Dear PoP – Will Removing Chocolate Milk from Schools Contribute to a “Nanny State”?

Photo by PoPville flickr user Faucetini

“Dear PoP,

I saw in the Washington Post that there has been some pushback from parents regarding the elimination of chocolate milk in schools. Personally, I think the fact that kids aren’t gulping down all that sugar isn’t a half-bad idea, however I got into a heated debate with a colleague over this very issue. She thinks that measures like this will eventually create a “Nanny State.” I would be curious to hear what others in the city think, keeping in mind that DC is the only state (or district in this case) where obesity rates dropped this year.”

Kinda reminds me a bit of our discussions on the proposed ‘soda tax’. What do you guys think – is removing chocolate milk from schools a good idea and beneficial to the health of the students or just one more step in the direction of a nanny state?

109 Comment

  • I heard chocolate milk is actually a pretty good post-exercise recovery drink. . . like say after you were running around all recess . . . so I’m not sure I’d immediately group it with all of the high sugar badness out there.

    • I was going to say the same thing. Chocolate milk if organic and not HFC filled is actually really good for you, better than actual plain milk.

      I’m all for the soda tax, but chocolate milk? I think that’s a mistake.

      • “…better than actual plain milk” for the purposes of a post-workout recovery drink. Maybe. But generally speaking, no, chocolate milk is not better for you than regular milk.

        • It is definitely better than plain milk for recovery. It generally has a higher carb and protein count, which is perfect for feeding hungry muscles. But you are right, the higher sugar content is not better under normal circumstances, and I’m not sure I would count “recess” as a workout requiring a recovery drink.

          • The comments here are insane. Chocolate milk is not “better” for you than regular milk. It is regular milk with sugar (or more likely HFCS) and chocolate flavor added. It does not have more protein. It has more “carbs” because SUGAR IS A CARB. Just because you call it a carb instead of sugar does not make it good for you.

            The problem with chocolate milk is once kids get a taste of it they refuse regular milk, so then they are drinking extra empty calories every time they drink milk — or they stop drinking milk. As a parent of little kids, I don’t need the school to be pusher for a high sugar, junk food lifestyle for my kids.

            Calling this a NANNY STATE is also crazy. First, schools are the “nanny” for our kids when the kids are there. Kids don’t get to choose where they go to school or what they eat, the grown-ups do. So, don’t talk to me about taking away freedom from kids. If you gave them freedom they’d eat ice cream for breakfast everyday.

            And, this law does not take away any parent’s freedom to feed their kids what they want to feed them. If you want your precious snowflake to have chocolate milk for lunch, buy a thermos and fill it with the brown stuff. Give them chocolate milk for breakfast and dinner at home. No one is stopping you. But, don’t ask me to subsidize bad food for your kids with my tax dollars — especially not when that subsidy also leads to bad habits in my own kids.

            Mama rant over.

          • Really, Anonymous? Because my niece and nephew have had chocolate milk before and still drink regular milk all of the time. Like you said, you’re the parent. If you are worried that your kid will refuse to drink regular milk after having tasted chocolate, that might be indicative of a larger problem. Additionally, having chocolate milk available doesn’t mean all kids will need to drink it.

            Also, not all chocolate milk has sugar or HFCS. I drink Horizon chocolate milk, which is sweetened with evaporated cane juice, which is a a sweetener, but is not processed like sugar or HFCS.

          • Honestly, Anonymous, it is a fact that chocolate milk is a better recovery drink after a strenuous workout than regular milk, This is not opinion, but scientifically backed biological fact. Look it up on the Intergooglebawebs.

          • blester01

            DL, when do kids in school receive a “strenuous workout”? The answer is they don’t. So your science may be correct, but it does not apply to this issue.

            The problem is if you kids a choice to either drink chocolate or regular, they will most likely choose chocolate, which is not good for them. Since the schools don’t educate the kids on what they are putting in their bodies and how it may give them diabetes or other health issues 20 years or more down the road, they need to remove the choice.

            People wonder why healthcare costs are so expensive in this country, it is b/c at least 40% of the population is fat (some estimates as high as 60%), and it could potentially bankrupt the nation down the road if we don’t do something about it. I wish the HC Reform bill did more to fix this, but it didn’t. Removing unhealthy foods from the schools is a good start.

