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Should school cafeterias serve chocolate milk?

Concerns arise over sugar, but not everyone is worried
Posted at 6:45 AM, Oct 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-14 10:00:22-04

Should school cafeterias serve chocolate milk? That question is once again making headlines, as the New York Public School district considers banning the beverage.

2 Works for You is exploring multiple sides of the topic.

Dairy Industry says benefits of milk outweigh sugar concerns

The dairy industry supports keeping both milk and chocolate milk in schools, saying the nutritional benefits outweigh the small amount of added sugar.

“What we see is that when flavored milk is removed from schools kids tend to take less milk, they tend to drink less, they tend to waste more milk, and a lot of times they don’t participate in the school meal program as much,” said Jenna Allen, a spokeswoman for Dairy Max, and a registered dietitian.

Allen says children need essential nutrients from milk, like calcium and potassium, and they get the same nutrients in chocolate milk.

The American Heart association recommends children under 18 get no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day.

A dietitian's viewpoint

Carly Chason, a registered dietitian, said she understands why schools may be conflicted about eliminating chocolate milk.

“There are a lot of things that go into making those school meals healthy and balanced, accessible for kids, and things they want to eat,” she said.

Even so, she agrees that kids don't need more sugar in their diets.

“That goes along with the recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Dietetic Association that are all saying you really need to limit the sugar kids are getting,” Chason said.

What do parents think?

Among parents, opinions vary, but one parent and running coach said she’s okay with everything in moderation.

“(Chocolate milk) is a good source of fat, it’s a good source of protein, so it can be a good way to refuel your body,” said Allison Rieman.

But she said for young runners, water is the best way to stay hydrated.

“For a 2-year-old running a 50 yard dash, you probably haven’t worked up enough energy to get the chocolate milk,” she said.

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