In the first-ever field-based study of high school athletes recovering post workout, chocolate milk outperformed a commercial sports drink by a net strength difference of 6.7%. The study was performed in 2018 and was initiated by Dairy MAX, a regional dairy council covering eight states, as part of research and science-based health initiatives.
The research, conducted in 2018 and published in the 2019 Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, showed that high school athletes drinking chocolate milk lifted 3.5% more than before while the adolescents drinking a commercial sports drink lifted 3.2% less than before.
Previous studies all looked at adults, but never at the nearly 8 million high school athletes in the nation – yet nutrition is especially important for these young athletes, whose bodies are still growing while also handling the heavy physical demands of athletics.
“What we really noticed was, that there was not a lot of research out there on adolescent recovery. Even though it’s the largest group of sports participants in the country, nobody was really looking at that,” said Andy Cheshire, Ph.D., a co-author on the study from the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education at The University of Texas at Austin.
HOW DID THE STUDY WORK?
In 2018, The Department of Kinesiology and Health Education at the University of Texas at Austin studied 103 high school athletes, including a mix of varsity and junior varsity male and female athletes with an average age of 15. The students trained four times per week for five weeks, with both free weights and field agility drills. They were randomly placed into one of two groups: those who would drink chocolate milk as a recovery drink, and those who would drink a leading sports beverage instead.
WHAT WERE THE RESULTS?
Chocolate milk was shown to have a more positive effect on strength development – demonstrating that it is an appropriate, welcomed post-exercise recovery drink for adolescents. It’s also particularly helpful to note that this compares results against sports drinks available in stores, demonstrating the difference between the two options for families.
WHAT IS THE KEY TAKEAWAY?
The carbohydrate-protein ratio in chocolate milk was shown to be more beneficial than carbohydrate-only sports drinks in improving athlete performance as part of a strength and speed training at a high-school level.
“While there has been a number of studies that show chocolate milk helps adults to recover following strenuous exercise and to improve strength in a lab setting, this study is the first to test the effectiveness of commercially-sold, readily-available chocolate milk to see if it can help adolescents to increase their strength as a part of their normal, Summer training – which is did.,” said John B. Bartholomew, co-author of the study and Department Chair, Department of Kinesiology and Health Education at The University of Texas at Austin.
This field-based study builds on the previous research of Dr. John Ivy, conducted with The University of Texas in 2011, on adult male and female athletes that revealed low-fat chocolate milk is an ideal post-workout recovery drink.
Chocolate milk is an accessible, affordable and delicious recovery option for adolescent athletes—and it may give them a strength edge due to the protein-carb ratio, which is optimal for recovery and rebuilding, said Dr. Lana Frantzen, Vice President of Health and Wellness at Dairy MAX. “Our dairy farm families are thrilled this research will provide more reasons to enjoy the natural goodness of dairy.”
About Dairy MAX
Founded more than 40 years ago, Dairy MAX is one of the leading regional dairy councils in America – representing more than 900 dairy farmers and serving communities in eight states: Colorado, southwest Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, western Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming. A nonprofit organization, Dairy MAX is part of a nationwide effort to promote American agriculture, support dairy farming and drive impact for every dairy farmer. The organization operates five audience outreach programs: business development, consumer marketing, health and wellness, industry image and relations and school marketing. For more information about Dairy MAX and its team of experts, visit DairyMAX.org. Dairy resources and delicious recipes are available at DairyDiscoveryZone.com.