Not only does chocolate milk taste delicious, but it also naturally offers many benefits to support your performance and keep you healthy! Whether you are an elite athlete, weekend warrior, or someone looking to enhance your health and wellness, milk is a great way to build strength, provide energy, and maintain adequate hydration levels.
Choosing to incorporate milk into your daily routine provides your body with natural electrolytes, carbohydrates, and protein. When you choose to drink milk, you’re selecting not only a tasty beverage but also a holistic food packed with a variety of nutrients!
When consumed consistently throughout the day, protein provides muscles with the amino acids needed to develop strength, maintain energy levels, and allow you to go the extra mile. Drinking an 8 oz. glass of milk–white or chocolate–post-exercise gives your body 8 grams of complete, high-quality protein to promote recovery by replenishing muscle protein. The protein and nutrients found in milk can also increase satiety and help you feel fuller or longer while supporting stable energy levels.
How does milk compare to non-dairy alternatives? The quality of protein from milk is difficult to match with non-dairy sources. The 8 grams of protein found in a serving of milk is considered a complete protein because it includes every amino acid essential to the body. Essential amino acids cannot be produced by the body and they must be obtained from food. Insufficient amounts of any essential amino acids can limit the protein’s capability. Most plant-based milk alternatives fail to provide all amino acids, limiting muscle recovery post-exercise.
Looking for an alternative to water to help you meet your hydration needs? Not only does milk have a variety of flavors to choose from, but it also may help rehydrate you at a faster rate compared to water and most sports drinks. Milk naturally contains electrolytes and carbohydrates which elevates water absorption and leads to faster rehydration. Both white and chocolate milk contain these electrolytes to support your hydration status, but chocolate milk has a higher total of carbohydrates, ideal for replenishing burned energy stores and fighting fatigue after intense exercise.
Pour yourself a glass of chocolate milk and celebrate the many ways dairy supports your health, helping you bring your best every day!
Haley Melton, MS, RD, LD is a sports dietitian at the University of Mississippi working directly with track and field, cross country, and soccer student-athletes. Her main goal is empowering athletes to develop personalized nutrition habits that support their health and performance goals currently and can be translated and utilized long into the future.