Why Chocolate Milk Is the Perfect Post-workout Recovery Beverage

Chocolate milk
Chocolate milk Carolyn Ann Ryan / Getty Images

Chocolate milk, your favorite childhood drink, could be a powerful recovery method you’re overlooking, according to a new systematic review.

Researchers compiled studies of controlled trials on chocolate milk and its impact on workout recovery from PubMed, Scopus, and Google scholar dating back to April 2017. Overall, 12 studies were included in the meta-analysis.

Researchers looked at chocolate milk’s affect on performance and recovery markers, heart rate, time to exhaustion, serum lactate, and serum creatine kinase, and found it
provides similar or even superior results when compared to a placebo or other sports drinks. Time to exhaustion significantly increases after chocolate milk consumption.

It’s thanks to chocolate milk’s macros. It has a 4:1 carb to protein ratio that’s perfect for recovery. The minerals (i.e. electrolytes) in chocolate milk also make it incredibly hydrating. Another study published in the journal of Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism found athletes were able to retain more than twice the amount of fluid in chocolate milk than in a sports drink post-workout.

So, ditch the saccharine sports drinks post-workout and keep the basic ingredients on-hand for a DIY post-workout snack. Just add about 1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder to 6 to 8 ounces of milk; if you want it to be a little sweeter, add 1 teaspoon sugar.