There’s no doubt that getting in a hard workout with friends does the mind and body good. As a sports dietitian, I enjoy socializing, while sweating with my buddies and getting the chance to answer their nutrition questions. Lately, I’ve had a lot of questions about commercial protein beverages and their effectiveness to refuel and repair tired muscles.
It’s true; a training session isn’t over until the nutrients that were lost are replaced. Athletes have so many products clamoring for their attention; it can be overwhelming. As a nutrition expert and athlete, I just stick to what I know works, low-fat chocolate milk. American Academy of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the leading source on sports medicine and exercise science, backs my recommendation and also suggests low-fat chocolate milk as a recovery beverage because it has the right mix of protein and carbs, which are scientifically shown to refuel exhausted muscles and help return an athlete to peak potential.
I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want an ice-cold glass of chocolate milk after a strenuous workout, but some reach for alternate protein beverages instead. Although “milk” is in the name of some popular commercial protein beverages, most don’t contain any trace of real dairy milk. It’s good to remember that low-fat chocolate milk is real dairy milk and offers a natural source of high-quality protein to build lean muscle. It also has fluids and electrolytes–like calcium, potassium, magnesium and sodium–to rehydrate and help replenish critical nutrients lost in sweat.
Plus, a Consumer Reports test found there where health risks and heavy metals associated with some of the most popular commercial protein beverages. The dairy industry takes food safety very seriously. As a result, American milk and dairy foods are among the safest and highly regulated foods in the world.
Like I tell my workout pals, low-fat chocolate milk is a great tasting, affordable alternative to expensive protein powders and recovery drinks–and you can find it anywhere. Learn more about the health benefits of flavored milk.
Rebecca Turner, MS, RD, CSSD, LD