Milking the chocolate cow

There is no greater food than chocolate.  I’ll do just about anything for chocolate.  Perhaps the only thing that’s greater than chocolate itself, is some other item covered in chocolate.  Like chocolate donuts, chocolate covered raisins,  or chocolate lava cakes.  Then there is the liquid form of chocolate.  On the liquid side, all trust is placed with chocolate milk. (Actually, I have this Chocolate Zinfandel sauce I got in California…O.M.G..sooo good…anyway, back to chocolate milk)

If you like chocolate milk – I’ve got a deal for you.  You can drink more of it.  In fact, you can replace your after-workout recovery drink with it.  Cause it’s been scientifically proven to aide muscle recovery just as much as Gatorade.  A study published a while back in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism discusses the merits of chocolate milk over other sports recovery drinks.  Check this out:

“In the study, nine male cyclists rode until their muscles were depleted of energy, then rested four hours and biked again until exhaustion. During the rest period, the cyclists drank low-fat chocolate milk, Gatorade, or Endurox R4. During a second round of exercise, the cyclists who drank the chocolate milk were able to bike about 50% longer than those who drank Endurox, and about as long as those who drank the Gatorade.” (Article)

And it’s not just random scientists that’s drinking the stuff after workouts.  My former hometown University of Washington Huskies football team even uses it after every practice.  Each player is required to drink a small carton before leaving the field.

“The Huskies are experimenting with a new form of nutritional replacement following practices. Along with giving the usual water and sports drinks to rehydrate and replenish during grueling preseason practices, Washington’s football staff is requiring its players to drink a small carton of fat-free chocolate milk.

“It tastes good to me and, hey, if it’s nutritious and helps my body, I’m all for it,” wide receiver Cody Ellis said.” (Article)

So there ya have it – do you really need any more excuse now to down chocolate?

I’ve actually been using it since last summer and I’ve found it works pretty well.  While I can’t scientifically pinpoint chocolate milk as helping me personally to recover, I can say it seem to help…and heck – it certainly tastes better than some of the recovery drinks out there.


Speaking of which, I usually just make my own chocolate milk from Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup.  I recently noticed that they have a ‘Lite’ version that has 50% less calories.  I figured I’d give it a shot.  Based on my extensive testing (really, it was hard work!), it tastes the same.  The only interesting thing I’ve noticed is that it doesn’t seem to mix as easily as the regular stuff.  Meaning, it takes a bit more oomph to get it to mix ‘cleanly’ into the chocolate milk.  Ya know…like 4-5 more seconds of work.  Just in case you were curious about the difference between the two options.

So go forth and drink thy chocolate milk!


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  1. I am a big fan of chocolate milk after my workouts. It fills me up and provides the nutrients I need.

  2. I, too, reap the benefits of chocolate milk!!

  3. So I heard that chocolate milk is good because it has the right balance of carbs and protein that you need post workout. So in that case, might the 50% less sugar defeat the purpose?

    Anyway, I heart chocolate milk!

  4. rainmaker…..

    moooooving post…sorry for the pun…
    will give that a try. i always worry about chocolate triggering all the “eat everything in sight” feelings i have… but having said that, there are many days after I have had maybe a little too much chocolate and my workouts are really good. so go figure….

    i am always on the lookout for good nutritional information.
    you know..try not to let anything slip by pasteurize…sorry

  5. Chocolate milk is definitely better tasting and cheaper than Endurox R4, which I have been drinking.

    Of course, with the way the Huskies have been playing the last couple of years I am not so certain that their endorsement for the drink is actually a good thing.

  6. So sweet! I guess this means I gotta train more and race harder to earn my chocolate milk now :)

  7. SLB

    Correct me if I am wrong, it happens, but I believe it was premade chocolate milk not syrup added to milk?

    Personally I like SoySilk Chocolate milk, better for your cholesterol numbers.

    • ChaosXXII

      Regardless of gender, most athletes are trying to build or sustain muscle mass. Soy based products (particularly soy milk) promote the bodies production of estrogen in both men and women, which can promote fat retention and hinder muscle development. Before anyone asks, soy proteins have been processed to extract as much pure protein, and not all the other compounds…

  8. Yeah, like I need an excuse to consume anymore chocolate. ;)

    I ran across that study last year, right after I stocked up on Endurox. I’ve worked through both, but like SLB, I’m a fan of the Silk Soy Chocolate Milk.

    Now I just have to be able to link my nightly truffle with Goddess to recovery. Oh wait, no I don’t. I do it because it’s a great nightcap with Goddess!

  9. danielle has a point. it is the carb/protein ratio of choco milk that makes it so perfect, so low cal isn’t necessarily better. as long as it’s roughly 4:1 carbs to protein, you’re golden. i don’t do well with dairy, but choco soy milk is a great substitute and has the same ratio!!

    now about this choco zinfandel stuff?? YUMMMMMM….