            POP, Whoever thinks this leads to a nanny state is a moron. What it does do is potentially reduce the cost of healthcare 10-20 years down the road and potentially reduce the burden of Medicare and Medicaid on our national budget. A significant amount of these kids are malnourished and the school provides them their “healthy” meal for the day. I don’t know how many times, I see kids walking to school eating Cheetos or Doritos for breakfast.

            There are so many studies out there that show eating a healthy diet at a young age contributes to a well developed brain and helps a child get a better education. So whether it is OH, WV or DC, schools should be providing healthy meals and snacks to the children. So yes, sugary snacks should be banned and removed from the counters and vending machines.

          • Well, blester, if you were to read my original response, you would see that I was responding to “i like cheese”, and that I specifically stated that I did not think it applied to children in school. And you will see that my response to Anonymous was solely to point out the merits of chocolate milk versus regular milk as a recovery drink, e.g., after I ride 70 miles on my bike, my muscles recover much more quickly with chocolate milk than with regular milk, water, fruit juice, etc.

          • Kim et al,

            It might be “better” for an adult recovery after a very strenuous workout, but does not make it “better” for kids. It is milk plus sugar and chocolate, how could that be “better” for a kid? Do you really think the kids need more sugar? And, I actually don’t know what my kids would do if they had a chocolate milk option everyday — I’m guessing they would choose chocolate milk over regular, I’m perfectly willing to admit it is more tasty. But, again, I also like ice cream better than low fat milk, that does not make its an acceptable substitute.

            And, if you actually read the post column by the woman complaining about the removal of chocolate milk you’ll see that her kid stopped drinking regular milk once someone gave him “vanilla milk”. So, I don’t think my concern about kids refusing to drink regular milk is an indication of bad parenting by me. I have never given my kids neon orange mac-n-cheese from a box, only homemade. When we have other kids over to visit who have had neon orange salt/sugar/artificial flavor fest of Kraft mac-n-cheese, they refuse to eat the normal stuff. I bet the same is true for milk. I have witnessed kids at soccer practice refuse to drink water b/c they always get “juice” (i.e. sugar water). I have seen public school kids refuse to eat a perfect peach from the farmer’s market because were acclimated to canned peaches in heavy sugar syrup. Kids have a sweet tooth, it is very easy to ruin their pallet. Which is not to say that chocolate milk as a “treat” once is a while is going to ruin them, its when it becomes an everyday option like it is at school.

            I’ll say it again, if you want to give chocolate milk to your kids or drink it for your workout recovery, fine. But, don’t start claiming it is better for kids to have chocolate milk or call it the nanny state when the state decides not to subsidize chocolate milk.

          • I can’t help it, really all I think about is recovering. I’m trying to recover all the time.

            Chocolate milk is a great recovery drink.

  • I think deciding whether a school should provide kids with chocolate milk should be handled by the school and parents with the health of the children in mind, not by imagining what theoretical political ramifications would be.

    That said, I think the fact that chocolate milk is less sweet than other sweetened drinks, and more nutritious, is good enough for me.

  • i drank chocolate milk as a kid and wasn’t obese. i am not sure chocolate milk is where we should start on the obesity epidemic.

  • They’re kids – aren’t they supposed to live in a “nanny state?”

    • +1

      I would be thrilled if we could put a nun or a nanny on every corner of DC. Especially in the after school hours with extended hours on the weekends and during the summer.

      Arm them with a ruler and a disapproving look.

      Maybe they could sit in on City Council meetings as well.

    • yes. exactly.
      and the better their upbringing, the less likely they are to require that nanny state as adults.

    • Keep the government’s hand off my public school!

      • +1

        We already expect the schools to perform in loco parentis for just about everything else – isn’t the purpose of early intervention (head start, et al) schooling to fill parenting gaps that exist in much of the “community”? C’mon – the schools should perform more miracles!!!

        I think there’s nothing wrong or nanny state about reviewing the nutritional value of all the foods provided in the official school cafeteria programs – the sooner we get the junk food (fast food) vendors out of there, the better. You don’t like the offerings? Pack your kid’s lunch – the chocolate milk won’t spoil in the thermos…

        • I packed my kid some nonfat chocolate milk in her lunch today. Otherwise, she never drinks milk at other meals, and doesn’t really eat much lunch, either. I think that chocolate milk is better and more filling than apple juice, though they now sell juice boxes with calcium added so sometimes I send that.

