The war against childhood obesity has set its sights on an unlikely new target: milk. It seems chocolate milk, a school lunch staple for generations, is the latest school menu item to come under fire for its high sugar content.
Like all milk, chocolate milk is fortified with vitamins and calcium, but it also contains about twice as much sugar as plain low-fat milk. Clearly the plain variety is the healthier choice, but its flavor is less popular than math tests with many students; if denied a chocolate option there’s a good chance thousands of kids will forgo milk all together at school. So while they’d be consuming less sugar, they’d also be getting less vitamins and calcium, which are essential for growing bodies.
Claire McCarthy, MD, a pediatrician and mother raising five children, shares her thoughts on the chocolate milk controversy, and how fixating on one part of a child’s diet or lifestyle may distract from the overall picture of a child’s health habits.