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Chocolate Milk as Recovery Drink?

Old 08-16-09, 09:42 AM
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seawind161
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Chocolate Milk as Recovery Drink?

I've seen this recommended several times, here and elsewhere, but checking the label on commercial chocolate milk shows a high content of either HFCS or sugar.

Does the sugar or HFCS contribute to its usefulness as a recovery drink, or would it be better to drink a homemade version (milk + Hershey's syrup) and avoid some of the sweeteners?
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Old 08-16-09, 09:51 AM
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I'll be curious to see what the "experts" have to say on this. It's my belief that after an intense workout that has your body pretty badly broken down, getting any form of simple sugars with some protein and a bit of fat (ie choc milk) is 99% of what is needed for repair. You can go that extra percent by using higher quality sugars, organic protein, adding critical vitamins etc. Unless you're the elite of the elite though, a nice glass of HFCS choc milk is JUST FINE.
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Old 08-16-09, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by seawind161 View Post
I've seen this recommended several times, here and elsewhere, but checking the label on commercial chocolate milk shows a high content of either HFCS or sugar.

Does the sugar or HFCS contribute to its usefulness as a recovery drink, or would it be better to drink a homemade version (milk + Hershey's syrup) and avoid some of the sweeteners?
If you're healthy, in shape, and not an athlete performing on the level of Lance Armstrong or Michael Phelps (pool-Phelps, not car-Phelps), I don't think it matters. Even if you are, I still don't think it really matters.

Do whatever you want (whichever is cheaper, or which ever is easier, etc).

If you're fat like me and are trying to start with good habits and kick your daily McDonald's habit and lose 50 pounds, I'd go with whichever has less calories, not HFCS. Not sure how you can tell which has less HFCS anyway.

Edit to add: I forgot you were specifically asking about recovery drinks... In which case you may not necessarily want the one with less calories. *shrugs* I don't really think it matters.
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Old 08-16-09, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by palesaint View Post
I'll be curious to see what the "experts" have to say on this. It's my belief that after an intense workout that has your body pretty badly broken down, getting any form of simple sugars with some protein and a bit of fat (ie choc milk) is 99% of what is needed for repair. You can go that extra percent by using higher quality sugars, organic protein, adding critical vitamins etc. Unless you're the elite of the elite though, a nice glass of HFCS choc milk is JUST FINE.
Well, I'm certainly not the elite of the elite, probably more like borderline mediocre but I was thinking along the same lines. My guess is that the body will take what it can get. It's just that HFCS seems to be seen as the devil's elixer, so who knows?

I keep thinking about the arctic explorer I read about, who ate a stick of butter EVERY night before climbing into his sleeping bag for a restful night at -30F. Seems it was the only thing calorie-dense enough to keep him fueled through the night. And after years of that, his cholesterol was low-normal.
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Old 08-16-09, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by TryingMyBest View Post
<SNIP>
Do whatever you want (whichever is cheaper, or which ever is easier, etc).

If you're fat like me and are trying to start with good habits and kick your daily McDonald's habit and lose 50 pounds, I'd go with whichever has less calories, not HFCS. Not sure how you can tell which has less HFCS anyway.
One brand has only sugar, the other has only HFCS. Thanks to farm subsidies, the HFCS-sweetened brand is a good bit cheaper.

I've dropped 25 lbs in the past year, so calories are not a big concern, but staying healthy definitely is.
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Old 08-16-09, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by seawind161 View Post
I've dropped 25 lbs in the past year, so calories are not a big concern, but staying healthy definitely is.
Not much difference between HFCS and sugar as far as your health goes. Either will help replenish depleted glycogen stores. Of course, this is not necessary unless you are doing back to back long rides.
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Old 08-16-09, 10:53 AM
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I avoid HFCS if I have the choice (like buying Mexican Coke instead of American, etc.) I'd go the milk + syrup route if the syrup doesn't have HFCS.
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Old 08-16-09, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by turbo2L View Post
I avoid HFCS if I have the choice (like buying Mexican Coke instead of American, etc.) I'd go the milk + syrup route if the syrup doesn't have HFCS.
Spoilers for those who haven't seen the climax of Pixar's Ratatouille:

You remember in the end of the movie, when Anton Ego, masterfully voiced by Peter O'Toole, takes his first bite of his dish and is instantly taken back to his childhood?

Well mixing milk and Hershey's syrup is the same for me. The anticipation, the stirring with a spoon, and the payoff. I love it.
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Old 08-16-09, 11:23 AM
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a little Nestles Quik-- you don't have to make it real dark/sweet to taste fantastic after a long ride!
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Old 08-16-09, 12:22 PM
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I cannot comment on the HFCS vs. sugar part, but the nutrient ratio in chocolate milk certainly does make it one of the best recovery foods/drinks available. Make sure to get the full fat kind.
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Old 08-16-09, 09:46 PM
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if you like giving your body bio-engineered foods that your body doesn't know how to properly break down then go with the HFCS.

I avoid HFCS like the plague. It's in almost everything now...WTF!
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Old 08-16-09, 10:17 PM
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I know several randonneurs who get "a quart low" and fix it by drinking a quart of chocolate milk at a control. Sure doesn't do them any harm. They break it down just fine. Any of us would do well to hold their wheel. I tried it but am a little lactose intolerant, and it didn't sit well. At least I was cautious enough to try it at the last control.
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Old 08-17-09, 10:04 PM
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Chocolate milk is fine if you tolerate lactose well and it's sweetened with sugar - the mix is fairly close to what you'd get in a commercial energy drink.

HFCS is metabolized a bit different, and I don't think it's as good a choice as sugar. For me, it would kill my stomach - I can't tolerate any HFCS during or after exercise.
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Old 08-17-09, 10:27 PM
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Chocolate milk would be an Ok choice for recovery. Just make sure it doesn't have HFCS or fructose in it and is either low fat or non fat. Fructose is only good for restoring liver glycogen not muscle glycogen. HFCS is good for nothing except to lower the maufacturing price of gatorade and others. Drink it down within 30 mins of finishing your ride, then get a good nutritious meal with lean protein source, good quality carbs, and a little walnut oil or olive oil.
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Old 08-17-09, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Keith S View Post
Fructose is only good for restoring liver glycogen not muscle glycogen. HFCS is good for nothing except to lower the maufacturing price of gatorade and others.
Have you got any references to back up these statements?
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Old 08-18-09, 08:09 AM
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Read the label, some tricky brands are "choco-rific drink" and not chocolate milk. I throw a banana in the blender and add oberweis chocolate milk up to the 2 cup mark. And if you didn't know, there's a deposit for the oberweis bottles, return them to the store and they pay you, I think they just raised it to $1.50 per bottle.

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Old 08-18-09, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
Have you got any references to back up these statements?
Greg...below is a study that states fructose most beneficial for liver glycogen. Below that is an article that also states this. These are just 2 sources of many that state fructose is for liver glycogen.

As far as HFCS is concerned there are plenty of references out there just google high fructose corn syrup.


Int J Sports Med. 1998 Jun;19 Suppl 2:S142-5.Links
Glycogen resynthesis after exercise: effect of carbohydrate intake.
Ivy JL.

Department of Kinesiology, University of Texas, Austin 78712, USA. JohnIvy@mail.utexas.edu

To maximize glycogen resynthesis after exercise, a carbohydrate supplement in excess of 1.0 g x kg(-1) body wt should be consumed immediately after competition or a training bout. Continuation of supplementation every two hours will maintain a rapid rate of storage up to six hours post exercise. Supplements composed of glucose or glucose polymers are the most effective for replenishment of muscle glycogen, whereas fructose is most beneficial for the replenishment of liver glycogen. The addition of protein to a carbohydrate supplement may also increase the rate of glycogen storage due to the ability of protein and carbohydrate to act synergistically on insulin secretion.

https://www.momentummedia.com/article...refueltank.htm
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