  • Don’t see why this is a huge issue – white milk is healthier. Why not have the tax payer subsidized lunch provide the healthier option?

    If parents are adamant that their kiddies need to drink chocolate milk then the parents can pack chocolate milk in their kids lunchbox.

  • Aren’t bicycle helmets, seatbelts and removal of lead paint part of the “nanny state”? Food might not necessarily make kids fat, but lifestyle certainly does and until those kids play outside for real rather than inside virtual, let them drink lemon water.
    Fat kids are a social liability, particularly to parents when their fat kids get bullied or have no friends or have a cardiologist when they are 13.

  • No food or drink at school.
    All student provided.

  • The fact that the term “Nanny state” is part of their lexicon suggests that they probably think all sorts of other common-sense, public-safety promoting laws and policies are “infringing” on their freedom.

    For me, it is a red flag.

  • As one of the parents who has been working with the “Healthy Schools Act” and with D.C. schools on this very question, I can tell you what our take on this is: sugar and refined carbohydrates have been directly implicated in the current epedimic of childhood obesity as well as a host of diseases: diabetes, ahterosclerosis, hypertension and a surge in cases of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in children.

    Schools should be part of the solution to this problem, which threatens to bankrupt the nation, not an enabler of the problem. The government is not saying kids can’t have chocolate- or strawberry-flavored milk. They just need to do it at home. Schools should be sugar-free zones, focused on teaching kids healthy eating habits with meals made from whole foods, not artificially boosted with dangerous calories from sugar. Many parents don’t want their children exposed to flavored milk at school, where they have no control over what their kids eat.

    Unfornately, the dairy industry has mounted a campaign to scare parents and schools into keeping chocolate milk on the menu by suggesting kids will collapse in a heap of osteoporosis and rickets if they are denied access to sugary milk products. The truth is, the best way to build strong bones is through physical exercise, and the best way to get Vitamin D is from exposure to the sun. What schools should be doing if they want healthier kids is give them more phys ed and recess outside. Rather than catering to kids’ sweet tooth with sugary milk, schools–and parents–need to work harder to teach kids to appreciate plain milk.

    You can read more about it at our parents blog, Better D.C. School Food:

    • One other thought: it wasn’t just chocolate or strawberry milk. What we saw visiting the school cafeteria every day was that in addition to sugary milk, D.C. kids as young as five were being served Pop-Tarts, Apple Jacks cereal, Golden Goldfish Grahams and Otis Spunkmeter muffins, resulting in breakfasts containing the equivalent of 15 teaspoons of sugar before classes even started. The milk is only part of an unhealthy food environment that schools need to change if we are to make any headway against the current health crisis.

    • +1
      let them have sugar at home and nutrition in school; school is the only place a lot of them will get it.

    • Thanks for working on this.

    • Why not provide chocolate milk that doesn’t use sugar or refined carbohydrates? Is it simply due to cost?

    • Also, I’m a little confused. Are you suggesting that students shouldn’t even be permitted to bring in their own chocolate milk?

      • I’m guessing his argument is against government funded schools giving our children food items that aren’t healthy for them. Especially since the main reason schools do this is because of food lobbyists.

        If you want to give your child chocolate milk to bring to school that is fine. Let schools meet the basic nutritional needs and parents can supply the desserts.

        • That’s what I was thinking at first, too, but saying that “they just need to do it [have chocolate or strawberry milk] at home” and “schools should be sugar-free zones” would suggest otherwise, so I’d like an answer from Ed, not some other random commenter.

    • blester01

      Ed, how can we help with this?

      • +1

        I don’t even own kids but as a part time physical trainer I can see the potential huge benefit of this.

  • We got free milk (once a day, and most of the time it was frozen) when I went to school but nothing else. We went home for lunch. There was no such thing as a cafeteria or a vending machine (hadn’t been invented yet).

    We were all skinny as hell.

    • Ah yes. Milk money.
      Every week you had to bring in some money to class.
      NO idea how much it was.
      What do you think it cost to have 5 8 ounce waxy containers of whole milk in 1956?

      • I’m probably showing my age here, but when I was a kid in school, we had little glass bottles of milk given to us. I never tasted chocolate milk till I was an adult–and to be honest I cannot stand the taste of it.

    • Lots of kids went home to nothing…that contributes to skinny.

