A few years ago at Weston Ski Track, I overheard some high school kids talking about Chocolate Milk as a recovery drink. The concept sounded appealing. I always sensed there were some unheralded health benefits from Chocolate Milk. Back in the day, many bike race weekends began with a liverwurst (for iron, right?) sandwich and a big carton of Dutch Maid chocolate milk. I think Dutch Maid was the off-brand, kwik-e-mart version of Swiss Miss. It was essentially half-and-half fortified with copious amounts of cocoa and sugar. I can still remember the shock on the faces of my teammates before they, too, were converted. It seemed an unnecessary indulgence, but the blond, braided Dutch girl and windmills on the carton evoked images of bike racing in the Netherlands. If it was good enough for them, then it should be fine for me. I’m sure Peter Post is rolling in his grave…or licking his lips somewhere.
Over the years, I’ve generated numerous hypotheses regarding the recuperative properties of some foods: coffee, beer, apple pie, to name a few. I decided to do some research on the subject of Chocolate Milk to confirm what I had gleaned from a bunch of kids. A 2006 study “Chocolate Milk as a Post-Exercise Recovery Aid” concluded that chocolate milk was as effective as commercial recovery products such as Gatorade or Endurox. On an amusing side note — one that I had suspected — this study was supported by the Dairy and Nutrition Council, Inc.
I still drink substantial amounts of Chocolate Milk post-workout. I like the fact that it is relatively “natural” when compared to synthesized drink mixes. It’s probably much more cost-effective, too, though I haven’t done the math. I opt for organic chocolate milk. At close to $5 per half gallon, it is more expensive than beer or coffee, but is definitely more conducive to recovery than those options. Drink up.