There was a study a while ago that examined the effects of chocolate milk on protein synthesis. It worked. It received press. People felt better about chocolate milk.
Here’s the problem. Whenever a study like this comes out, we focus on what was studied and forget everything else we already know. We know that eating protein increases protein synthesis after a workout. It’s common sense. We could also easily predict that compared to a drink containing only carbohydrate, and no protein, the chocolate milk will do better because it contains some protein. That’s what the study did, and that’s what it found.
The press for this study was pretty funny. Every health-related website wrote about it. They got views, traffic, sales, whatever. That’s how it works. They don’t care about the big picture, and probably cannot even see it. All they care about is getting your attention. I mean I do too, but my goal for you is to not develop ADHD when it comes to health and focus on what matters.
So what’s the truth?
The truth is that anything containing some protein, like lentils and rice, or a massive steak, would have increased protein synthesis in that study, especially when compared to a drink containing no protein. The reason they had that in the study is because it serves as a comparison. There is always a control group in a study like that.
What people do wrong is they read about the “science” and get excited, without realizing other possibilities or relying on common sense. And this is exactly why at universities alternative methods of understanding disease and treatment are not taught. They are not studied by “science” (I put that in quotes because most nutrition and medical research has significant bias and conflicts of interest).
Generations of medical wisdom were passed down by word of mouth and well as recorded, they do not make it to the forefront of consciousness because they do not serve the purpose of the mainstream. They don’t get funding from these corporations that cannot profit from them. But I digress.
Chocolate milk isn’t a big deal. There is no evidence to suggest it’s superior to other foods with protein after a workout. Sure it works. It has whey protein and electrolytes. But it does not deserve the press it got. This chocolate milk phenomenon illustrated to me some of the problems with finding health information on the internet. It’s just bland, superficial, and useless.
Here are my recommendations to stop being confused about stuff like this:
- Use your intuition. Next time a study like this comes out, ask yourself if you really want the chocolate milk, muscle milk, or whatever was studied. Don’t try it out just because you heard about it. ASK yourself first. This is what I have people do in my one-on-one intuitive eating coaching program. You will receive an answer from your body, appetite, and mind, about whether or not you want it. Then, try it out, and evaluate the response. That’s it. Do not jump on a bandwagon.
- Ask critical questions. Attempt to think like a scientist. Figure out what questions were answered by the research. Then think about what other related questions were not answered by the study. By doing this you can start to construct a bigger picture and develop a robust framework for understanding health. This will help you achieve balance.
That’s it! Hope this was helpful. Let me know what you think!