      The short-sighted elimination of “fats” and their replacement with “carbs” (sugar, potatoes, pasta, hell, even carrots) based on questionable “science” is the real issue – highly processed carb-laden foods (just enough salt and fat to get the brain going on a binge) are the culprit.

      Carbs are super-duper-cheap – thank ADM & Cargill for your obesity.

  • Human beings are scared of change, even change that they want and that they know is beneficial.

    I was reading in the Wall Street Journal yesterday that the Washington D.C. 5 cent bag tax has been an incredible success on all fronts. Yet, I remember reading all sorts of anger and hysteria about the tax on DCist at the beginning of this year.

    That is all this “nanny state” stuff is. Hysteria.

  • Public school districts literally are Nanny States. They act in loco parentis (nanny) and are run by the government (state). Complaining that school policies will lead to a nanny state makes as much sense as the people who want the government to stay out of their medicare.

    It absolutely makes sense to stop serving kids junk food at school. Giving a child Apple Jacks in strawberry milk and then expecting them to sit still and pay attention for the next four hours is brain dead. Parents are free to serve kids sugar milk at home if they’d like.

  • As a child and still as an adult I absolutely hate the taste of milk. We were only allowed to have milk with our school lunches and other than a few sips at a water fountain, that was the only thing I drank all day. I chose chocolate milk because that was the only other option. If you’re taking away chocolate milk you need to provide healthy alternatives for the children, like juice and water (cups of water not just the fountain). Dehydration contributes to false hunger signals and more eating so taking away a drink option without replacing it would be a horrible idea.

    And as for suggesting that parents just send the kids with other options in a packed lunch.. reality check: if all parents had the time, means, and ability to pack healthy lunches for their kids we wouldn’t be having this debate in the first place.

    Take away all of the ridiculous tasty cakes and candy from the options the kids have to buy for snacks before you take away the chocolate milk!

  • I don’t understand the “refined” vs. “unrefined” sugars issue, in that I don’t understand why refined sugars are bad. That said, chocolate (cocoa) is not bad for you, sugar is not necessarily bad, and protein is not bad. So how about organic 1% chocolate milk made with unrefined sugars. Is that bad too? The body needs carbs, proteins, and even some fats. Isn’t that better than soda or artificial drinks?

    • I think you’d be hard-pressed to find organic chocolate milk with cane sugar in any standard (non-charter) public school, anywhere in the country. Most cafeterias have such pitifully tiny budgets that they must source their food from the cheapest warehouses around. (Histrionics aside, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution gives good background info on budget issues.)

      My high school served funnel cake, biscuits, and crappy HFCS-loaded chocolate milk for breakfast, among other things. I ate a lot of it at the time, but looking back on it it’s pretty revolting.

      • I think both “organic” and “unrefined” cane are bogus issues here and make very little to no substantive difference in contributing to obesity.

        While there may be differences in Sucrose vs. Fructose and metabolism, the effects are very small relative to the size of the dose – that is, you are getting a huge sugar pop – even from the ‘unrefined’ stuff (un-refined == less pure which means that basically you’re getting some other non-sugar stuff mixed in). This is really as simple as looking at grams of sugars on the label – pretending that somehow fructose is better (fruits) or worse (corn HFCS) than sucrose (cane, beets) is just…silly…or marketing.

        There are likely other benefits to organic milk, but they are not relevant to the sugar question.

        • I think it is a more complex issue than just marketing. The source of sugars definitely is a better and worse scenario. If you get your sugars from pop tarts, you are getting sugar + crap. If you get it from fruit, you get sugar + fiber + complex slow-burning carbs + vitamins. But I think, as you seem to intimate, it’s not about the sugar, it’s about the overall picture.

          • No, I am intimating this: sugar is sugar.

            You can get quite fat eating a lot of fruit. Just because pop-tarts have other crap in them and a lot of sugar, does not mean fruit does not. There is not “OK” sugar and “BAD” sugar. Sugar is sugar. Period.

            Yes, there is evidence that organic berries have higher levels of nutrients than conventionally grown berries on average, and there is a good likelihood that poptarts do not have all of those same nutrients (anti-oxidants, for example), and therefore berries, and organic berries, are better foods overall, but it does not mean that organic berries are less sugar-laden, fattening and Type-II diabetes inducing.