  10. Kerry

    I love chocolate milk as a recovery. One reason is because the citric acid in gatorade can cause heart burn and the chocolate milk doesn’t do that!

    Yummy, I want a big glass right now!

  11. YUM! Hubby works for a creamery and we get the BEST chocolate milk free. We also get awesome ice cream…which is why I have to run.

  12. I wonder how does strawberry milk fare in comparison to chocolate milk. Both have similar nutrients based on the nutrition content.

  13. All good and well, but Hershey’s syrup isn’t chocolate. It’s chocolate flavoured. So the scientific study of the effects of real chocolate drinks on recovery isn’t valid when applied to Hershey’s.

  14. The goal of the syrup is actually just a carrier for sugars, which is a criticl element of the recovery equation.

    A bit more info here:

    link to

    And here:

    link to

    (Ignore the forum name, it’s just a handy place that quotes the study in depth)


  15. Chocolate milk is a great post-run recovery drink. I used it often after my long runs during the summer.

  16. Patel

    Well I’m not so sure that one study is enough to make that conclusion. The main reason I, like most athletes, take a recovery drink is to help myself recover for training the next day. If the cyclists were given four hours to recover before the next bout, that may not have been enough time to judge how well the respective drinks work. They might has well have given the cyclists a four hour recovery and caffeine shots. Those that took the shots may have ridden farther than anyone else. In short, I think you can’t conclude that chocolate milk or Gatorade are better than Endurox. I haven’t taken Endurox in a while since I’m waiting for the prices to come down but I when I had it for cross country and indoor track, I used Endurox after hard days (speed or long run) and chocolate milk on other days and I definitely noticed a difference in how I felt the next day. This study provides some evidence that chocolate milk or Gatorade may be better as drinks to prepare you for another training session the same day but not necessarily that they are better for recovering.

    • DC Rainmaker

      The most important aspect actually isn’t what you take – but how long the delay is. 15 minutes after the completion is about the max time-frame to get the benefits you need.

      The point being though (and other studies have shown this since 5 years ago when I posted this), is that the two are pretty much equal (Choc Milk and Endurox) from a recovery standpoint.

  17. I like chocolate too, but Hershey’s? Really? There is good sugar and there is bad sugar. I guess that says something about Gatorade, and Endurox R4. I wonder how that study would have turned out if they had compared drinking chocolate milk to eating bananas or drinking 100% fruit smoothies.

  18. Action Genntly

    What about Endurox R4 chocolate with milk instead of water? eh? eh?

  19. Mighty Mite

    What are your thoughts on the nutritional content differences between Hersey Syrup (high fructose corn syrup) versus chocolate milk with cane sugar? I found this however have not reviewed the references used: link to

    Have you seen any studies on the nutritional uptake differences and / or metabolic processing differences between HFCS and cane sugar? In the wee bit of reading I’ve done it seems that HFCS is something to avoid (run for the hills) and that ‘natural’ sugars are ‘better.’ One source (and please bear in mind I have done minimal research) is here: link to

    I’d be curious to read your thoughts and the information you may have seen. In the meantime, much to my partner’s chagrin, I have tossed the Hersey’s Syrup (gasp!) in lieu of organic, whole fat, chocolate milk. No HFCS, least amount of processing, and it is delicious. :)


    • I generally don’t worry about HFCS. Like anything else – moderation is key. While I’m sure I’d like to see it reduced in foods as well, it typically makes no impact on my day to day eating habits. For me I’m looking more closely at calories/fat/etc than anything else.

  20. JFK

    man… you live in France and are drinking crappy industrial chocolate syrup! beurk… I am sorry, but this is crap, full of corn fructose…. and it even doesn’t taste good!
    go to Ducasse chocolate store in Paris, buy this: link to
    mix with whole fat milk, and you will discover how milk chocolate should really taste.

    • Umm, I wrote this 7 years ago. I moved to France 2.5 years ago.

      But seriously, who on earth spends 18EUR per recovery drink?

    • Eli

      If there already have a SRM power meter, everything down to the bolts on their bike are carbon fiber or Ti, Super Record EPS, full assos kit, what are you supposed to spend your money on? ;)

    • JFK

      Depends if you are eating to live or live to eat ;-)
      18euros is for 300gr of chocolate… would last for a while. Even if you make it thick and intense in flavor, would be enough for 6-8 bowls.
      PS: why people are so cheap on what they eat and then spend a fortune on bike equipment… I would always privilege best food first, then equipment….

  21. Davesee

    Is there any method to how much chocolate milk to drink vs. how long/hard you’ve worked out? Most of the time I cycle an hour to hour and a half and am trying to figure out right balance to recover but not get too much to have sugars be turned into fat.

  22. Ray

    What about use of “premixed” or ready to drink chocolate vs using the syrup? Any difference?

  23. Chocolate, Strawberry whatever it don’t matter. Drink 1 pint of semi skimed milk (flavour it with whatever) and this is the perfect recovery drink.