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Chocolate milk could be banned in some schools -- here's what might be lost

May 10, 2011|By Marissa Cevallos, HealthKey / For the Booster Shots blog
  • The ingredients in chocolate milk are under scrutiny as more counties consider banning the sugary drink.
The ingredients in chocolate milk are under scrutiny as more counties consider… (Los Angeles Times )

Chocolate milk in the cafeteria contributes to obesity in children, says one side. But without it, kids might not consume enough calcium, argues the other side.

As school districts across the nation consider banning the cafeteria milk of choice (as well as strawberry-flavored milk), here’s a quick break down of the calorie content of chocolate milk from Fitday

  • “Whole chocolate milk, made from whole milk, has the most fat and calories. An 8 oz. glass has 210 calories.”
  • “Reduced fat chocolate milk is made from either 1% or 2% milk, and an 8 oz. glass has 160 to 170 calories.”
  • “Skim chocolate milk, made from skim milk, is lowest in calories at 160 for an 8 oz. glass.”
Chocolate adds about 60 calories to white milk—an addition that, if not done in moderation, could add several pounds by the end of one year (this article estimates 10 pounds).

LabelWatch offers this comparison of chocolate milks:

Note that even the ones deemed as having  “Smart Ingredients” contain much more than milk. There’s sugar (of course), cocoa, vanilla flavor, salt, vitamin A and vitamin D. Some even have guar gum, cellulose gel, potassium citrate and other flavors. Oh, and carrageenan. They all have carrageenan. It’s a seaweed extract used as a thickener. It prevents the chocolate particles from separating from the milk. 

Blame or credit it, depending on your food preferences, for packaged chocolate milk’s characteristic thickness.

To be fair, some companies that sell flavored milk are changing the ingredients and pushing lower-sugar, lower-calorie versions of their chocolate milk. Whether those milk cartons survive bans nationwide remains to be seen.

Perhaps those “healthier” chocolate milks will do something about the strange, thick texture.

healthkey@tribune.com

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