Saturday, May 17, 2008

Surprising Best Drink for Working Out

This may seem disgusting, but the next time you finish a sweat-inducing workout at the gym or a hard run in the neighborhood park, skip the sports drink. Reach for a tall, icy cold glass of chocolate milk to refuel your muscles. Yes, milk.

A new study from Indiana University concludes that athletes who drink chocolate milk after an intense bout of exercise are able to workout longer and with more power during a second workout, compared to athletes who drink commercial sports beverages.

"Our study indicates that chocolate milk is a strong alternative to other commercial sports drinks in helping athletes recover from strenuous, energy-depleting exercise," said co-author Dr. Joel M. Stager, professor of kinesiology at IU. "Chocolate milk contains an optimal carbohydrate to protein ratio, which is critical for helping refuel tired muscles after strenuous exercise and can enable athletes to exercise at a high intensity during subsequent workouts."

The study: Nine cyclists biked until their muscles were depleted of energy, rested four hours and then biked again until exhaustion. They did this three separate times. During the rest period, the cyclists drank one of three beverages: low-fat chocolate milk, a traditional fluid replacement sports drink or a carbohydrate replacement sports drink.

The results: During the second round of exercise, the researchers found that the cyclists who drank chocolate milk during the rest period were able to bike nearly twice as long before reaching exhaustion than those who consumed the carbohydrate replacement drink and just as long as those who consumed the fluid replacement drink.

Why? The researchers theorize that the combination of carbohydrates and protein found in chocolate milk is what helped enhance the cyclists' performance and suggest that flavored milk may be an optimal beverage for refueling muscles after exercise. In addition to its ideal combination of carbohydrates and protein, flavored milk contains seven other essential nutrients that are important for an athlete's health, including bone-building calcium. No other sports drink contains the nutrient package found in flavored milk. Chocolate milk is also cheaper than commercial sports drinks.

The study findings were published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.

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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.