Thursday, November 21, 2013

If it looks like a treat and it tastes like a treat then clearly it's a healthy recovery drink? ...wait what?

The alternate title to this post could be - why I will never be sponsored by Chocolate Milk. That's a shame because I know a few people on the team and they are great. Plus I would love to have somebody else pay a registration fee or two.

I'm a skeptic
If something seems to good to be true it probably is. It's my nature to challenge things that don't sound like they can/should be true. I then went on to study journalism which while it's hard to imagine by today's press I was taught to basically question everything.

I don't believe chocolate milk is a health food.
Gasp! What is this blasphemy!

If you watch any sports show including the recent broadcast of the Ironman World Championships you'll hear that chocolate milk is scientifically proven to be the best recovery drink out there. But I for one am not a believer.

Now, I'm not a doctor, not even a Phd, I'm not a trainer, I'm not a nutritionist I'm not an elite athlete. But in my house chocolate milk is a treat. It's a dessert.
I have this on my mind because in the last month I've had this discussion with a personal trainer, a coach and even a friend who is a Phd candidate in exercise physiology and all of them started by saying they thought it was a good recovery drink. This in my opinion is some serious brainwashing.

I don't often do research for a blog post but when I do my kids think it's delicious.
To make my point I bought some things that are nutritionally similar to chocolate milk. Take a look:

170 calories, 11 sugars, 2 protein, Milano cookies not known as health food.

160 calories, 60 from fat, 14 sugars, 1 protein Oreo cookies ... not known as health food.

170 calories, 45 from fat, 23 grams of sugar, 8 grams of protein ... chocolate milk a healthy food?
This is my favorite. Chocolate ice cream which is of course very similar to chocolate milk but find me anyone saying a chocolate milk shake is healthy. 140 calories, 16 sugars, 7 grams of fat and 3 grams of protein.

But there's science!
I used to work in a software company and we sponsored various speakers. One of the speakers had a saying which was,  "if you beat up numbers long enough you can get them to show anything. " His point was related to stock investing that you should look closely before letting somebody handle your hard-earned money (good advice) but it works well here too. Just because somebody says there is science doesn't mean that there's good science behind it. In fact because I'm a sceptic the more people quote science the more I doubt them. But that's because I'm a debbie doubter.

The main study behind chocolate milk being good for recovery was performed on 9 cyclists and showed that Gatorade was more effective as chocolate milk in recovery. Gatorade has no protein so I'm not sure where the legend of the marvelous 4:1 ratio came from but I think that's snake oil too.

Now as a person who once took a statistics class I would personally toss this whole thing out because there were only 9 participants. But I'm not a statistician either so read it yourself and do what you want with it.

For fun you can google chocolate milk myth - you'll find many articles better written than mine. 

But you need a recovery drink? Right?
For me I usually fuel with real food. I'm very lucky that I can usually come home and eat a meal and so that's what I do.

Today I'm actually trying a recovery drink (because I had one at home to try). Also my kitchen is kind of empty. I'll let you know what I think some other time. I will say this it is sadly not quite as delicious as chocolate milk or chocolate ice cream.
It is plenty sweet but not as yummy as chocolate milk.

Infint - 300 calories, 0 fat, 22 sugars, 15grams of protein. mixed with about 20 ounces of water.

So in the end... do what you want. But if you try and tell me that chocolate milk is health food I may cackle wildly and suggest we go to Dairy Queen for a blizzard instead.

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