The Washington Huskies, the University of Washington’s football team, have incorporated chocolate milk into their daily practices. The team’s staff is requiring Huskie players to drink a carton of fat-free chocolate milk to replish the nutritients in their bodies after the grueling practices. Here’s hoping they have a winning season – thanks to chocolate milk!
The Huskies are experimenting with a new form of nutritional replacement following practices. Along with giving the usual water and sports drinks to rehydrate and replenish during grueling preseason practices, Washington’s football staff is requiring its players to drink a small carton of fat-free chocolate milk.
“This is just another way to facilitate post-exercise carbohydrate replenishment. This is another facet that we can use in our supplement program,” Washington director of sport performance Trent Greener said. “The research substantiates it and it’s something too that the kids are going to be compliant with.”
The decision to implement the program came after a study last fall from scientists at Indiana University that was published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism and was supported in part by the Dairy and Nutrition Council. The small study found no significant difference between using a fluid-replacement drink or chocolate milk for athletes following exercise, with dairy folks touting the nutritional benefits of drinking milk — chocolate or otherwise.
It was a limited study, but caught the eye of Greener and UW sports nutritionist Emily Edison. Along with athletic trainer Rob Scheidegger, the trio developed a plan to take the use of chocolate milk one step further, building upon a program already in place.
“We’ve always used Gatorade,” Scheidegger said. “But we’re always trying to find ways to get natural foods into people. So if we can find a natural product at the end of practice that aids with recovery, keeps them hydrated and gives them the energy that they need we’re going to go with something like that.”
So, following practices this month, while players are taking ice baths to cool their legs, they are required to drink a bottle of Gatorade and a carton of milk back-to-back before leaving the field. Greener said Washington isn’t alone in experimenting with chocolate milk, but wasn’t sure how extensive the use. The Huskies plan to work a similar regime into their regular season nutritional plans as well.
“It tastes good to me and, hey, if it’s nutritious and helps my body, I’m all for it,” wide receiver Cody Ellis said.
When asked recently what was the best part of being a Husky, center Juan Garcia had a unique answer: “I said ‘tradition and chocolate milk.”‘