I’ve been drinking chocolate milk as my post recovery workout drink since 1985. In Montreal, we would have a long commute home on the subway, and always grabbed a 500mL or 16oz carton of chocolate milk at the indoor kiosk. (Jamie, Sonya and Charles, are you reading this?)
Here is some current research that “proves” Milk is good for you (DISCLAIMER: I am not affiliated with any milk federation and have no position in any Dairy companies)
The research is from Med Sci Sports Exerc. Body Composition and Strength Changes in Women with Milk and Resistance Exercise by Josse AR, Tang JE, Tarnopolsky MA, Phillips SM.
20 young women were put into one of two groups with resistance training:
- a carbohydrate drink (though it would be interesting to do this study with a 4:1 carb:protein recovery drink)
- fat-free milk
Both groups drank 500mL of their drink after a workout, and then another 500mL an hour later. Yes, that’s a liter of milk per day! Total calories were about 400 extra per day for both groups, but the carbohydrate group didn’t have protein in their drink.
No side effects reported, even though the women trained with weights on machines (not free weights) 5 days a week for 12 weeks (similar to T&F athletes with 5 or 6 days of week of training). That’s a lot of volume for the average person.
Carbohydrate = 1.9 pounds
Milk = 1.1 pounds
Lean Mass Gain (mostly muscle mass, I assume):
Carbohydrate = 2.4 pounds
Milk = 4.2 pounds
Carbohydrate = 0.67 pounds
Milk = 3.5 pounds
It’s a pretty small sample pool.
It shows protein is important as well as carbs. So there’s probably some accuracy in choosing a 4:1 carb:protein post recovery workout drink.
It also shows resistance training is effective in fat loss compared to boring Cardio.
For more information on post workout recovery drinks, read Recovery Drinks with 4:1 Carbs Protein ratio, What is the Best Protein Recovery Drink for Sprinters?, and Nutrition for Recovery – Post Workout Drink Controversy which discusses the differences in carb:protein ratios.
Below is the summary of that research paper:
PURPOSE:: We aimed to determine whether women consuming fat free milk versus isoenergetic carbohydrate after resistance exercise would see augmented gains in lean mass and reductions in fat mass similar to what we observed in young men.
METHODS:: Young women were randomized to drink either fat-free milk (MILK: n=10; age=23.2+/-2.8y; BMI=26.2+/-4.2kg/m [mean+/-SD]) or isoenergetic carbohydrate (CON: n=10; age=22.4+/-2.4y; BMI=25.2+/-3.8kg/m) immediately post and 1h post-exercise (2 x 500ml). Subjects exercised 5d/wk for 12 wks. Body composition changes were measured by DXA, and subjects’ strength and fasting blood were measured pre- and post-training.
RESULTS:: CON gained weight post-training (CON: +0.86+/-0.4kg, P<0.05; MILK: +0.50+/-0.4kg, P=0.29). Lean mass increased with training in both groups (P< 0.01), with a greater net gain in MILK versus CON (1.9+/-0.2kg vs. 1.1 +/-0.2kg, respectively; P<0.01). Fat mass decreased with training in MILK only (-1.6+/- 0.4kg, P<0.01; CON: -0.3+/-0.3kg, P=0.41). Isotonic strength increased more in MILK than CON (P<0.05) for some exercises. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D increased in both groups but to a greater extent in MILK than CON (+6.5+/-1.1nM vs. +2.8+/-1.3nM, respectively; P<0.05), and parathyroid hormone decreased only in MILK (-1.2+/-0.2pM; P<0.01).
CONCLUSION:: Heavy, whole-body resistance exercise with the consumption of milk versus carbohydrate in the early post-exercise period resulted in greater muscle mass accretion, strength gains, fat mass loss, and a possible reduction in bone turnover in women after 12 wks. Our results, similar to those in men, highlight that milk is an effective drink to support favourable body composition changes in women with resistance training.