cytokines.”
Finally, back to that pesky Carrageenen. This filler also seems to be linked to excess inflammation in the body.
Great. Give me a bottle of refined sugar that ramps up insulin and inflammation just when my body doesn’t need it.
So what do you drink to recover? Try water. If you have been exercising for more than about 2 hours find a drink that provides electrolytes and some protein without all of the sugar.
How about you. What do you drink after a workout?