The Debate Over Chocolate Milk in Schools

Recently, we’ve heard a lot of discussion about whether or not schools should serve chocolate milk in their cafeterias. According to data from the US Department of Agriculture, flavored milk accounts for 66% of all milk sold in schools1. Concerns over added sugar in chocolate milk have grown to the point that some schools have banned chocolate milk entirely.

While this decision effectively eliminates flavored milk from children’s school diets, studies2 have shown that if kids skip chocolate milk, they often don’t drink any milk at all. That means they aren’t getting the calcium and other benefits of milk they need.

Since sugar is such a concern in the chocolate milk debate, let’s look at the numbers. Flavored milk accounts for3:

- Less than 35% of the total added sugar in the diets of children ages 6-12

- Less than 2% of added sugar intake in teens

Furthermore, research4 shows that adding small amounts of sugars to naturally nutrient-rich foods like milk can improve the overall quality of children’s and adolescents’ diets by encouraging consumption of nutrients needed at those development stages.

Now compare those facts to these findings. A 2008 study5 showed children who drink flavored milk:

- Drink more milk and get more calcium and other key nutrients than non-milk drinkers

- Drink fewer nutrient-poor sodas and fruit drinks than non-milk drinkers

- Do not consume any more added sugars or total fat than non-milk drinkers

Knowing both sides of this heated debate over chocolate milk in schools, we worked hard to develop a great-tasting chocolate milk that kids would love, but that also met the most aggressive school nutrition requirements. We’re proud to say that TruMoo meets all of the proposed USDA requirements for school meals – and well ahead of the new federal rules that will take hold in the 2012-2013 school year.

Try the TruMoo Switcheroo to see for yourself how those other sugary drinks really compare.

REFERENCES:

1US Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service. School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study – III. Alexandria, VA: Food and Nutrition Service, USDA, November 2007.

2Patterson J, Saidel M. The removal of flavored milk in schools results in a reduction in total milk purchases in all grades, K-12. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009; 109,(9): A97.2.

3Murphy M, et al. Beverages as a source of energy and nutrients in diets of children and adolescents. FASEB J 2005; A434:275.4

4 Johnson RK et al. Dietary Sugars Intake and Cardiovascular Health. A Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation 2009; 120: 1011-1020

5Murphy MM et al. Drinking flavored or plain milk is positively associated with nutrient intake and is not associated with adverse effects on weight status in U.S. children and adolescents. J Am Diet Assoc 2008; 108:631-639.