CHL Newsletter

Should You Drink Sports Drinks With or Without Protein?

You have probably heard a million different opinions about what the best sports drink is. The answer is: one with a carbohydrate-protein ratio of 3:1 according to researchers. Many brands of sports drinks pride themselves on achieving this ratio, but why spend your hard-earned dollars on these expensive beverages when a much cheaper, commonly overlooked product exists? That's right, a single eight-ounce glass of chocolate milk contains 25g of carbohydrates and 8g of protein!

In a study performed by the International Journal of Sports Nutrition, subjects performed three interval style, exhaustion workout sessions on separate days. Their recovery was then monitored. These subjects consumed either chocolate milk or a carbohydrate replacement fluid post-workout. After the recovery period was over, those who drank chocolate milk showed enhanced performance between the interval sessions, indicating that the carbohydrates in chocolate milk were doing a better job in recovery than the carbohydrates in the replacement beverage.

The 3:1 ratio ensures that your body receives just what it needs to recover from a cardio workout. After a workout, your body is most receptive to using amino acids to repair muscle tissue, while using carbohydrates to restore muscle glycogen. If glycogen is not replenished through consuming carbohydrates, the body resorts to using its protein stores, which reduces any muscle gain and basically defeats the purpose of working out.

So the carbohydrates in chocolate milk are needed to keep the body's current protein stores from shrinking. Another reason chocolate milk is so good after a workout is because cow's milk contains about 80% casein protein and 20% whey protein content. The reason this so good for your body is that whey protein is fast-acting, allowing amino acids to get right to the muscle tissue, while the casein protein is digested slower, providing a steady stream of amino acids over a lengthier period of time.

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