Chocolate Milk: The New Sports Drink, or Chemical Cocktail?
Have you heard the recent buzz surrounding chocolate milk, and how it is now touted as the new sports drink? The belief is that chocolate milk is supposed to help speed your recovery from strenuous exercise by rebalancing electrolytes and replenishing glycogen to your muscles and liver. The notion comes from a study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, recently covered by CBS news. The study compared low-fat chocolate milk versus two other sports drinks with regard to recovery from strenuous activity.
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.
And guess who partially funded the study? Answer: The Dairy and Nutrition Council. What a coinkydink! Do you think they wasted any time using this to promote their product to the public? They were on it like stink on a monkey.
The Got Milk? campaign assembled NBA all-star Dwight Howard, tennis star Ana Ivanovic and teen soccer star Jozy Altidore to embark on a 25-city “Refuel Your School” tour to reward 25 high school athletic teams for choosing chocolate milk to refuel and rehydrate. The campaign also included a “Go Pro For a Day” sweepstakes, offering the opportunity to spend time with Howard, Ivanovic or Altidore, or prizes including Adidas gift cards. The Got Milk? campaign also aired commercials featuring the aforementioned all-stars promoting the new “revolutionary” sports drink.
I will be so bold to say that as much as the dairy industry would like you to believe they are contributing to the health of the planet, they are in fact contributing to just the opposite. They are all about their bottom dollar and not about “doing your body good.” They are well aware of the dangers of its products that they work so hard to promote to you, but they would never tell you that dairy is contributing to all chronic sickness and disease. While the popular belief is that you need dairy products in your diet to get calcium, vitamin D, and protein, you might be surprised to know that these claims are totally false.
I want you to read this article by Robert M. Kradjian, MD, Breast Surgery Chief Division of General Surgery, of Seton Medical Centre #302 in Daly City, CA. This article is a great summary that presents objective information that is well-reviewed and cited. Here are several excerpts from the article that you might find informative:
“Fifty years ago an average cow produced 2,000 pounds of milk per year. Today the top producers give 50,000 pounds! How was this accomplished? Drugs, antibiotics, hormones, forced feeding plans and specialized breeding; that’s how.”
“Any lactating mammal excretes toxins through her milk. This includes antibiotics, pesticides, chemicals and hormones. Also, all cows’ milk contains blood! The inspectors are simply asked to keep it under certain limits. You may be horrified to learn that the USDA allows milk to contain from one to one and a half million white blood cells per milliliter. (That’s only 1/30 of an ounce). If you don’t already know this, I’m sorry to tell you that another way to describe white cells where they don’t belong would be to call them pus cells.”
If those excerpts don’t make you think twice about putting ANY dairy in your face, ESPECIALLY YOUR CHILD’S, then the rest of the article will help…read it. Something you’ll find out is that dairy is laced with saturated fat (yes even so called “low fat” dairy) that promotes inflammation that leads to cardiovascular disease and chronic illness. Dairy products spike insulin levels that promote insulin resistance (pre-diabetes), weight gain, and chronic illness. There are proteins in milk such as bovine albumin and casein that create systemic inflammation in your body and contribute to certain autoimmune diseases. Dairy products are very acidic when put in your body, so to counteract and rebalance pH, there are intelligent mechanisms that your body uses, such as sequestering calcium and magnesium from your bones (can you say osteoporosis?).
So is low fat chocolate milk a great sports drink? Maybe when compared to two other beverages that are full of chemicals and sugar. My suggestion would be to always ask yourself “How would I do this as nature intended?” Your ancestors certainly didn’t drink cow’s milk or pound sugary beverages after they spent the day hunting and gathering. They were in far better shape then you or I, had extraordinarily strong teeth and bones, were generally more useful, and did not suffer from any chronic disease.
Next time you exert yourself, do your hormones a favor and reach for some fresh water and some quality carbs and protein found in fruits, veggies, and lean meats. Your performance will thank you, and so will your health and vitality.
Your health coach,
Dr. Ryan Hewitt