Though I fully appreciate the benefits of healthy eating habits, I have to admit that good food choices sometimes leave something to be desired in the way of taste. Naturally, I was very excited to learn that chocolate milk may have a place in my eating plan. What about me you ask…you’re in luck.
Other than breakfast, your post-workout snack may be the most important meal choice of the day. When you exercise your primary source of energy is glycogen. Intense exercise depletes your muscles of stored glycogen. It is important to replenish your glycogen stores within the proper window of time (30 to 60 minutes following your workout) or the resynthesis will be ineffective.
Studies support that a meal with a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein is ideal for glycogen resynthesis. The carbs will cause an insulin response which in turn will make a more efficient transport process for the protein. Also, your insulin receptors are most sensitive immediately following an exercise bout.
As it turns out, chocolate milk has the ideal ratio of carbs to protein for recovery. The simple sugars from the chocolate spike your insulin and the protein from the milk aids in muscle recovery. I guess six time Olympic gold medalist, Michael Phelps, was not crazy when he stated that he drank Carnation Instant Breakfast between races!
I should mention that drinking sugary drinks any time other than post-workout is a bad idea (especially for weight loss). The insulin spike that you are causing with the chocolate is exactly what you want to avoid when you are trying to control cholesterol, weight and blood sugar levels.
I have found a brand of milk that I really like. Horizon brand reduced fat organic milk is cheaper, tastes better and has a lot less ingredients than the protein shakes commonly consumed. The best part is that you can find it on your local grocery store shelves!