Potential Risks Of Chocolate Milk
Compared to regular milk, chocolate milk does contain added sugars and added calories, both of which can contribute to obesity, which contributes to many different medical issues. So it’s not the best choice if you’re trying to keep your sugar and calories in-check.
Also, if your doctor has told you that you need more calcium, it’s important to know that oxalic acid, a compound that occurs naturally in cocoa, can make it harder for your body to absorb calcium.
And of course, those with milk allergies or lactose intolerance may not be able to digest chocolate milk without discomfort.
Should Children Drink Chocolate Milk
Are you wondering if its okay for your child to drink chocolate milk? If your child enjoys drinking chocolate milk, rest easy. Drinking real dairy milk, including chocolate milk, provides many health benefits to kids and can be a part of a healthy diet for them. In fact, taking away the option of flavored milk can actually do more harm than good if it means they stop drinking milk altogether.
Keep reading for answers to your questions about chocolate and other flavored milk, including the scoop on sugar.
Seriousness Of Childhood Obesity
- More than one out of every three children and teens in the US is overweight or obese
- Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in teens over the past 30 years
- Diabetes, heart disease and cancer are among the disease risks of early life obesity. Burden of disease means more suffering and illness day to day
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In Long Fight Over School Chocolate Milk Perhaps A Whole New Flavor
“I don’t find it necessary to serve children chocolate milk,” she says, “simply because of the sugar.”
“Chocolate milk is a treat,” she adds, to be seen more as candy than a regular beverage. “You don’t need flavored milk. It’s just a response, I believe, to the market. And there are fellow food service directors around the country who feel the same way I do.”
At a school food conference at Harvard, where I asked Wiggins about chocolate milk, the information table also featured National Dairy Council flyers with headlines like “Top Five Reasons to Raise Your Hand for Flavored Milk.”
The federal Department of Agriculture, under President Trump, is clearly in favor of flavored milks: It announced last month that it would ease the requirement that they be fat-free, and allow schools to serve them with 1 percent fat, as part of the plan to “make school meals great again.”
The chocolate milk fight has spread even into pediatrics. In late 2015, three professors published a letter of protest in the journal Pediatrics against an American Academy of Pediatrics school snack-and-drink policy that supported flavored milks.
Should School Cafeterias Serve Chocolate Milk
Should school cafeterias serve chocolate milk? That question is once again making headlines, as the New York Public School district considers banning the beverage.
2 Works for You is exploring multiple sides of the topic.
Dairy Industry says benefits of milk outweigh sugar concerns
The dairy industry supports keeping both milk and chocolate milk in schools, saying the nutritional benefits outweigh the small amount of added sugar.
What we see is that when flavored milk is removed from schools kids tend to take less milk, they tend to drink less, they tend to waste more milk, and a lot of times they dont participate in the school meal program as much, said Jenna Allen, a spokeswoman for Dairy Max, and a registered dietitian.
Allen says children need essential nutrients from milk, like calcium and potassium, and they get the same nutrients in chocolate milk.
The American Heart association recommends children under 18 get no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day.
A dietitian’s viewpoint
Carly Chason, a registered dietitian, said she understands why schools may be conflicted about eliminating chocolate milk.
There are a lot of things that go into making those school meals healthy and balanced, accessible for kids, and things they want to eat, she said.
Even so, she agrees that kids don’t need more sugar in their diets.
What do parents think?
Among parents, opinions vary, but one parent and running coach said shes okay with everything in moderation.
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Should Chocolate Milk Be Served In Schools
As you probably know by now, Im a mom to two wonderful boys and while I enjoy implementing healthy eating at home, its also important to me that they have healthy options at school too. And they agree. Just before the holidays , an important sugar-related topic was discussed at one of our local elementary schools where 5th graders held an informative debate.
Should chocolate milk be served in schools? This seemingly simple question has sparked a lot of controversy in recent years. A few school districts across the US have voted to ban chocolate milk, however in most schools it remains a staple where 70% of milk consumed in schools is flavored and low-fat chocolate is the favorite choice. The chocolate milk brands served in schools vary, but federal criteria dictate it must be low fat. Recently, the state of Connecticut almost outlawed chocolate milk from all schools and would have become the first to pass this state-wide. While the CT House & Senate voted to ban chocolate milk, the Governor and self-proclaimed chocolate milk lover, vetoed the bill.
Whats Wrong With Chocolate Milk
The biggest issue that both sides agreed with, is added sugar. This is indeed no laughing matter. Lets break down the math to reveal just why, in my opinion, chocolate milk has too much added sugars to be considered a healthy choice for kids at school. Especially since research shows that Fruits + Veggies Sugary Processed Foods = Better Grades, Better Behavior for school children.
Nutrition Facts per 8 oz of Low-Fat Chocolate Milk
- 24 grams total sugar
- Half is added sugars = 12 grams
- The other half is natural sugar from lactose found in milk
Here are foods that also contain 12 grams of added sugars that would clearly not be seen as healthy for school kids:
- 1 serving/oz of M& Ms
- 4 oz of Coca-Cola
- 1 serving/oz of Gummy Bears
- 5 Hershey Kisses
The Against Chocolate Milk team demonstrated the absurd amount of added sugars a student could consume from choosing this type of milk just three days a week for a school year, with a big jar of Jolly Ranchers. Coopers argument was, If we are allowed to have this sugar at school Id pick the candy over chocolate milk any day!
- 1 serving of vanilla cake with frosting has the same sugar as 8 oz of chocolate milk. We are not allowed to celebrate birthdays in schools with cake anymore because its unhealthy and food allergies, why can we serve the same amount of sugar to them every day in beverage form?
What are the Caloric Ramifications of Choosing Extra Sugar from Chocolate vs. Unflavored Milk?
Health District: Chocolate Milk In Schools Ok
The debate over the whether to serve chocolate milk in school is hardly new.
A recent recommendation by the Kitsap Public Health District’s top health official affirms the position that the nutritional benefits of flavored milk outweigh the risks of the added sugar.
Dr. Susan Turner, health officer for the agency, reviewed scientific studies and statements by national health experts and concluded, “The current state of science does not support eliminating chocolate milk from school lunches.”
Turner, in a report to the Kitsap Public Health Board earlier this month, said she was spurred to review research on chocolate milk in schools by comments from parent Amber Ellis.
Ellis, formerly of Bremerton, had urged the health board in June to pressure school districts to remove excess sugar from lunches, primarily in the form of chocolate milk. Ellis was particularly concerned that low-income students, who typically eat both lunch and breakfast at school, are at greater risk of obesity and other health impacts from added sugar in their diets. Ellis also spoke to the Bremerton school board, which took no action to change its policy.
“Our position continues to be that the benefits of chocolate milk far outweigh the negatives, particularly in high poverty areas like ours,” spokeswoman Patty Glaser said.
While some districts around the country have gone the plain-milk-only route, Kitsap County school meal programs universally feature chocolate milk.
May Contribute To Heart Disease
Chocolate milk is high in saturated fat and added sugars, which may negatively impact heart health.
For example, research shows that consuming 1721% of calories from added sugar may increase your risk of heart disease by 38%, compared to consuming less than 8% of calories from added sugar .
Whats more, added sugar has been found to increase heart disease risk in children through increasing calorie intake and body fat. It also elevates heart disease risk factors, such as LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels .
Though some scientists have started questioning the role of saturated fat in heart disease, most experts agree that diets high in this type of fat increase risk factors for heart disease. .
Additionally, research shows that replacing saturated fat with other fats is likely beneficial to the health of your heart .
For example, a 20-year study reported that replacing fat from dairy with an equivalent amount of polyunsaturated fat found in foods like fatty fish and nuts reduced heart disease risk by 24% .
Similarly, another large study observed that replacing as little as 1% of calories from saturated fats by the same amount of calories from unsaturated fats, whole grains, or plant proteins may decrease heart disease risk by 58% .
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Effect Of Removing Chocolate Milk On Milk And Nutrient Intake Among Urban Secondary School Students
ORIGINAL RESEARCH â Volume 17 â August 27, 2020
Hannah R. Thompson, PhD, MPH1 Lorrene Ritchie, PhD, RD2 Esther Park, MPH, RD1 Kristine A. Madsen, MD, MPH1 Wendi Gosliner, DrPH, RD2
Suggested citation for this article: Thompson HR, Ritchie L, Park E, Madsen KA, Gosliner W. Effect of Removing Chocolate Milk on Milk and Nutrient Intake Among Urban Secondary School Students. Prev Chronic Dis 2020 17:200033. DOI: .
What is already known about this subject?
Removing sweetened, flavored milk from school cafeterias is a popular but somewhat controversial intervention to reduce students consumption of added sugars. However, limited rigorous evidence on the practice exists.
What is added by this report?
We examined the effect of removing chocolate milk from middle and high school cafeterias in a diverse, low-income school district.
What are the implications for public health practice?
Although average milk consumption declined slightly across the student population, related calcium, protein, and vitamin D consumption remained stable, and consumption of added sugars significantly decreased. Removing chocolate milk from secondary school cafeterias is an easily scalable and potentially low-cost intervention to support healthier student beverage consumption.
Chocolate Milk Nutrition Information
Chocolate milk ticks the comfort food box, making it pretty hard to resist. Here’s what you need to know about chocolate milk’s nutrition quotient and how to include it in your diet. While it’s not the healthiest drink because of its sugar content, chocolate milk has some benefits to offer.
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Fast Facts On Sugar Content
- Men should eat no more than 9 teaspoons of sugar per day and women no more than 6.
- Chocolate bars, sweet cereals, and soda often contain high levels of added sugar.
- Fruits contain natural sugars that are less harmful than the sugar found in processed food.
- Regularly consuming too much sugar increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that belongs to a class of chemically related sweet-tasting substances. It is available in many different forms.
The three main types of sugar are sucrose, lactose, and fructose.
Even though cells need glucose to survive, consuming too much can cause health problems.
Being aware of the existing and added sugar content in foods and drinks is vital to overall health. So many products have sugar added to them that, in the modern food market, people must take extra steps to avoid consuming more than the recommended amount.
In March 2015, the World Health Organization published new guidelines recommending that adults and children reduce their intake of added sugars to less than 10 percent of their total energy intake. A further reduction to below 5 percent is associated with additional health benefits.
Drinking fizzy, sugary beverages can end up contributing most of your daily sugar intake.
Beneficial To Bone Health
Chocolate milk is rich in calcium the main mineral present in your bones.
Dairy is the biggest source of dietary calcium in the United States and Canada providing around 72% of the average persons daily calcium intake. The remainder comes from vegetables, grains, legumes, fruit, meat, poultry, fish, and eggs .
The calcium in dairy is easily absorbable. Researchers believe this may be the main reason why dairy is consistently linked to the development of strong bones in children and adolescents .
Milk is also rich in protein and phosphorus, as well as often fortified with vitamin D all of which are additional nutrients important for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth (
That said, these nutrients arent exclusive to dairy. Other calcium-rich foods include legumes, nuts, seeds, seaweed, leafy greens, blackstrap molasses, and some types of tofu.
Several foods are also commonly fortified in calcium and vitamin D, including some types of cereal and juice, as well as certain plant milks and yogurts.
Milk is rich in calcium, protein, phosphorus, and vitamin D. These nutrients are instrumental in building and maintaining strong bones and may protect your bones as you age.
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What About The Sugar
Many people are concerned about the sugar in chocolate milk, and this can be heightened by misconceptions about the amounts. However, its important to remember that chocolate milk has the same nine essential nutrients as white milk. And just like white milk, 1% flavored milk is the number one food source of nutrients of concern : calcium, vitamin D and potassium. Parents might be surprised to know that children who drink flavored milk get more of these underconsumed nutrients compared to non-flavored milk drinkers.
Flavored milk in schools today has 44 fewer calories than a decade ago and only 25 more calories than its white milk counterpart. While parents are right to be concerned about their kids eating too much sugar, they should examine the diet as a whole. Flavored milk only contributes 4% of added sugar to the diets of children. Eliminating foods with added sugar and limited nutritional value goes a lot further towards managing a childs sugar intake without hurting their nutritional status.
Flavored Milk In Schools Is Not Whats At The Store
Milk processors have worked for decades to make school flavored milk better for kids. Sugar content in school flavored milk is significantly lower than that found in grocery store chocolate milk and still tastes great! In fact, school flavored milk contributes only 4% of added sugar to childrens diets while carbonated soda and fruit drinks contribute 45% without the nutritional benefit.
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Should You Drink Chocolate Milk
Chocolate milk provides important nutrients such as calcium, protein, and vitamin D which may benefit health. However, its high in calories and added sugar, which can contribute to weight gain and may increase your risk of certain chronic diseases.
Chocolate milk intake should be closely monitored in children. Too much can contribute to obesity, cavities, and other health issues in kids (
Suggestions For Overcoming Barriers
Whether its the desire to save the calories for the center of the plate, concerns about cost or a myriad of other barriers, here are my top three suggestions for successfully reintroducing 1% chocolate milk:
Initiatives like these are great ways to get kids excited about eating healthy. Afterall, foods are only nutritious if they eat them.
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