If you've heard me talk about school nutrition before, you know that growing up my health nut mother wouldn't allow me the chicken fingers, mini pizzas, and soggy cafeteria fries of the world. And for the most part, chocolate milk was out too, but once in a while I remember the excitement when I would get a chocolate milk. My eyes widened with each chocolatey sip. How could this sweet frothy beverage cause such controversy?
Well, in all seriousness, I knew full well as a child that chocolate milk was a treat, but for some kids it's a daily source of sugar laden calcium. But according to the Washington Post, Fairfax County and D.C. schools banned chocolate milk last year from elementary lunch lines and it was a real source of contention. Schools received letters and petitions from a slew of nutritionists and influential special interest groups.
"We got 10 to 20 e-mails a day," said Penny McConnell, director of food and nutrition services for Fairfax. "It was a lot of pressure."
According to the article:
This month — and partly because of that pressure — Fairfax officials announced that they would reintroduce chocolate milk in school cafeterias. The newer, low-fat version includes sucrose, which is made from sugar cane or beets, instead of high-fructose corn syrup, which some critics say is more heavily processed and, as a result, less healthy.
But even still, flavored milks are calorically dense and full of sugar.
The stakes are high because more than 70 percent of the milk distributed in school cafeterias is flavored, according to the Milk Processor Education Program, an industry group. Fairfax alone serves 62,000 gallons of chocolate milk a year. And the formulations used in many cafeterias across the country have more calories, ounce for ounce, than Coke.
"Trying to get students to consume calcium by drinking chocolate milk is like getting them to eat apples by serving them apple pie," said Ann Cooper, a leading advocate for healthy school lunches.
Recently, Mother Nature Network reported that Jamie Oliver spoke out for the flavored milk ban. On a recent episode of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, he used some serious drama to show LA County parents how much sugar is being pumped into their kids each week. Oliver is outspoken on school nutrition and he sure knows how to get his point across. Watch the video below:
Jamie Oliver on Flavored Milks
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