Monday, March 18, 2013

Analysis of post-workout chocolate milks available in the UK

It's fairly well known that the right combination of carbohydrates and protein after a work out is important in getting the body back in shape and building muscle. And a common way of getting those nutrients is by drinking chocolate milk.

Working from a basis of a 5:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio with 15g of protein after a work out (i.e. 75g of carbohydrates) I wanted to find out which commonly available chocolate milk would be the best. Best being defined as have the closest possible ratio to the ideal 5:1 and low in fat.

I gathered all the nutrition data on 15 commonly available chocolate milks: Frijj Chocolate Milkshake, M&S Belgian Chocolate Milk, Tesco Chocolate Milk, Mars Refuel On The Go, Milky Way On The Go, Galaxy On The Go, Yazoo Chocolate Milkshake, Shaken Udder Chocolush Milkshake, Waitrose Belgian Chocolate Milk, Waitrose Essential Chocolate Milk, Daioni Chocolate Flavoured Organic Milk, Sainsbury's Fresh Chocolate Flavoured Milk, Galaxy Thick Shake, Galaxy Smooth Chocolate Milk and Mars Thick Shake. None of these are sold as workout recovery drinks.

For each, I calculated the carbs:protein ratio and the total fat per 100ml. The following scatter plot shows the results. Drinks in the upper right quadrant are 'better' (good carbs:protein ratio, low fat).


Although M&S, Waitrose and Shaken Udder drinks likely taste good they are stuck out on the left there because of their high fat content. The winner, at least for me, is Galaxy On The Go with a carbs:protein ratio of 4.4 and 1.2g of fat per 100ml. It comes in a 400ml bottle containing 312 kcal, 4.8g of fat, 62.8g of carbohydrates, and 14.8g of protein. It costs £1.29 per bottle.

A close second is Galaxy Chocolate Milk which comes in 1l bottles containing 790 kcal, 11g of fat, 136 g of carbohydrates, and 35g of protein.

PS A comment below asked for a fully labeled version of the chart. To get the full details here's the spreadsheet containing the source data I used.

4 comments:

Denny said...

I'd be interested to see a fully-labelled version of this, with the 'not quite as good but still not terrible' drinks also labelled up.

Richi Jennings said...

Why discard the full-fat drinks? Surely someone as smart as jgc hasn't been suckered into the "fat is bad" pseudo-science?

John Graham-Cumming said...

@Richi. The focus of this blog post is on post-workout drinks where I'm looking for a combination of carbohydrates and protein to help build muscle. I don't need the extra calories that the fat will provide.

And when looking at the 'fatty' chocolate milks they are all getting that fat from the milk itself, which means that most of the fat is saturated.

I agree that the evidence isn't in for saturated fat overall, but given that I'm interested (at my age) of reducing cardiovascular problems and that 2011 Cochrane review of fat intake pointed to a reduction in overall cardivascular problems when saturated fat was replaced by other fats (http://nutsci.org/2011/08/12/latest-cochrane-review-on-dietary-fats-and-cardiovascular-disease/) I'd rather not have a lot of saturates in the post-workout drink.

Duncan Cantor said...

Thanks for this. I'm new to the area and have just been trying to work out what the best post workout drink is... I got as far as Chocolate milk from another source and was left hanging so this post has done the hard work for me!