            Some fun facts:

            Kellogg’s “Frosted Blueberry Toaster Pastry”
            Serving = 1 “pastry”
            Carbs = 38g
            Dietary Fiber = <1g
            Sugars = 17g

            Blue Berries:
            Serving = 148g
            Carbs = 21g
            Dietary Fiber = 4g
            Sugars = 15g

            So, I'd say it turns out that Pop-Tarts, while clearly heavily processed "crap" are not particularly better for sugar than straight blueberries. The overall carb count – the refined flour – is bad, and is an alternate form of sugar.

          • @ NotScott

            You are right in the fact that sugar is essentially just sugar. However the way the body processes these two foods are completely different. Oh yeah and your argument is bunk.

            1 pop tart which is ONLY 52 grams has

            200 calories 5g fat 0g fiber and 18g sugar

            1 serving of blueberries is 148 grams (a bowl of berries)

            84 calories 0g fat 4g fiber and 15g sugar

            First of all, to have the same feeling of satiety you would have to eat almost THREE 52g poptarts to equal the 148g of blueberries. So you will be less full and inclined to eat more poptarts, they come in packs of 2 right???

            Second. If you choose blueberries, you can eat 2 whole servings and still have taken in less calories. That’s right, A HALF frickin POUND of blueberries is much less calories than ONE pop tart.

            Third. Diabetes is caused by drastic fluctuations in your blood glucose levels. While both options have similar sugar levels 18 (poptarts) vs 15 (berries). The poptarts have an additional 20 grams of simple carbs that will increase blood glucose while the berries have 0 additional carbs and 4 grams of fiber which have a calming effect on glucose levels.

            Bottom line if you can find me a person who got fat by eating fruits i.e. berries, apples, bananas then I will force myself to eat poptarts until my stomach explodes.

    • I don’t think there is much difference between refined, unrefined, cane, corn… sugar. They’re all bad and dangerous for your health. The less of the stuff you consume the better off you are. Just an FYI – cancer cell feed

  • As a parent of a child in pre-K in a DC public school, I’m so relieved that chocolate and strawberry milk are no longer being served. It was a total losing battle to try to get my daughter to choose plain milk, which she now drinks happily at “breakfast in the classroom.” It seems like the other foods that are now being offered for breakfast are also lower in sugar (I haven’t seen pop tarts or cookies since meals started in the classroom.) I really appreciate all the work people have done in the last year to improve the quality of what my daughter eats every day. We actually weigh the food situation pretty heavily in terms of whether we would continue sending her to a DC public school.

  • if you think that having your baby human drink cow’s milk is good for them, you may be easily fooled. you can get all the calcium from a gallon of milk in a small bowl of green salad. the salad also WONT seriously contribute to the likelihood of asthma in your child’s future.

    i also take issue with drinking cow blood and mucous bleached white to match the “milk”. if you even argue that any of this isn’t true then you have been indoctrinated by a childhood of having the milk industry pay to get their product forced in your little hands. its one of the pervasive marketing tactics of our generation that really worked!

    since you probably wont read it anyway, i’ll link to a bunch of scientific research and literature:

    • Looks like a PETA propaganda site to me.

      • people like you are sheep.

        here’s 1 example i found through a different source. it’s a research paper from NIH that you also won’t read:

        cow’s milk is necessarily healthy. just stpp and think: “Why do I THINK milk is healthy?” and “is any of that relevant in 2010?”

        this whole debate of chocolate milk vs. milk is a debate over whether a marginally unhealthy drink should be prepared with extra sugar.

        • *not necessarily

        • Baaaaaaa! They can have my latte when they pry it from my cold, dead hand!

        • You do realize that the posted study shows an inverse relationship between asthma/allergies and consumption of cow’s milk, meaning that people who had consumed cow’s milk at some point in life were less likely to have asthma, right? Why are you posting a link that says the opposite of what you are trying to prove?

    • @Omnivore

      I’m a nutrition buff and very anti-milk like you are. You might want to reconsider citing as a source of information.

      The author of the site, Robert Cohen has refused to answer questions about his formal credentials ( he doesn’t have any ). Much of the information on the site, went up with the site in the early 1990s and has not been updated in at least 15 years.

      • i actually hadn’t been to the site in 10 years myself and am regretting how loony i sounded quoting him…

        either way, if anyone’s interested try googling it a little bit. the links between milk consumption and long term health side effects are alarming.

    • Unfortunately one of my kids won’t eat green salad. Green beans, brocoli, artichokes, yes. I tried to get her to spinach and okra, she says “This looks like yuck.” She actually gagged when I made her try some brussel sprout.

