Chocolate Milk: It’s More Than Just a Kid’s Drink

Photo Courtesy: Instagram @swimhardy

By Dylan Evangelista, Swimming World College Intern

There are specific reasons why competitive swimmers and athletes alike incorporate chocolate milk into their daily diet, and it’s not just due to the delicious taste.

Chocolate milk has become an essential part to swimmer’s success in the pool in the way that it acts as both a performance enhancer, and a recovery aid. The basis in this comes from the idea that chocolate milk has an ideal ratio of carbs to protein, which helps delver protein to damaged muscle tissue.

Photo Courtesy: IU Research

As the athletic world has become more and more competitive, the standards of training have risen on a global scale. In today’s world it is fairly common for athletes to train twice a day, leaving a very small window for recovery time.

If you can’t train well, you can’t perform well. The need for an athlete to recover nutritionally has grown immensely with the changes made in training intensity.

Joel Stager, lead researcher at the School of Public Health at Indiana University has studied nutrition treatments for swimmers while utilizing water, sports drinks, and chocolate milk. Stager explained that,

“Consistently, the chocolate milk treatments always outperformed the other two treatments. The differences between the treatments for say a 200 yard swim is about two seconds, which is actually pretty large when you’re talking about competitive swimming.”

Aside from the fact that the carbohydrate to protein ratio is ideal, chocolate milk is also palatable, easy for the body to digest and absorb, and it contains the nutrients the muscles need in order to exercise.

While recovery is important in all aspects of exercise, it is even more so with a workout like swimming.

Swimming is an anaerobic activity, meaning that there is a constant absence of oxygen to the muscles. While in the pool, your body is pulling resources from itself in order to perform what you’re asking it to do. Your muscles are doing all kinds of work to propel you through the water.

It’s common knowledge to understand that your body needs recovery help after a workout, especially if you’re going to work out again the same day. Your muscles are worn out from constant activity and a lack of oxygen, and they need protein to rebuild.

From a more scientific standpoint, the glycogen (energy) in your muscles needs to be filled back up. The sodium, potassium and water you lost while you were sweating during your workout needs to be replenished as well.

So why chocolate milk?

The reason chocolate milk has grown to become such a popular and powerful recovery drink for elite swimmers and other athletes is that it provides all of the components mentioned above. For example, 8 ounces of Borden’s 1% chocolate milk contains:

  • 210 mg of sodium
  • 350 mg of potassium
  • 27 g of carbohydrates
  • 8 g of protein

These are four crucial things your body needs to recover properly, and they are all conveniently jam-packed into chocolate milk.

Some athletes express concern that constant consumption of chocolate milk is too fattening and too sugary. While you don’t want to to over-consume, 8-12 ounces post workout is a good recovery aid.

It also isn’t as important as most people would assume to drink low fat chocolate milk. An exercise like swimming burns a lot of calories, and the post workout period is a great time to consume more calories in order to recover.

Many athletes will turn to supplements and shakes/powders for quick recovery of their muscles, but a well-balanced diet is usually sufficient.

No supplements work as well as a steady diet of minimally processed foods. All the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fiber you need can be obtained through a healthy diet that incorporates a good balance of healthy fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and of course chocolate milk.

If you don’t already, try incorporating chocolate milk into your post workout diet to help aid in injury prevention, recovery, and your overall athletic success!

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff. All swimming and dryland training and instruction should be performed under the supervision of a qualified coach or instructor, and in circumstances that ensure the safety of participants.

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Sarah Jane Milne
6 years ago

Travis Kiser ?

Rocio Tomas
6 years ago

Felipe Ramirez

Brenda Dayton
6 years ago

Isabella Cesareo

Emma Bennett
6 years ago

Austin Sizemore

Hilary Dambach
6 years ago

What do you suggest if you gave a life threatening dairy allergy ??

Noelle Tolbert
6 years ago
Reply to  Hilary Dambach

chocolate almond or soy milk

Heather Roberts Houston
Reply to  Hilary Dambach

Stay away from the soy!!! Unhealthy plant oestrogen- not good for women especially and nearly all soy is GMO. ?

Hilary Dambach
6 years ago
Reply to  Hilary Dambach

Heather Roberts Houston actually we do Ripple Milk. Never tried the chocolate will now get it for my daughter to try this. I was actually trying to make a point. As they constantly suggest milk ( not the first article ) no one ever takes into consideration kids with allergies. So here you a a swimmer who wants to do everything right and they can’t due to the allergy.

Jenny Wolff
6 years ago

Nick wolff

Rachel Richardson
6 years ago

Toni Richardson Lawson

Mikkel Møller Jensen
6 years ago

Mikkel Samsøe Borch det er skide godt ?

David Jackson
6 years ago

Jennifer Gwynn

Liz Dempsey
6 years ago

Katie Dempsey good news for you

Hannah Davies
6 years ago

Amy Davies

Anita Price
6 years ago

Jack Price

Jodie Maguire
6 years ago

Lauren Maguire your dream has come true!

Fleur Parker
6 years ago

Michelle Matson as you can imagine you were the first person I thought of!!!! ? xxxxx

Emile Linde
6 years ago

Lu-Mae laai in daai Steri Stumpies ?

Priscilla Tobias
6 years ago

Sydney Tobias

Stephen Armstrong
6 years ago

Bailey Armstrong

Luisa Gurrieri
6 years ago

Jay there’s method to my madness. D will have to embrace a live of science now it’s giving choccie milk the thumbs up

Julia Seamons
6 years ago

Cameron Seyfang

Yehia Emad Eldin Sobhy

Youssef Aboelsoud

Zoe Grace Leadbetter
6 years ago

Zoe McIlmurray

Jenny Cmc
6 years ago

Chris McCauley

Anna Griffin
6 years ago

Eliza Brebner Griffin, Katie Brebner Griffin, another reason to drink it.

Katie Brebner Griffin
6 years ago
Reply to  Anna Griffin


Allan Schiby
6 years ago

Thomas Schiby !!!

Richard Watts
6 years ago

At my rugby club we have always preferred Guinness but will have to move with the times. Chocolate flavoured Guinness now that sounds a good idea.

Francis Michael Pitchford

+ pies

Micheal Jason Babich
6 years ago

Great advertising for the dairy industry.

Marius Eliassen
6 years ago

Hans-André Philip Erik Henrik

Philip Budd
6 years ago

haha kids drink, IT’S THE JUICE OF GODS

Marius Eliassen
6 years ago


Hans-André Pedersen
6 years ago

Nå vil jeg ha sjokolademelk….

Majbritt Hørning Kristensen

Jette Marie Kragh
Drengene skal jo have deres kakaomælk?

Kristen Straszacker
6 years ago

Mandy Spaight Straszacker

Raha Esmaeillou
6 years ago

We love milk! Grown ups drink it too

Christina Wijkhuijs
6 years ago

Josien Wijkhuijs ?

Tessa Hennessy
6 years ago

Aoife Hennessy Brian Hennessy

Chrisw Stanley
6 years ago

I was raised on it and continued it throughout my adult life.

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