Chocolate milk: The next great recovery drink

Sports nutrition is an industry that has experienced steady growth since Gatorade first came into use in the 1960s. Some teams have now rediscovered the benefits of chocolate milk as part of an athlete’s dietary regimen.

Most successful athletes and teams have specific nutritional plans formulated by dietitians, strength and conditioning coaches and a variety of other consultants. Typically there are pre-performance, performance and post-performance elements. The post-performance nourishment has become known as the recovery phase.

Each segment has a specific goal regarding replacement of fluids, electrolytes, fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Recovery supplements are specifically focused on rebuilding muscle. “The best options for a recovery snack are those that provide carbohydrates to replenish glycogen lost in muscles as well as protein and amino acids,” states Carrie Taylor, a registered dietitian from Big Y Foods.

“The recommended carbohydrate-to-protein ratio falls between 3:1 and 4:1. A glass of chocolate milk is ideal by providing a ratio of 3.5:1.”

More recently, several college and professional sports teams have begun to follow this trend by providing easy access to chillers that dispense chocolate milk. Locally, the Coast Guard Academy has also advocated for its athletes to use chocolate milk for recovery.

This trend has not been lost on dairy farmers. The Farmer’s Cow is a group of six family-owned dairy farms that have supported this movement by becoming involved in many athletic events throughout the region.

“The Farmer’s Cow Chocolate Milk combines 1 percent chocolate milk that is free of artificial hormones with calcium, vitamin D and protein,” according to Robin Chesmer its managing partner.

Chocolate milk can provide a less expensive and equally beneficial alternative to specialty bars and shakes.  

Dr. Alessi is a neurologist in Norwich and serves as an on-air contributor for ESPN. He is director of UConn NeuroSport and can be reached at