Chocolate Milk Makes Children Healthier — REALLY?

Is chocolate milk really good for your child?

Is chocolate milk really good for your child or grandchild?

Maybe the recent study results will have you thinking differently about whether or not to offer flavored milk to children.

As a grandparent, I feel it is important to follow the rules and guidelines established by my daughter and her husband for their children. That means that sometimes I don’t get to indulge the grandchildren in some of the delicious treats I’d like to offer from time to time. It also means that conflicting ideas causes confusion about what’s best for children.

But parents are smart to limit some of the food options for their children. Chocolate is one of those questionable foods that should be limited.

Now there is a new study that calls into question whether or not chocolate milk is really good for a child. Many parents do not let their children drink chocolate milk because they do not see the nutritional value in it. But a new study may change their minds.

Study results

In a recent study conducted by the Milk Processor Education Program of the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association (SUDIA), Inc., in 58 schools nationwide, researchers concluded that children choose flavored milk over unflavored milk 70% of the time. When flavored milk is not an option, milk consumption dropped by as much as 43% in the study. Limiting the availability of flavored milk could potentially result in reducing intake of essential nutrients for children when they need it most.

According to a recent article published by the Richmond area Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, parents would be wise to think twice about the importance of flavored milk in their child’s diet. A healthy diet includes a variety of healthy food choices, and one of those choices may be flavored, or chocolate milk.

Comparing choices

It is true that flavoring can add calories and sugar to milk consumption, but even with this addition it is still healthier than soft drinks or some other choices children make. For example:

  • chocolate milk contains 2-7 mg. caffeine compared to iced tea or soft drinks that include 10-35 mg. caffeine
  • calcium, phosphorus, protein, and cocoa in chocolate milk may protect tooth decay
  • people with limited ability to digest lactose may tolerate chocolate milk more easily than unflavored milk.

While unflavored milk should always be offered and encouraged, flavored milk may be a viable alternative for children who refuse the taste of unflavored milk.

Nutritional value

Flavored milk still contains the same nutritional value of regular milk and it is a nutrient-rich food. And even with the availability of flavored milk, many children still opt for the taste of unflavored milk.

Many Richmond area schools do offer choices of regular or chocolate milk, but parents may not allow their children to choose chocolate milk. This could mean that children are avoiding milk altogether.

If your child or grandchild attends a Richmond area school, you may want to ensure that he or she is offered multiple choices when it comes to milk — especially if the child will not drink regular milk. Allowing your child to choose flavored milk can be one more way to help her get the essential vitamins and nutrients needed to build healthy bones and teeth.

Parents should talk with their child’s doctor if they have concerns about a child drinking flavored milk, and decide what is best for him or her.

What do you think?

This new study makes chocolate milk a more attractive option for children who absolutely refuse regular milk, or for children who simply do not consume enough milk to get needed Vitamin D.

Let us know what you think about offering flavored milk to your children or grandchildren. Our readers always offer valuable insights into these types of things and we love hearing from you. After all, scientific research is only part of the decision-making process.

Until then, I think I’ll mix up a pitcher of chocolate flavored milk and try a glass myself!


Rhonda is the mother of two adult daughters and a grandmother to five wonderful grandchildren – and our only grandmother on staff. She spent 25 years in corporate healthcare managing prenatal and disease management programs. She is the Content Manager for Richmondmom and contributes her expertise as both a mom and grandmother – while sorting out the many opportunities for our valuable advertisers.

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