Chocolate Milk, The New Evil?

Really? Who would have thought that chocolate milk was the new “evil” food. Schools are banning it, television shows like “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” are demonizing it, and national chefs are debating with the dairy industry. This isn’t smoking, drugs or violence, it is chocolate milk.

This is the same chocolate milk that offers over nine essential nutrients. The same chocolate milk that is low fat. The same chocolate milk that offers kids a delicious choice to get their three servings of dairy each day.

The whole debate centers around the amount of sugar in chocolate milk. Yes, shock, there is sugar in chocolate milk. Is white milk better than chocolate? Yes, of course. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that. But does that really make chocolate milk ban worthy? More ban worthy than that greasy pizza and chicken patty on a bun they still serve?

I fully realize that for many children their only complete meal is the one they are served at school. I also fully realize that school lunches need a big makeover! I also fully disclose that us dairy farmers have a huge stake in consumption side of this debate.

So what are the consequences of banning flavored milk? Children love chocolate milk and when chocolate milk is taken away milk consumption drops by 35% (According to the School Nutrition Association). According to a study by the Prime Consulting Group, for a first grader to trade in chocolate milk for water or another beverage (soda, sports drink or juice) would mean a 10 percent drop in of their recommended daily calcium, protein and vitamin A, and about 15 percent loss of vitamin D and phosphorus.

What about all that sugar? Studies show that children who drink flavored milk drink more milk overall, have better quality diets, do not have higher intakes of sugar, fat or calories, and are more likely to be at a healthy weight compared to kids who drink little or no milk.*

Maybe, I am different than other moms out there, but I feed my kids very healthy meals at home. Treats such as ice cream, cookies, chips, and chocolate milk are a treat for my kids, and by treat I mean a food given only once in a while. My kids know that we drink white milk for meals and only on rare occasions do they get chocolate milk (or other treats). I personally don’t think it is a problem if my kids choose to have chocolate milk as a “treat” at school.  Chocolate milk still has nine essential nutrients; we cannot say that about other treats such as cookies or chips.

So raise your glass to chocolate milk. It is a delicious nutritious treat. We have heard that Organic Valley chocolate milk is the best tasting chocolate milk on the market. I tend to agree, but then again I am bias. Also, for special occasions (going to the zoo or birthday parties), I love to serve my kids the Organic Valley single serve flavored milks. They are juice box size and because of packaging technology they don’t have to be refrigerated until they are open. Which makes them perfect to pack for on the go.

Personally, I think this whole debate is ridiculous. All the junk that our kids are offered at school and the one “treat” that also has nutrients is targeted? Really? Maybe I am different from others and am totally off base. What are your thoughts on the whole flavored milk in school debate. I would love to see your comments.


Zweber Farms is a 4th generation family operated organic dairy.  We are proud Organic Valley farmer members and sell our milk under that label. We also specialize in sustainably raised beef, pork and chicken and sell it directly to customers in Minnesota.Visit our website to learn more, Connect with us on FacebookTwitterand YouTube.

*Johnson RK, Frary C, Wang MQ. The nutritional consequences of flavored milk consumption by school-aged children and adolescents in the United States. J Am Diet Assoc. 2002; 102(6):853-856.

0 thoughts on “Chocolate Milk, The New Evil?

  1. Cassy

    I agree 100% Emily. Hello, vending machines still dispense Coca-Cola in the same cafeterias. The same Coca-Cola that not only has more sugar than chocolate milk but can also dissolve nails and clean toilets with it’s acidic carbonated goodness. Why pick on poor little chocolate milk?

  2. Lisa

    Great post Emily! I may just link up to this, as I haven’t done nearly as much research on it as you have. I love my chocolate and white milk. 🙂

  3. Paula

    Thanks for a great post, Emily! I grew up on a dairy farm in Michigan and my Mom always bought me Nestles Quik. I drank A LOT of milk–white and chocolate. Still do. 🙂
    It’s very frustrating when folks get on their soapboxes and pick on whole and chocolate milk. So many nutrients for us in both dairy products. Better to moderate snack (high salt/fat) consumption than nutrient-dense foods for kids.

  4. Sonia

    As a fan of Jamie Oliver, I love that he is taking his passion into communities that may otherwise have a very unhealthy idea of what food should look and taste like. But after watching his first attempt at overhauling a school’s hot lunch program, I felt two things. 1) Guilty for what treats I did give to my family and 2) Sad that he didn’t understand how culture and a blinding passion skews a person’s ability to involve other people to join him.

    I give my children chocolate milk. My son would drink his way through his day if he could (still at 6yrs), so we often wait to give him his milk until he’s eaten a bit of his meal, and the motivation that a bit of chocolate gives is sometimes just what he needs to enjoy the flavors and textures of the bounty of foods we provide our children.

    I agree that chocolate or other sweet flavored milk shouldn’t be the ONLY option, but when, as a teacher, I’ve seen many children arrive with bag lunches consisting of only highly processed, low-nutrient foods, I think the battle lines have been drawn in the wrong areas. I would rather question the health qualities of what’s on the tray/plate than the small amount of sugar added to the carton.

  5. Jacey

    Why ban chocolate milk when there are many more kids drinking and smoking rather then drinking flavored milk? Come on people let others live and do what they feel.