After getting the beatdown from Jamie Oliver and school parents, chocolate milk has a few new reasons to refill its glass.
For one, long-distance runners have been finding that it's a very effective pick-me-up after races, replenishing enough for them to train the next day. The director of sports nutrition at the University of California at Davis, Liz Applegate, Ph.D., says, "a handful of research studies show that chocolate milk makes a great recovery drink, providing carbohydrates (more that plain milk) and protein." The extra carbs give energy, while the protein in milk has been proven to help muscle recovery after extreme exercise. "I think in years past, you would have been a little bit strange if you drank chocolate milk immediately after a run. But now it's absolutely mainstream," marathon runner Dan DiFonzo tells NPR.
Another potential win for the other milk is that studies are being conducted to see if cocoa may keep the body from breaking down fat and absorbing it. Scientists say it's too early to consider cocoa a weight-management tool, but count that as another sweet finding we're ready to embrace.
The third piece of good news is that a lighter chocolate milk, TruMoo, has been developed at the request of Penny McConnell, Fairfax County's director of food and nutrition services for its public schools. Schools are ground zero for the chocolate milk controversy, and while some policy-makers call chocolate milk "soda in drag," some parents were upset when it was booted from schools; they were afraid kids wouldn't get enough calcium without it.
To please everyone, McConnell talked to milk suppliers about creating a new chocolate milk. Traditional chocolate milk contains about 60 more calories than one percent milk. While 60 calories may not sound like a huge deal, it's all in the additional three teaspoons of refined sugar, which can add five pounds of body fat over the course of a year. McConnell's slimmer chocolate milk, however, has 30 less calories than traditional chocolate milk. Sounds like just the kind of compromise we'd like to pound a pitcher of.
Are you willing to accept chocolate milk back into your life? Or did you never abandon it?
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