As schools across the country are removing chocolate milk from their meal menus to help children reduce their sugar intake, a study finds most kids will take the change in stride.
The research conducted by the University of California’s Nutrition Policy Institute found that milk consumption declined by about 1 ounce per student in schools that had switched to offering only regular milk.
The study found that the number of students who selected milk during lunch dropped by about 14 percent in the year the chocolate milk was removed.
The decline resulted in a small but statistically insignificant decrease in the average amount of calcium, protein or vitamin D consumed from milk, according to the university. However, the removal did reduce the added sugar consumption from milk by an average of 3.1 grams per student.
Critics of removing chocolate milk from schools have argued it would reduce students’ intake of the nutrient that milk provides, such as calcium, protein and vitamin D. However, the study results suggest that removing the treat from lunchtime offerings may reduce middle and high school students’ added sugar intake without compromising nutrition or increasing milk waste, university officials said.
The study was conducted by NPI affiliated researchers Hannah Thompson and Esther Park from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health in collaboration with NPI researchers Lorrene Ritchie and Wendi Gosliner, and Kristine Madsen from the Berkeley Food Institute and UC Berkeley School of Public Health. The study was published online on August 27, 2020 in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease.