Chocolate milk may be as good - or better - than common sports drinks like Gatorade or Endurox R4 at helping athletes recover from strenuous exercise, says a new study.
Intense endurance exercise reduces supply of stored glucose or glycogen, a key source of fuel for exercise, to the muscles.
The findings suggest that chocolate milk has an optimal ratio of carbohydrates to protein to help refuel tired muscles
To maximise glycogen replacement, sportsmen use to take a serving of carbohydrates within 30 minutes after a long and vigorous workout.
Common sports drinks such as Gatorade supply those carbohydrates, as well as fluids and electrolytes lost through sweat. More recent research suggests that adding protein to the mix may further hasten recovery, reported health portal WebMD.
The new study, published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism counter the notion that high-tech, expensive supplements are better than whole foods when it comes to athletic performance, it said.
A team of researchers led by Joel M. Stager of Indiana University found that milk contains key nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D, in quantities that sports drinks can't match.
In the study, nine male cyclists rode until their muscles were depleted of energy, then rested four hours and biked again until exhaustion.
During the rest period, the cyclists drank low-fat chocolate milk, Gatorade, or another sports drinks Endurox R4. During a second round of exercise, the cyclists who drank the chocolate milk were able to bike about 50 percent longer than those who drank Endurox, and about as long as those who drank the Gatorade.
The findings suggest that chocolate milk has an optimal ratio of carbohydrates to protein to help refuel tired muscles, Stager said.