The key to looking good is not just exercising anymore - it's what you drink after you finish working out. You could drink anything, but new research says low-fat chocolate milk is nature's recovery drink.
Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin funded by the USDA found that low-fat chocolate milk has the proteins and carbohydrates you need to increase muscle, improve performance, and be in better shape. Many other health drinks use additives, but certain low-fat chocolate milk is completely natural.
There has been a lot of hype about sports drinks and how they can improve performance. But, lead researcher, John L. Ivy, Ph.D from the University of Texas at Austin, says low-fat chocolate milk (LFCM) is even better. Ivy and colleagues performed three studies to compare the effects LFCM, carbohydrate sports drinks, and calorie-free beverages had on performance, fitness, and body composition in trained and untrained athletes.
The performance study included 10 trained cyclists who were required to ride for 40 kilometers alternating between moderate and high intensities.
The cyclists were then given a four-hour break where they would drink LFCM, carbohydrate sports drink, or a calorie-free beverage. After the recovery period they were required to ride the same distance with the same alternating intervals.
The researchers found that cyclists who drank LFCM during the recovery period were able to shave, on average, six minutes from their ride times.
The 4.5 week fitness study included 32 healthy untrained males and females who were required to cycle for one hour five times a week. After each cycle session, the participants would drink LFCM, carbohydrate sports drink or a calorie-free beverage.
The researchers measured aerobic fitness and adaptation. They found that participants who drank LCFM had twice the improvement in fitness and adaptation compared to the other groups.
The final study was on body composition with the same participants from the fitness study. Participants who drank LFCM gained more lean muscle and lost more fat after the 4.5 weeks compared to participants who drank the carbohydrate sports drink.
Although the researchers are unsure of the mechanisms involved with LFCM, Ivy says that it has natural nutrients including high-quality protein, carbohydrates, electrolytes and bone-building nutrients that deliver its advantage.