  • teach the kids portion control. sounds corny but i had chocolate milk, pizza, cookies, etc growing up but didn’t eat pounds of them a day. also they should be taught it’s ok to have that 2nd cookie if they don’t plan on sitting in front of the computer all day.

    plus, music these days is just noise.

  • Of course, we could mandate that schools serve high-fat chocolate milk with fried chicken nuggets (by keeping the status quo), but do we really want to encourage our kids to grow up as diabetes sufferers?
    DC’s problem with obesity is at the youth level, so I’m all for efforts to instill good health behaviors early through school interventions. Now if this results in kids going from chocolate milk to HFCS apple juice, then that’s not helping matters, but I’m not sure what options students are given. They should give students sparkling water – more interesting that tap, but just as healthy.

  • Why don’t people cry “Nanny State” when corporations spend millions of dollars to get people to do things that are not good for them?

  • As a chemist sugar is sugar to the human body whether you call it table sugar, evaporated cane juice, cane sugar, sugar beet extract or high fructose corn syrup, corn sugar or other synonym. The kids are provided breakfast and lunch at school so they get 2 servings of this sugar laden milk at school.

    Also chocolate milk was rarely served in DCPS the flavored milk that was offered at most schools was strawberry. Organic chocolate milk contains 27 g of sugar per serving, organic strawberry milk contains 31 g of sugar per serving and an 8 oz serving of orange soda/pop provides 32 grams of sugar.

    If a parent is upset that the school does not offer flavored milk, then they should go to the store and buy some to pack in their child’s lunch. It is not the school systems responsibility to cater to your kids but it is their responsibility to teach kids about health and well being. Part of this should be better food offerings. In the past year the food offered has improved a hundred fold in this direction but still has a very long way to go.

  • When my now first grader was in pre-k he was regularly given chocolate milk on his tray without even asking him what he wanted. He does not like chocolate milk and so would go thirsty during lunch. (At that age at our school the kids trays were brought to them they did not go through a line and make choices.) As I understand, Jeff Mills, Director of DCPS Food Services, is working on better access to water at lunch for elementary age children. Rather than get worked up about ditching the chocolate milk I think we should focus on getting a water option to these little ones.

    As a side note by grandfather had a dairy farm and just the memories of the smell of the farm with it’s little pig pen beside the barn kept me, and my mother who grew up there, from drinking much milk. I understand not caring much for something.

    Drink water.

    Lastly, It is hard for me to imagine a kid working out so hard at recess that they “need” a chocolate milk. It takes a huge workout for a person to need more than water. Again, let’s focus on water which most kids drink considering the lines at bathroom breaks for the fountain.

    (this from iPhone please pardon errors)

    • Good point, re: drink water. I didn’t mean to say kids *should* drink sparkling water, just that it would be a better plain-water alternative to offer.
      However, if kids are given access to nothing but good-ole water (filtered if possible), then of course they will drink that. The problem may well be a lack of functioning water fountains in schools (if students are lucky enough to get water to come out of the faucet, often they have to practically kiss the faucet in order to drink it, due to the abysmally-weak water pressure).
      Maybe if DCPS used the money spent on milk (or juice) to maintain the fountains, that would help matters.

      As for calcium, milk isn’t the only source: oranges, broccoli and other foods have it. And of course what students drink is only a part of the equation, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth discussing.

  • I’m in the pro-nanny state for children and anti-flavored milk camps for all the good reasons stated above. For the lactose-intolerant and milk haters, water is a fine option. We all need to drink more of it. And I don’t understand why someone would think that milk is the only food group under the microscope. Of course, candies, cakes, and salty junk food should also go when we’re talking about what is available *every day* as part of a subsidized meal or freely available from vending machines.

  • This is ridiculous. You’re all a bunch liberal nutjobs (I’m a democrat so hear me out). Let’s assume that all children are mandated drink 2% non chocolate milk. That’s 120 calories. There are 158 calories in 1% chocolate milk ( So we are saving 38 calories. That is 1.9% of a 2000 calorie diet. It has been proven time and again that weight gain and loss is a simple function of caloric intake – eat more than 2000 and you gain weight, eat less and you lose. Chocolate milk is a drop in the bucket. Also, chocolate milk was probably introduced into schools to entice children to drink milk – which is good for you (calcium, vitamin D, etc.). Is childhood obesity a problem? Yes! Is chocolate milk in schools the cause of this problem? No! This is a witch hunt. You guys want to axe chocolate milk so you feel like you are doing something, making the world a better place, etc.

    Not to mention mandating no chocolate milk is a far cry from educating children about healthy eating. And jeez, are we saying 18 year-olds (HS seniors) can’t choose between regular and chocolate milk because they are too stupid?

    You want skinny kids get more Physical Education. I played 3 sports in high school, drank chocolate milk every day (thank god for those 38 extra calories!) and was in wonderful shape. Now we can’t all be as amazing as me but running around a bit will help a lot more than killing chocolate milk.

    • I have to disagree. I think we can all be as amazing as you.

    • Also, I’m pretty sure the flavored milk served in the schools is closer to 170+ calories. And, the kids get it a breakfast and lunch. So that is 100+ extra calories a day. And 100 extra calories on an already chubby 5 year old is a lot.

      • And, the recommended caloric intake for kids 4-8 years old is 1200 for girls and 1400 for boys. So 75-110 calories is 5-9% of the amount they should be eating. It doesn’t take long for that to add up to lots of extra body weight.

  • Just to throw this into the mix–I grew up in a home where sweets and fatty foods were very rarely served and I subsequently gorged on these foods when I had the chance. I still struggle with my weight and with getting enough exercise.

    I think schools should serve all types of food in moderation, because kids will encounter them throughout their lives and need to learn to make good choices. And, physical education classes should be promoted as just as important as any other class.

    • That’s pretty interesting. I grew up in a home where sweets and junk food were prevalent, and I always wanted to go across the street to my friend’s house that had all kinds of healthy food. Now I rarely eat any junk food or processed food.

    • I grew up without junk food or sweets. As a kid I felt deprived — why can’t we have sodas and sweets like the other kids? — but as a result I didn’t develop a taste for them.

      We also had fresh from the cow milk – which I never liked.

      • I also grew up in a home with no sweets – so I used to get huge cravings and then sneak a bunch of orange flavored children’s asprin tablets out of the closet. Not a good idea!

        We also scrounged dimes that rolled under the counter at the grocery store to buy candy bars – which we had to sneak away to eat.

        There is a healthy in-between.

  • I cannot beleive some of the earlier, semi-insane comments on this post. Has anyone looked at the actual nutrition labels of the chocolate and strawberry milk they were serving last year? That was no organic milk sweetened with a touch of cane sugar. It was LOADED with high fructose corn syrup, super, super sweet. I am thankful there is no “flavored” milk this year (what flavor? sugar).

    I wouldn’t mind if schools offered flavored milk that was so overly sweet. Honest tea, for example, can make a delicious sweet tea with less than half the sugar of other ice tea brands. It’s the excess that bothers me. We allow our children to drink chocolate milk at home. Instead of adding the recommended 2 tablespoons of syrup (which still is less added sugar that the so-called flavored milk of last year), we use a teaspoon of syrup. Perfectly tasty drink with just a hint of chocolate/sweetness.

    It’s not about a nanny state. It’s about saying enough is enough. If parents want their kids to have sugar, then let them pack it in their kids lunch.

  • Let’s raise the school taxes so we can raise grass-fed, pasture raised children with no added hormones or antibiotics!

  • When the discussion centers on “banning” vs. “not serving” through state sponsored lunch/snack program, I don’t blame the weary response against the “nanny state.” I don’t need schools to actively serve chocolate milk to my child, nor do I want them to tell me I can’t send a Horizon chocolate milk as a treat if I choose. My scrawny active daughter can afford the extra 30-40 calories of chocolate milk above that of regular milk it may or may not displace.

    • But no one is banning you from packing a choco milk in your daughter’s lunch. Agree, they could work on the semantics as the term “banning” gets the nanny state bunch up in arms.

  • Frankly, a nanny state sounds like someplace I just might like to retire.

  • I’m all for it – and love the “Public schools are nanny states” comments.

    What really needs to be taught (to students and parents) is healthy eating. Taking away unhealthy options is step 1. Step 2 is explaining why the chocolate disapeared and leafy green vegetables appeared.

    I really think food manufacturers should be sued (big tabacco should never have been). They take a substance we need to survive (food) and turn into into a poison. ADM, Cargill, Kraft, Nabisco, General Mills…all are part of the problem along with McD’s, Chilis and other chains.

  • As a parent of two kids in elementary school, I’d prefer if they made these decisions based on science and a comprehensive menu plan. They could consider the whole list of offerings and include chocolate milk, as long as they didn’t just offer sweetened cereals and pop tarts for breakfast. If they can get them to eat zucchini and baked fish, I’m fine with chocolate milk.

    But, banning one item smacks of typical DCPS decision making, where the goal is to hunt for headlines and show off a get-tough, hard-line stance. Ooh, chocolate milk, how scary and evil! DCPS slayed another demon!

    • But they didn’t just ban one item. DCPS also removed sugar cereals, sodas, and greatly improved the breakfast and lunch menus to eliminate sugary, fatty junk foods and include more whole, unprocessed and even local foods. (Have you seen the difference in this years menus compares to last year?) While I agree there should be a comprehensive plan that looks at the big picture nutritionally, this is exactly what DCPS is trying to do. This is just a first step and there can definitely be improvements, but a step in the right direction.

      It’s unfortunate that only the removal of chocolate milk is getting the headlines when this was part of a more comprehensive plan to provide healthy(ier) foods to DCPS children. If you want to learn more, you should read a very informative blog by a DC parent who was involved in making these improvements.

      • You know who we have to blame? A Post columnist who lacked more relevant topics for her column. I can’t believe she found mothers who were up in arms over this, organizing protests on Facebook. I’m not a DC parent, but even I could take 2 minutes to research what’s going on with DC school lunches via the internet.

  • There’s no meaningful chemical difference between high fructose corn syrup and sugar. Eventually when they get in the body, they break down to the same stuff.

    The problem is the VOLUME of sugar. As sugar is now the major component in almost every refined foodstuff you eat.

    You can eat drink all the cane sugar coke you want and the effect vs. HFCS is going to be the exact same on your body.

  • A lawyer I know who works for the Food and Drug Administration said regular milk, safe for consumption but with pus or blood in it is disguised by turning it into chocolate milk. While we are talking about the FDA, all of the lawyers I met through this woman quit eating meat after they went to work there.

  • I have mixed feelings on this one. I love chocolate milk, but I don’t drink it every day and I’d prefer it not be a daily option at school, kids eat enough junk. However, I read a study that kids’ total milk consumption at schools goes way down if chocolate milk is not available.

  • May I add, pushback probably from the same dumbasses that voted for Gray.

  • Nanny state? When we’re talking about kids as young as 3, many of whom were being allowed to choose chocolate (and strawberry) milk THREE times a day (breakfast, lunch and aftercare), what parent wouldn’t want a nanny stepping in to say NO?! I would. It takes a village, right? Shouldn’t kids be learning about making good choices and nutrition at school?

    If my kids are going to have an occasional chocolate milk, like other treats, that’s fine with me, I just don’t want it going on in school. Every day. MULTIPLE times a day. That’s insane.

    A huge thanks to DCPS for making this change. In itself it doesn’t correct 50 years of declining quality in school food but it’s a step in the right direction — one of hopefully many to come.

  • Just because some children (or your child) is obese, doesn’t mean everybody is. Some children literally need every calorie they can get.

  • The Los Angeles Times recently published an article about how many mainstream experts, health advocacy groups and scientists are criticizing the USDA Dietary Guidelines. Surprisingly, these non-vegan mainstream experts – one of them at Harvard, had a big problem with the guidelines recommending that Americans drinkcow’s milk:

    Chairman of the Department of Nutrition
    Harvard School of Public Health (Boston)
    Author, “Eat, Drink and Be Healthy”

    Also, the recommendation for three servings of milk per day is not justified and is likely to cause harm to some people. The primary justification is bone health and reduction of fractures. However, prospective studies and randomized trials have consistently shown no relation between milk intake and risk of fractures. On the other hand, many studies have shown a relation between high milk intake and risk of fatal or metastatic prostate cancer, and this can be explained by the fact that milk intake increases blood levels of IGF-1, a growth-promoting hormone. The justification for drinking three glasses of milk per day on the basis of increasing potassium intake is also not valid as the extra calories, even with low-fat milk, would easily counterbalance the benefit of the extra potassium. Also, the recommendation for people of all ages to drink three servings of milk per day is very radical and would double dairy production if adopted; this would have huge environmental impacts that would need to be considered.

    Full Article

Comments are closed.