Love it, Like it, Hate it: Chocolate Milk

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Chocolate milk is promoted as the ideal all-natural sports drink, perfect for muscle recovery after a tough workout, but the reality is that most of us just don’t need so much sugar.  Today we’re Getting the Skinny with Molly on why chocolate milk is touted as great option for athletes, and which varieties are really best for you.


Why regular chocolate milk enhances recovery after intense and/or extended endurance workout:

  • Approximately 4:1 carb:protein ratio, effective in replenishing glycogen stores
  • Good source of electrolyte potassium, calcium, sodium

Per 8 ounces regular chocolate milk:

  • 400 mg potassium (approximately same as banana; 13x potassium of many sports drinks)
  • 300 mg calcium (compared to none in most regular sports drinks)
  • 140 mg sodium (compared to 108 mg in most regular sports drinks)
  • 26-32 grams carbs (mostly sugar) & 8 grams protein

The issue:  Most of us aren’t working out long enough (90-120+ minutes) or intensely enough to need so much sugar, so we’re essentially adding three-quarters of a day’s worth of sugar in every cup!

The solution:  Lower-sugar alternatives that still provide a chocolate-y flavor without the sugary calories.



Blue Diamond Unsweetened Chocolate Almond Milk (on grocery aisle, not refrigerated dairy case)

  • Per cup: 45 calories – 3 grams carbs – 0 sugar – 2 grams protein
  • Electrolytes: 170 mg sodium – 210 mg potassium – 450 mg calcium
  • Water, almonds, calcium carbonate, cocoa, sea salt, minerals + vitamins



Silk Chocolate Soymilk

  • Per cup: 150 calories – 19 grams carbs – 15 grams sugar (14 grams added sugar) – 9 grams protein
  • Electrolytes: 85 mg sodium – 520 mg potassium – 450 mg calcium
  • Water, almonds, calcium carbonate, cocoa, sea salt, minerals + vitamins

Fairlife Reduced Fat Chocolate Milk

  • Per cup: 140 calories – 13 grams carbs – 12 grams sugar (approx. 4 grams added sugar) – 13 grams protein
  • Electrolytes: 280 mg sodium, 550 mg potassium – 400 mg calcium
  • Reduced fat ultra-filtered milk, sugar, cocoa, lactase enzyme, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, minerals + vitamins



HATE IT!  {Note:  All of these ‘Hate it’ options are ‘Love it’ options when used for recovery}

Silk Chocolate Almond Milk

  • Per cup: 100 calories – 19 grams carbs – 17 grams sugar (all is added sugar) – 1 gram protein
  • Electrolytes: 230 mg sodium, 130 mg potassium – 450 mg calcium
  • almonds, sugar, cocoa, minerals + vitamins

Horizon PROTEIN Chocolate Milk                                         

  • Per cup: 190 calories – 24 grams carbs – 22 grams sugar (10 grams added sugar) – 12 grams protein
  • Electrolytes: 180 mg sodium, 490 mg potassium 380 mg calcium
  • Reduced fat milk, sugar, protein concentrate, cocoa, minerals + vitamins

Promised Land Midnight Chocolate Milk

  • Per cup: 260 calories – 33 grams carbs – 31 grams sugar (20 grams added sugar) – 9 grams protein
  • Electrolytes: 290 mg sodium, 420 mg potassium – 300 mg calcium
  • Milk, sugar, cocoa, guar gum, carrageenan



Want more from Molly?  Click here to sign up for Nutrition Bites, her weekly e-newsletter with links to her Get the Skinny TV segments here on WGNO, and her weekly column in|The Times-Picayune!   And you can follow Molly on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram:  @MollyKimballRD


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