Reporting Gigi Barnett
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Schools have long offered chocolate milk along with regular during lunch. But now some school districts nationwide are banning chocolate milk.
Gigi Barnett explains that schools say getting rid of it could reduce sugar, calories and possibly childhood obesity.
For some children the best part of the school day is lunch. Right next to the pizza, peas and rice is the chocolate milk. But now school districts nationwide are getting rid of the chocolate in milk.
The problem schools say: chocolate milk is loaded with sugar.
“We don’t want to sprinkle sugar over the entire meal,” said one official. “Why would we dump it in our milk?”
So Matt Hornbeck pulled chocolate and strawberry-flavored milk from the shelves at Hampstead Hills Academy back in October. He is the principal there.
That decision put him in a league with several school districts in California, Colorado and Washington that are doing the same—all in the name of reducing childhood obesity.
“Milk does not need added sugar,” said Hornbeck, Hampstead Hills Academy principal. “We’re happy and the kids are happy without it.”
Eight ounces of non-flavored milk has about 14 grams of sugar. The same amount of chocolate milk has 20 grams of sugar. But it’s seven grams shy of the of the sugar in an eight-ounce glass of soda.
“You’re not getting the calcium, vitamin D and protein in soda like you are the flavored milks,” said Alison Massey, a dietician at St. Joseph Medical Center.
Massey says even with the added sugar, there’s still some nutritional value in chocolate milk that students won’t get if they’re only offered white milk.
“When you think about the importance of calcium, especially during that period in life as far as strong bones and teeth, I think it’s important to get their calcium in, and other high-calcium foods are things kids might not eat.”
Experts say more than 70 percent of the milk consumed in school is flavored.