Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Chocolate Milk – The Hero Not the Villain

Chocolate milk is attracting lots of attention lately. Is it because this beverage contains 9 essential nutrients that are an important part of a balanced diet? Is it because this delicious beverage is a favorite among children? No, it’s because chocolate milk is being blamed as a cause of childhood obesity. British television personality and chef, Jamie Oliver, is leading the fight to have chocolate milk banned from schools.

Childhood obesity is a major problem in our nation but it seems that blaming a food or beverage for this problem is a little short-sighted. Eating a balanced diet containing healthy foods is important. Chocolate milk can easily be a part of a healthy diet because it’s a great source of vitamin D, calcium and potassium – three nutrients of concern kids are lacking. In fact, flavored milk contributes only 3% of the added sugars in children’s diets.

We’ve been consuming dairy, meat, eggs, and grains for generations without obesity being a problem. However, in the past decade obesity has become a major public health challenge. Why? I have a hard time believing this is due to a certain food or beverage. Could the cause be consuming too many calories and not getting enough exercise?

I support milk, flavored or white, being served to children in schools, restaurants or at home. Studies show milk consumption decreases 35% when flavored milk is removed from schools. The dairy industry has taken action to reduce fat, calories and added sugars in flavored milk. Today, the majority of milk in schools is low-fat or fat-free and most flavored milk is at or below 150 calories.

Studies show that children who drink flavored milk drink more milk overall, have better quality diets, do not have higher intakes of added sugar or fat, and are just as likely to be a healthy weight compared to kids who do not consume flavored milk.

As a dairy producer in Ohio, I’m proud to share that chocolate milk is the official beverage of the Ohio High School Athletic Association. That’s because nutrient-rich chocolate milk provides the energy, protein, vitamins and minerals to support strong bones and bodies.

I hope you’ll join me in supporting flavored milk.

Learn more about the benefits of flavored milk @:
American Dairy Association Mideast – Flavored Milk
Got Milk? – Flavored Milk
Fuel Up with Chocolate Milk Facebook Page

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