Much of this article was taken from Endurance News, issue #105, by Hammer Nutrition
Having been a sponsored athlete with Hammer Nutrition in the past, I had access to their products and Recoverite was something I used religiously in my training. That being said, this article is less about a product pitch and more about basic sports nutrition. Now time to debunk the myth…
Based on a single study in 2006 that reported chocolate milk to be a highly effective recovery drink, thousands of athletes have consumed countless gallons of it, believing it provides optimal recovery benefits. However, before jumping on the bandwagon, have a closer look at it in comparison to some of the other more traditional recovery supplements.
The nearly 12.5 grams of carbohydrates in 100 calories of chocolate milk is comprised of sucrose, lactose and high fructose corn syrup. If you’re interested in recovery, you probably don’t want all that “junk sugar” going in to your body. Most top supplements supply 36% more carbohydrates per 100 calories and none of them are in the form of simple sugars or lactose. They’ll typically be made up of more complex carbs like Maltodextrin, which is a far better source than what’s found in chocolate.
In that same 100 calorie sample, you’ll get 5 grams of fat in the chocolate milk and the majority of those are saturated. Your glass is typically larger than 1 serving, so plan on getting close to 10 grams of fat every time you sit down with one. Not the case with the supplements, unless you add chocolate to them. Which may be good, just not in this case.
Chocolate milk, like other dairy, does contain protein. That’s a good thing because it’s one of your body’s most important building blocks for post workout recovery. Unfortunately, over 80% of it is in the form of casein. Casein is known to be a poor protein source for athletes because of its bioavailability. All proteins have a BV, or biological value rating assessed to them and casein carries a rating of 77. With athlete specific supplements, you’ll get significantly more protein per serving and it’ll come from a much better source. The majority of the higher quality supplements will use whey isolate as not just the main source but the only source. Whey has a much higher BV value as well as a greater percentage of branched chain amino acids, which will make your body very happy come recovery time.
If you want to put your body in the best possible position for it to recover quickly and efficiently, you’ve got to put the highest quality fuel into it. Every athlete has been told countless times about the “food is fuel” thing. We all know it to be true but, that being said, some times are more important than others to adhere to this fact. If you’re going to cheat on the calories you put into your body, don’t do it in recovery. Recovery sets the table for absolutely everything else you’ll do training wise. It’s the single most important component to athletic performance. When you compare the profile of chocolate milk to that of the top recovery supplements, there’s really no comparison. Though this goes for everyone doing any type of athletic activity, the highest level of athlete needs to be far more diligent than does someone going out to run 2 miles. In the way that everyone can benefit from this, the higher the level you compete at, the higher the importance that you adhere to strict guidelines. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t enjoy some chocolate milk, not even close. What I’m saying is that it just happens to be the sexy thing to talk about once someone decided that they were going to get their name out there with an oddball concept. It’s not the worse one in the world, nor is it the last one – remember running in those ridiculous 5 finger running shoes? Keep in mind that for every fad theory that comes out, we typically wind up right back where we started. Tried and true research gives us facts that can’t be disputed. As smart as you are when you train, put your body in the best possible position to continue doing it. Will you pay a more for the supplement than for a gallon of milk? Yep. So what… make meals for yourself a few time a week instead of buying out. You’ll save that money and most likely eat cleaner. Kind of like a two for one. And who doesn’t like a deal?