We’re not advocating for chocolate milk at every meal or snack break, but there is truth to it being beneficial for active adults. (Note the words active and adult; flavored milk is still a poor option for kids, or for everyday average consumption.) That’s because sugar is the primary fuel during intense exercise, so when you’ve depleted your body’s stored sugar, it’s a good idea to replace that sugar in preparation for your next workout. That’s common sense, right? Use it up; get a new supply.
Chocolate milk (or any flavored milk for that matter) does just that. Other than increasing your sugar levels, it provides some high-quality protein for muscle recovery. Researchers have found that it performs as well as, and sometimes even better than, scientifically-engineered recovery beverages. Of course, there’s the added advantage that it’s cheap, readily available, and it tastes great! Win-win.
There’s no question, most of us still take in way too much sugar in our regular diet. Consequently, there have been cultural shifts and initiatives to affect more diets across the board. This has led to milk getting a lot of attention in the news a few years back, and to actual drives by parents and dietitians to ban chocolate and strawberry-flavored milk from schools, arguing it’s no better than pop or sugary sport drinks. We agree with that. Kids really don’t need more sugar-sweetened drinks on top of all the other forms of sugar they may come across on an average day. But it still can benefit active adults, in moderation.
What you consume can help serve what you do. Your carbohydrate intake should be tailored to your activity level, and if you’re an athlete or weekend warrior, there’s no better time than the post-workout recovery period to grab a little chocolate milk.
Read more about the shift of chocolate milk marketing to active adults in USA Today.