Entries in Chocolate Milk (2)


Flavored Milks No Longer an Option in LA Public School Cafeterias

Bananastock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- What role did a celebrity chef play in changing the policy on flavored milk in Los Angeles public schools?

Board of education officials aren't giving Jamie Oliver all the credit.  But the British food crusader had the school district in his crosshairs last year when he dramatically lobbied to change the L.A. school lunch program to provide healthier options -- all on camera in the second season of his ABC reality television show, Food Revolution.

Either way, the outcome is clear: if you're a Los Angeles public school student who likes some chocolate or strawberry flavoring added to your milk, you may be in for some disappointment.

"Jamie Oliver provided the opportunity to focus on an area that could contribute to ongoing district initiatives, which included the recommendation for the removal of flavored milk with added sugars," said a spokesperson for the school district.

But she noted that the Los Angeles Unified School District is already a recognized leader in the effort to promote healthy foods and lifestyles to combat health issues related to obesity.

"Our goal, in tandem with Jamie Oliver, is to continue to serve healthy and nutritious meals."

On Tuesday, the LAUSD decided, in a 5-2 vote, that L.A. public schools will no longer offer flavored milks as part of an effort to curb childhood obesity.

"Those excess calories are not needed and, when coupled with insufficient exercise, increases risk for students," said LAUSD food services director Dennis Binkle.  "These include the fat-free chocolate milk and fat-free strawberry milk."

The district -- the second-largest in the country -- joins several others, including Berkeley, California and Boulder Valley, Colorado that have also banned the sugary milks. On his show, Oliver explained there was as much sugar in a typical school-sized carton of flavored milk as there is in a full-sized candy car.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Chocolate Milk Debate Rages in Schools

Bananastock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Chocolate milk, that sweet childhood pleasure, has become the center of an intense health debate. Some health experts believe it contributes to childhood obesity, leading many school districts to place limits on its sale or ban it outright. But many doctors and nutritionists say leaving it off the menu deprives children of valuable nutrients they aren't likely to make up elsewhere. Parents are left wondering whether it's okay for their kids to drink it or not.

Milk consumption has plummeted from 25 to 20 gallons per year per person since 1990, even as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that most kids don't get enough calcium and several other "shortfall" nutrients milk offers in abundance. Increasingly, children tend to drink the majority of their milk at school and increasingly, the majority of the milk they drink is flavored -- more than 70 percent of it, according to the Milk Processor Education Program, the dairy industry's advocacy group.

Therein lies the dilemma: Provide kids with essential nutrients lacking in their diet, or limit their access to sugary, high-calorie foods?

"Flavored milk is far less sugary and tends to have fewer calories and more nutrition than beverages like soda," said Keith Ayoob, associate clinical professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine in New York City. "Children who drink flavored milk are no more likely to be overweight and are more likely to get enough calcium and eat a better diet than kids who don't."

There is support to this claim. A survey of 58 elementary and secondary schools across the country that removed the chocolate version of moo juice from cafeterias for two years and offered only the white version found a 32-to-64-percent drop in the amount kids drank depending on the grade, in part because they stopped fully draining the carton.

"That isn't even the whole story either. Kids will simply hold their thirst until after school and head to the nearest corner store to order something that is a far worse choice. Better to give them the chocolate milk," Ayoob said.

But not everyone agrees.

"This is like asking your kids to eat more apples by giving them apple pie," said Ann Cooper, a leading advocate for healthy school lunches. "Chocolate milk is just sugary soda in drag."

While complete school bans are on the increase, some have yielded to pressure from students, parents and special interest groups and settled on a compromise of sorts. They've ordered reformulated the beverages that are lower in fat and calories and that replace high fructose corn syrup with sugars made from sucrose or beets.

Compared to typical half pint of chocolate milk which has 170 calories, 28 grams of sugar and one percent fat, the new kind has just 130 calories, 22 grams of sugar and almost no fat. A 20-ounce bottle of cola has 150 calories and 40 grams of sugar.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio