A new study has compared the consumption of whole grain cereal and milk with carbohydrate-based sports drinks and found the former may provide the same recovery and rehydration benefits after exercise.
Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin studied 12 trained cyclists and analyzed the physiological effects of different foods after a typical exercise session.
They found the replenishment of glycogen, a muscle fuel, was just as good after whole grain cereal consumption and that some aspects of protein synthesis were actually better than after sports drinks.
Exercise physiologist Lynne Kammer, who led the research team, says "The milk provides a source of easily digestible and high quality protein, which can promote protein synthesis and training adaptations, making this an attractive recovery option for those who refuel at home."
She adds that both cereal and non-fat milk are also a less expensive options than sports drinks.
Another recent study of college soccer players found that chocolate milk provides equal or superior muscle recovery, repair and body rehydration compared to high-carbohydrate beverages with the same amount of calories.
Milk also provides minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium that get depleted during physical activity.
The study was published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.