Literally every time I write about chocolate milk being a drink that is worth actively minimizing in your diet (it has the smallest amount you need to enjoy your life), someone is always beating me to tell me I'm wrong because it's nice for the recovery of exercise.
And I'm not sure we missed that when it came out, but last year, the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials that included chocolate milk and exercise recovery.
After excluding studies that did not meet their inclusion criteria, the (non-conflicting) authors remained with 12 studies, 2 with high quality, 9 with fair quality and 1 with low quality, with 11 data that could be extracted for at least one index. performance / recovery, including evaluations of perceptual effort, exhaustion time, heart rate, serum lactate and creatine kinase in serum.
Their general conclusion?
Systematic review and meta-analysis revealed that eating chocolate milk had no effect on any of these variables compared to placebo or other sports drinks.
Their most generous conclusion?
If they exclude a study from their analysis of the effect of chocolate milk in time on exhaustion, then chocolate milk was found to increase the time to exhaustion by 47 seconds over a placebo drink. Also, in another subgroup analysis, it was found that lactic acid was slightly attenuated in chocolate drinkers compared to placebo (a finding that did not exist in high quality RCT looking at the same).
(for a brief discussion on statistics and subgroup analysis, here's a post by epidemiologist @GidMK which concluded that chocolate milk is "not a fitness drink").
Glad to publish this post so I'll share the next time someone inevitably tries to suggest that chocolate milk is magical.