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Chocolate Milk: Yay or Nay?

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momlogic's Vivian:Like many parents, I've found that trying to get my kids to drink regular milk is an exercise in futility. It's not that they don't like it, it's just that they don't like it with anything but cookies -- and I refuse to endure two kids on an endless sugar high in the name of good parenting through an upped calcium intake.

Chocolate Milk

However, what has worked in enticing them toward the moo juice is the eternal wonder that is chocolate milk. THIS they can't get enough of. But I can't help but wonder: Does all that cocoa taint the pure milk goodness?

I did some cruising online and came across this Parade article that asks -- and answers -- the same question, because apparently, many folks are engaged in the very same debate.

The State of Florida, for example, has recently debated banning chocolate milk in an effort to curb the widespread obesity epidemic there among children (an estimated 32 percent of Florida kids aged 10 to 17 are considered overweight). Considering it's estimated that 75 percent of the milk Floridian kids drink is likely chocolate, and that eight ounces of .5-percent chocolate milk yields 150 calories/26 grams of sugar, while the same amount of fat-free milk has 90 calories/12 grams of sugar and eight ounces of 1-percent milk has 110 calories/12 grams of sugar, it's easy to think that a ban on the choco goodness might help things along.

However, the Parade article also mentions a study cited in a WebMD post from the University of Connecticut, which showed that fat-free chocolate milk is a WAY better choice than a sports drink when it comes to helping runners rebuild and refuel their muscles after exercise. Post-exercise biopsies of study participants found that chocolate-milk gluggers showed increased skeletal muscle protein synthesis and a higher amount of glycogen, or muscle fuel, than the sports-drink chuggers.

"[Fat-free chocolate milk is] not just a dessert item, it's very healthy -- especially for endurance athletes," exercise scientist William Lunn, Ph.D., told WebMD.

So I guess the debate remains prickly, but in light of the UConn study, I figure that fat-free chocolate milk might make for a good occasional pick-me-up for my kids.

What do you guys think? Yay or nay to chocolate milk?


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22 comments so far | Post a comment now
Colleen August 24, 2010, 1:26 PM

My son drinks chocolate milk way more than regular milk. He eats a balanced diet and doesn’t get too much junk food, so if a little chocolate syrup gets some extra milk into him I’m ok with that.

Wendy August 24, 2010, 2:11 PM

I let both of my boys drink chocolate milk. It’s about the only way I’ll drink milk, so I can’t exactly deny my kids. Neither of my kids is overweight, or anywhere near being overweight. They both have very active lifestyles, they both eat a healthy, balanced diet, and I see no reason to deny them a little treat in the form of chocolate milk.

Meredith August 24, 2010, 5:11 PM

If it’s real cocoa and not artificial flavoring, the cocoa is the healthiest thing in chocolate milk (iron, antioxidants). Dairy isn’t healthy. Try chocolate soymilk (which doesn’t contain bovine growth hormones, cholesterol, animal-fat, etc.) or even better, unsweetened soymilk turned into homemade hot cocoa where you can control how much sugar is added (soymilk, unsweetened cocoa powder, just enough sugar to make it lighly sweet heated in a pan & whisked gently).

m August 25, 2010, 1:16 PM

Chocolate does not take away the nutrients found in milk, so if that’s the way kids will drink it, go for it… I know it worked for me. I always have hated the taste of plain white milk, so chocolate milk helps me get my fill.

Monica August 28, 2010, 12:50 PM

Florida is thinking of banning chocolate milk? What? Are you kidding me? Can they find a more constructive way to help childhood obesity? Like longer recess at school, healthier school lunches, nutrition classes in the school. Banning one drink is not going to curb the habit of simply overeating and no exercise. That’s about as effective as banning toys in a happy meal. Like kids will just stop eating happy meals because there is no toy. Really, for adults you just don’t get it. Eat less, exercise more, bad foods in moderation. Besides, if they can’t have chocolate milk they just move on to soda. No Soda, then fruit punch. Sounds like the episode of The Simpsons when Marge had sugar banned.

Jennifer Hill September 9, 2010, 10:35 AM

Has it really come to this?? I totally understand getting rid of the soda, but the chocolate milk? Really? That was the highlight of my school day in elementary school…Mr.P. handing me my cold, mini-carton of chocolate joy. School is stressful enough! Chocolate milk once a day won’t kill em! Let the poor kids keep their chocolate milk!

Steve October 23, 2010, 11:04 PM

I wish they would also mention that the University of Connecticut research advocating chocolate milk was funded by the National Dairy Council and National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board. I’m not against chocolate milk and like it personally, but is there any way to get unbiased scientific conclusions these days?

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