Chocolate milk is increasingly recognized for its nutritional value. It is not only a delicious drink, it is a viable sports drink. Recent research has shown that it is as good or better than products like Gatorade and Endurox R4 when it comes to replacing fluids and carbohydrates.
That was the conclusion of a 2004 study at Indiana University at Bloomington, Indiana, in which the two manufactured products and chocolate milk were tested on elite bicyclists. The study has just been accepted for publication in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and it also was presented to the American College of Sports Medicine last year.
Joel Stager, a kinesiology professor and director of Indiana's Counsilman Center for the Science of Swimming, oversaw the research. "The milk was twice as effective as [Endurox]," he said. "It was just as effective as Gatorade."
Milk with chocolate contains a number of other healthful ingredients: substantial protein plus calcium, riboflavin and Vitamin D, among others.
The caloric content of milk, however, is higher than that of the other drinks. Milk has more because of the fat proteins in the carbohydrates. But the higher calories are not a significant problem for most athletes. Many elite athletes fail to eat enough because they are too tired and drinking their nutrition is easier.
The chocolate in a serving only adds about 50 calories. The chocolate adds carbohydrates and taste and that's critical. It is a very attractive “sports drink” because it is a fluid and it has carbohydrates, calcium and protein.
Milk with chocolate provides more key nutrients - zinc, potassium, niacin and riboflavin than plain whole milk – an important benefit to growing children.
In terms of calcium, protein and vitamin B, plain milk has slightly more. For all other nutrients, both milks are about the same.
Children are more likely to drink more milk with chocolate in it than plain milk. Studies have shown that the amount left undrunk by children in grades 1 through 5 was about two-thirds less than when only plain milk was offered.
Research conducted at the University of Rhode Island suggests that milk with chocolate in it has benefits for individuals who are lactose intolerant.
Research reveals that lactose intolerant individuals who consumed it showed significant reductions in their symptoms.
Chocolate milk, a traditional favorite drink of American children, is being recognized for its nutritional value to adults as well – even as a “sports drink” for athletes.
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