Chocolate milk doesn’t have to be full of calories and sugar to be enjoyable. In fact, low-fat chocolate milk can be a satisfying post-workout staple! Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services shares why you might want to reach for a cold glass of chocolate milk after your next trip to the gym.

The Research

 Science shows what you consume after exercise matters and can even aid in your success as an athlete. Chocolate milk has been shown to be an ideal post-workout snack. Aside from being a treat for our taste buds, low-fat chocolate milk provides nutritional benefits such as protein, vitamin D and calcium.

Research from The University of Texas at Austin found low-fat chocolate milk to be a healthier post-workout drink compared to other sports drinks or calorie-free beverages.

The study compared the physical recovery post-workout of 32 athletes over a 4.5 week period. Participants were split into three groups based on which drink they consumed one hour after a workout: low-fat chocolate milk, a carbohydrate-heavy sports drink or a calorie-free beverage.

Results showed the low-fat chocolate milk drinkers had improved body composition over the course of the study, gaining more lean muscle and losing more fat. Athletes who consumed the low-fat chocolate milk post-workout also performed better during their successive workouts.

Health Benefits

 What makes chocolate milk so special? Three reasons you should consume low-fat chocolate milk after an intense workout include:

  1. Carbohydrate-to-protein ratio: Low-fat chocolate milk has the ideal carbohydrate-to-protein ratio of 3:1, which will optimally replenish glycogen stores and build lean muscle post-workout.
  2. Electrolytes: Electrolytes are lost largely in sweat, especially during the hot summer months. Luckily, chocolate milk contains varying amounts of calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium (nutrients all lost in sweat) to replenish these essential nutrients.
  3. Hydration: Chocolate milk is 90 percent water, making it an excellent way to rehydrate after your workout.

What to Look For

 Below is a list of chocolate milk brands recommended by Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services. The nutrition facts are based on a one cup serving.

  • Horizon® Organic Low-Fat Chocolate Milk
    • 150 calories
    • 8 g protein
    • 23 g carbohydrates
    • 22 g sugar
    • 5 g saturated fat
  • TruMoo® Low-Fat Chocolate Milk
    • 140 calories
    • 8 g protein
    • 20 g carbohydrates
    • 18 g sugar
    • 2 g saturated fat
  • Great Value™ 1% Low-Fat Chocolate Milk
    • 140 calories
    • 8 g protein
    • 21 g carbohydrates
    • 18 g sugar
    • 5 g saturated fat
  • *Fairlife® Reduced-Fat Chocolate Milk
    • 140 calories
    • 13 g protein
    • 13 g carbohydrates
    • 12 g sugar
    • 3 g saturated fat

*Because Fairlife is ultra-filtered, it contains 50 percent more protein and 50 percent fewer carbs, making it a 1:1 carb to protein ratio.

Alternative milks such as almond milk or coconut milk have little protein and do not offer the same nutritional benefits mentioned above.

To schedule a one-on-one consultation with a registered dietitian nutritionist or for more information on Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit or call 972.560.2655.


Article provided by Adyson Mitchell, Dietetic Intern, and Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services.