Chocolate milk could be this season's new sporting hero as the junior footy season kicks off across the country. A humble glass of chocolate milk looks to have the winning edge in fuelling active bodies, according to research published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.
Scientists from the University of Indiana had a group of highly trained sports men exercise to exhaustion. They were then given either chocolate milk or a commercial carbohydrate replacement drink and then exercised again four hours later. With chocolate milk, the men kept going for around 50 per cent longer than with the carbohydrate replacement sports drink.
A healthy mix of exercise and milk may also help the sports stars of tomorrow build bone and avoid fractures. Instead of sky-high marks, pinpoint punts or grueling tackles, a broken bone could be a disappointing reality for some Aussie kids, according to an Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report.
The new report says fractures are the most common sports injuries needing hospitalisation and playing football is the most likely way to get one. Worse still, once a child has one fracture they are more likely to suffer further fractures during growth.
According to New Zealand research, kids aged three to 13 years with a low intake of milk have been found to have a fracture risk 2.5 times higher than average . In another study, 18-year-old males with a low milk intake (less than one glass per day) had a six per cent lower hip bone density compared with those who drank three or more glasses of milk per day.
In a US study, a group of boys aged 13 to 17 years undertaking a 12 week exercise program consumed either an extra three servings of milk or the same amount of fruit juice each day . The milk drinkers gained twice as much bone mineral density as the juice group, which could help protect against bone fractures.
Dairy Australia dietitian Maree Garside said: "Milk contains an ideal mix of carbohydrate and protein to help refuel tired young bodies. Being about 90% water, it is ideal for re-hydration after a game of footy. It also contains the bone-building nutrients of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium.
"Plain and chocolate milks are easily available, don't cost a lot and are able to be packed in an esky or cooler bag. This research suggests that not only is milk a handy sports drink, but its nutrients also help build strong bones," Ms Garside said.