Back to School – (Slightly) Less Sugar in Chocolate Milk

In tune with the season, we’re writing about school related topics in the last few weeks. Today, some promising news on the chocolate milk front. AS you know, chocolate milk is a very contentious issue in this country. The lines have been drawn by the dairy industry – either kids drink “flavored milk” or they won’t drink milk at all. Countless press releases and industry sponsored studies point to the fact that plain milk simply does not work for kids.

What drove us bonkers here at Fooducate is the binary nature of the argument. Either chocolate milk with 3 tsp of added sugar, or plain milk with no added sugar at all. (Note: plain milk has 3 tsp of naturally occurring sugar , lactose, per cup).

What about flavored milk that has just 1 added tsp of sugar instead of 3? We asked USDA secretary Tom Vilsack, we asked the National Dairy Council, but never got a good answer. At best the mumbled reply was “kids prefer flavored milk”.

That’s why yesterday’s press release by the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) gave us a glimmer of hope:

Milk companies across the U.S. are reformulating flavored milk to lower total calories and decrease added sugars and fat, while preserving its nutritional value and taste appeal.  These new products aim for 150 calories and fewer than 22 grams of total sugar (or 10 grams of added sugars) per 8-ounce serving. read more…

OK, so the change is not dramatic. They are lowering added sugars from 3 tsp (12 grams) to 2.5 tsp (10 grams).

But hey, it’s a start. If every school year we go down another half a teaspoon, in just a few more years we’ll be down to our suggested 1 tsp of added sugar. And kids wil love it.

Wishful thinking?

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  • chef2rn

    “Either kids drink “flavored milk” or they won’t drink milk at all.” Works for me; milk isn’t good for kids, flavored or otherwise.

    • Alinaok

      I was thinking the same – maybe kids won’t drink their milk because it’s not natural to drink milk after they’ve been weaned from their mother.

  • Dana Woldow

    In San Francisco we serve Foster Farms milk; their fat free chocolate milk has 19g total sugar which is just 5g more than the 1% plain milk we also offer. You are absolutely right that milk doesn’t have to have so much added sugar and the kids will still drink it. There is definitely a middle road – it doesn’t have to be sweet-as-syrup or no sugar at all.
    It’s just like PB&J – sure it would be “healthier” and “better” for kids to eat their peanut butter plain on whole wheat bread, but seriously who is going to do that? We don’t kid ourselves that there is any nutrition in the jelly – its only purpose is to make the sandwich taste a little better, and what is wrong with that? Some kids eat it every day. How is (lightly sweetened) chocolate milk worse?