Chocolate milk as a concussion elixir? That’s what high-protein chocolate milk Fifth Quarter Fresh touts.
Concussions in football players are a current topic of national conversation, largely due to the recent release of a feature film (“Concussion”) starring Will Smith, which tells the story of forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu, who was the first to publish research on the damaging neurological effects of concussions among football players.
On December 22, a press release titled “Concussion-Related Measures Improved in High School Football Players Who Drank New Chocolate Milk, UMD Study Shows” made the rounds.
Two interesting tidbits from that press release:\
- “Fifth Quarter Fresh, a new, high-protein chocolate milk, helped high school football players improve their cognitive and motor function over the course of a season, even after experiencing concussions, a new preliminary University of Maryland study shows.”
- “The University of Maryland study was made possible by the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program, which jointly funds commercial product development projects teaming Maryland companies with University of Maryland faculty.”
Oh, and by the way, “Fluid Motion LLC, which produces Fifth Quarter Fresh, is working with UMD faculty to study the performance of its milk against market-leading protein drinks.”
Health News Review, a health news watchdog, panned the press release.
Some highlights of their analysis:
- “The release says high school football players, including some who suffered concussions, who drank the milk improved their scores on a computer-based concussion evaluation, but the release not only doesn’t say how much improvement was seen, it doesn’t even say which of the 36 measurements in the test improved. The release highlights the protein, calcium and electrolyte content of the milk, without ever mentioning each serving also contains the equivalent of eight teaspoons of sugar. Perhaps the most worrisome aspect of this case is the status of the “study” it is based on. The study does not appear to have been independently reviewed or published.”
- “The release, which touts the protein, calcium and electrolyte content of the product, and notes that it is “fat-free”, should not have hidden the sugar content.”
- “Then there is the harm of believing that downing chocolate milk could protect a teenager’s brain from harmful effects of a concussion. Concussions in high school football games and practices are especially dangerous, sometimes even fatal, when a player gets hit a second time within a few days after an initial concussion. If a belief in protective effects of chocolate milk lead to teenagers being put back in the game too soon after a hard hit, the consequences could be devastating.”
- “The news release not only fails to explain the quality of the evidence, it misleads readers by highlighting claims that were not tested. For example, readers are led to believe that this chocolate milk product is somehow superior to other varieties of milk, but the study did not measure intake of other milk.”
We have a feeling this is far from over…