Is Chocolate Milk Good For You? The Pros and Cons
While you may not have sipped on chocolate milk since your childhood days, this nostalgic drink may actually provide some health benefits. However, there are some downsides to consider — let’s take a look at the pros and cons.
Chocolate Milk is Rich in Nutrients
Chocolate milk provides similar nutrients as regular cow’s milk. One 8-ounce container of 1% chocolate milk contains high amounts of the minerals calcium (20% of your daily needs) and potassium (10%), as well as the B-vitamin riboflavin and vitamins A and D.
Chocolate Milk Aids Muscle Recovery After Exercise
Athletes and fitness enthusiasts often use chocolate milk to recover after a workout. This is because its composition replenishes the fluids, macronutrients, and micronutrients lost during exercise. It’s also a good source of leucine, an amino acid that increases muscle protein synthesis. But, other carb- and protein-rich beverages could provide the same benefits.
Chocolate Milk Supports Bone Health
The high calcium levels in chocolate milk help support bone health — similar to all dairy products. Studies link the consumption of milk and dairy products to a reduced risk of fractures and bone loss with age, like osteoporosis. However, there are other ways to get calcium besides dairy, like beans, nuts, seeds, seaweed, leafy greens, blackstrap molasses, and fortified tofu.
Chocolate Milk is High in Added Sugar
The biggest downside of chocolate milk is its high content of added sugar. An 8-ounce serving typically contains 11-17 grams of added sugar, about one-third of the recommended maximum amount for women. Plus, many brands use high-fructose corn syrup as their sugar source, which is linked to weight gain and type 2 diabetes. Consuming chocolate milk every day could potentially negate the beneficial effects of muscle recovery and bone health.
The Bottom Line
Having chocolate milk every once in a while after a strenuous workout won't affect your health. However, consuming it daily or in high amounts can increase your risk of weight gain and chronic diseases. Therefore, chocolate milk is best enjoyed in moderation.