“High school football players, regardless of concussions, who drank Fifth Quarter Fresh chocolate milk during the season, showed positive results overall.” This statement appeared in a University of Maryland Industrial Partnerships Program press release, issued December 22, 2015, and references a study claiming that Fifth Quarter Fresh, a high-protein chocolate milk-based beverage, helped high school football players improve cognitive and motor function over the course of a season, even after experiencing concussions. Described on the Fifth Quarter Fresh website as “a fresh, natural high-performance post-workout recovery drink, made using milk from ‘super, natural’ cows, free of chemicals and preservatives,” it contains twenty grams of protein derived from whey and casein per serving. The ingredients are fat-free milk, sugar, nonfat milk, cocoa powder and carrageenan, with added vitamins A and D—in other words, hardly any fat at all to balance all the protein and carbohydrate. How different from the diets of the primitive Swiss athletes, who drank bowls of pure raw cream!
University officials were embarrassed when journalists asked to see the full study and officials could only supply a brief PowerPoint slide presentation that charted and graphed some of the data. Critics were astounded that the university could release a commercially-oriented press release without supporting data. “The University of Maryland has a burgeoning chocolate milk-concussion scandal on its hands,” wrote Jesse Singal, a senior editor at New York magazine. Barry Kosofsky, a pediatrics professor and concussion expert at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, called the PowerPoint “problematic” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/u-mds-credibility-questioned-after-news-release-touting-chocolate-milk/2016/01/31/86fe1a9e-c5d3-11e5-9693-933a4d31bcc8_story.html?utm_term=.4f201f11311c).
Fifth Quarter owner Richard Doak said he wanted to issue a press release in December because the movie Concussion was getting attention and was slated for release around Christmas.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
This article first appeared in the Fall 2016 issue of Wise Traditions, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation.