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Industry Pushes for Chocolate Milk in Schools

raise-your-hand-for-chocolate-milkIf you build the chocolate milk market, the National Dairy Council says kids will come. And that’s not sitting well with parents.

While the NDC and Milk Processor Education Program push out a new sister program to the Got Milk? campaign that asks kids to “Raise your hand for chocolate milk,” parents and teachers are asking why kids can’t be expected to just raise ‘em for the regular version.

According to the AP, some are even pushing for chocolate milk to be dropped entirely from the school lunch line up – along with sodas and other calorie-laden drinks.

But in the battle for children’s taste buds, the chocolate milk campaign is meant to point out that milk – even with chocolate flavoring – has some redeeming value where soda has none.

A 2006 study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism showed chocolate milk was as good or better than sports drinks at helping athletes with their recovery time (to be fair, it was partially funded by the dairy industry). Of course there are all those chocolate health benefits that most choco-holics jumped on a few years back (again, to be fair, those are mostly linked to DARK chocolate – not the stuff in a chocolate milk carton). And according to a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, kids who drink chocolate or other flavored or plain milk “consume more nutrients and have a lower body mass index (BMI) than kids who don’t drink milk.”

Regardless, chocolate milk has the underlying benefits of the milk itself – calcium, protein, Vitamin D, etc.

On the other hand – there’s the sugar issue. A new study may have found a way to cut a fair amount and retain the flavor, but that’s still a ways off. And even the “No sugar added” version of some chocolate flavoring products for milk sport as much as ten calories from fat per serving and three grams of sugar.

My daughter drinks mostly plain old one percent milk with only the occasional chocolate milk as a treat. Start them off that way, and I don’t think it would be hard to keep kids on that path. But if kids are already on a soda kick, is a switch to chocolate milk the best path to health or just another stumbling block?

Image: why milk.com

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