A sports drink can defined as a beverage that helps rehydrate and replenish electrolytes, sugar and other nutrients, which are used up after strenuous exercise, training or competition. They are marketed as a quick and convenient option for rehydration, boosting sports performance and aiding muscle recovery. They are formulated to supply fluid quickly and maintain the body’s blood glucose levels. These drinks are often isotonic— in balance with the body’s own fluid, containing the same number of dissolved solids as the blood. They contain low amounts of sugar as high amounts (of sugar) would reduce the body’s ability to absorb this fluid quickly
People spend a lot of money on sports drink—over $4 billion every year—because they believe the marketing hype that expensive sports drinks are superior to cheaper alternatives. Anyone who spends money on sports drinks is wasting their money. Why? Because one of the best post-exercise recovery drinks is chocolate milk.
Several studies presented at the American College of Sports Medicine conference in June found chocolate milk to be superior to specially designed carbohydrate sports drinks. Specifically, researchers found that fat free chocolate milk is better at building muscle, replenishing muscle fuel, maintaining lean muscle, and improving subsequent exercise performance.
What makes chocolate milk so special? The combination of carbs and protein already in chocolate milk match the ratio found (by the researchers) to be the most beneficial for recovery. Milk is naturally nutrient-rich—it has additional nutrients not found in most sports drinks. Milk also provides fluids for rehydration and electrolytes, including calcium, potassium, and magnesium, lost in sweat. In addition, the protein in milk helps build lean muscle.
Chocolate milk is a lot less expensive than sports drinks, and outperforms them in many areas. The next time you buy a sports drink, think about this—chocolate milk is just as effective, it is cheaper, and in my opinion, it tastes a lot better than sports drinks.