Milk Outperforms High-Tech Sports Drinks

Posted Mon, 06/22/2009 - 2:29am by Fred Lee

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It turns out that milk really does do a body good, especially when it’s chocolate milk. In fact, several studies have found that milk is more effective than certain high-tech carbohydrate drinks when it comes to the our muscles recovering from strenuous exercises like cycling, soccer, and weightlifting.

High endurance sports take a huge toll on our bodies, with muscle strain compounding the significant depletion of fluids and key electrolytes (i.e., minerals and salts) lost through perspiration. Replacement of these fluids and electrolytes is critical to not only performance but for good health, and while commercial beverages can be effective in certain regards, it turns out that they don’t work as well as milk. In two separate studies looking at cyclists performing endurance trials, subjects were able to ride for longer periods after drinking chocolate milk than certain high performance sports drinks.

Strenuous exercise also takes a huge toll on the muscles, increasing the risk of damage or injuries. In this regard, milk performed equally or better than certain sports drinks in college soccer players, who drank milk and displayed lower levels of creatine kinase, a key indicator of muscle tissue damage.

When it came to lifting weights, milk once again came out on top. In fact, in a study looking at bodybuilders, drinking nonfat milk after a workout appeared to not only build more muscle, but also resulted in a greater loss of body fat than either sports drinks or soy milk.

All of the data points to a growing body of evidence that milk is an equally if not more effective performance drink than certain commercially available products. Why this is the case, experts are not sure. However, they do know a few things, including the fact that milk provides more balanced nutrition that includes protein, carbohydrates, fat, as well as a variety of vitamins and minerals that are absent from many sports drinks. Some nutritionists believe that the key to milk’s restorative qualities lies in its ratio of carbohydrates to proteins (4 to 1, respectively), as well as the fact that the proteins contained in milk (specifically casein) are more efficient at rebuilding tissue.

In the end, milk is just a more nutritious, not to mention less expensive option. And believe it or not, it seems to re-hydrate the body more effectively, even if it might not seem to quench your thirst.

So the next time you’re looking for something to complement that workout that you’re hoping will help you achieve a leaner, healthier body, consider milk.

You might, however, want to forsake the cookies and cake that go so well with it.

 

Comments

1

I never knew this cool fact

Submitted by Julie Rains on Fri, 10/30/2009 - 8:40am.

I never knew this cool fact about chocolate milk until a couple of cycling buddies told me about it. We had just finished a 60-mile ride and they both pulled out chocolate milk as soon as we finished: one carried it in a cooler; the other had a shelf-stable boxed kind. I've added it to my post-workout to-do list.   

2

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