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Chocolate Milk Just Got More Jamie Oliver-Friendly

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Awhile back, there was some talk among public schools to ban chocolate milk. The initiative prompted by Jamie Oliver and other school districts was weighed in reaction to the growing rates of child obesity. Considering the amount of sugar in flavored milks, the reasoning was fair. But instead of banning chocolate milk, the product will be reintroduced this fall with less calories and sugar.

The New York Times reports on the changeover taking place this September:

The eight-ounce cartons of fat-free and low-fat chocolate milk served in schools will have 38 percent less added sugar and just 31 more calories than regular white milk, said the Milk Processor Education Program, or MilkPEP, the industry group that runs the national “Got Milk?” campaign. On average, cartons of flavored milk will contain less than 150 calories and 22 grams of total sugar this year, the group said.

This effort may perhaps be more effective than banning the schoolyard staple altogether, as studies have found that when children don’t have access to flavored milk — they don’t drink it at all. Daily milk consumption on campuses where kids only had access to plain milk fell 35%.

Because this debate all comes down to the nutrition of kids, it seems counterproductive to discontinue their sometimes only source of vitamins. This revamping of chocolate milk in the wake of child obesity reads like a happy medium, but I’d recommend also throwing some soy milk or rice milk alternatives into that cafeteria line.