Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Wash. Post's Sorry Coverage of Chocolate Milk

Kids love sugar any which way

By Ed Bruske

aka The Slow Cook

The most popular story in today's Washington Post concerns the "controversy" over flavored milk in schools. Two jurisdictions in the paper's readership area--the District of Columbia and Fairfax County--have recently banned milk with added sugar from their cafeterias. But because of complaints from the community, Fairfax County this month announced that it is re-introducing chocolate milk, except with cane sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup.

As if there's a difference!

Too bad the Post reporter behind the story didn't do a little more homework. He might have reported how D.C. parents have pressed to eliminate flavored milk and the incredibly sugary breakfasts Chartwells routinely was serving in D.C. schools, and how sugar unregulated by school meal standards has no place on the menu in the middle of an obesity epidemic.

He might have mentioned the recent report from the Institute of Medicine finding that children are not suffering a "calcium crisis," as the dairy industry would have us believe.

He might have noted that prominent nutritionists, such as Walter Willett, head of the nutriton department at Harvard University, declare that milk is not an essential nutrient.

Or that the "study" so often cited by the dairy industry as indicating kids won't drink milk if it doesn't have sugar in it was really no study at all. It was paid for by the dairy industry!

Or that the problem with chocolate milk--or strawberry milk, or root beer flavored, or grape flavored--isn't the calories, it's the metabolic effects of sugar directly linked to obesity and a host of serious health problems, such as diabetes, hypertension, and coronary artery disease. Sugar is a key player in the so-called "metabolic syndrome."

Healthy school food advocates really need to get their talking points in order on the issue of flavored milk. It's not enough to compare chocolate milk with apple pie. People like apple pie too much. There are plenty of scientifically sound reasons to object to sugary milk served in schools. Reporters for powerful media outlets such as The Washington Post should know what they are.

Fortunately, D.C. Public Schools officials--most importantly food services director Jeffrey Mills--are sticking by their decision to keep sugary milk off the menu. This is something we now want to encode in the district's wellness policy.


  1. Fantastic article! It is too bad that cane sugar is getting all kinds of positive reviews, it is still sugar!!

  2. Thank you for pointing out the facts on this important issue. It constantly amazes me what is allowed to be served to children at schools.

  3. Good, well informed article.

  4. Feeble minded government employees empowered to feed our children. Uninformed/weak parents who enable and stand by without action. Kids get the shaft.

  5. Get children to drink WATER and not some flavored/sugary/light/whatever shit they seem to drink all the time…

  6. I remember when the only "sugary" item we got was the dessert cup at the end of the meal. Allowing companies and kids to drive what parents support is ridiculous. Even more ridiculous is allowing the gov't to regulate things. They are the most corporate driven entity in our nation.

  7. Great post!! Thank you for pointing out the facts. It's too bad the newspaper couldn't do that.

  8. Pleased to read the report. It is worth noting that milk has plenty of naturally present sugar in the form of lactose.

  9. I can only think of Jamie Oliver in Food Revolution saying that the flavored milk had as much sugar in it as a can of soda. It's insane that the government pushes it as a healthy drink choice.


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  11. Robert, it's true that the typical 8-ounc carton of low-fat milk contains about 12 grams (three teaspoons) of naturally occurring sugar in the form of lactose. Unfortunately, lactose isn't very sweet at all. The real villain is the added sugar and especially fructose. In a typical carton of chocolate milk, about 14 grams of sugar are added, making the total amount of sugar in the milk a bit less--ounce-for-ounce--than what you would find in a can of Coke.

    Cain sugar is typically half fructose, while high-fructose corn syrup--strangely enough--may contain somewhat less fructose. Unfortunately, the body treats fructose as a toxin. It is metabolozed in the liver, where it is treated the same as alcohol and becomes the mechanism for a host of bad results. It is converted almost directly into fat, but also raises blood pressure, raises triglyceride (fat) in the blood, supresses HDL (good cholesterol) and increases the dangerous, arterial plaque-forming particles in LDL.

    Thuse, fructose emerges as the leading villain in obesity, diabetes, hypertesion and coronary artery disease. And this is what kids are getting in their chocolate milk.

  12. Not only for obesity...BUT, after they feed this trash to your child, they expect him to sit still and learn something! Then because it is physically IMPOSSIBLE to sit still after eating 28 grams of sugar! they insist that you MEDICATE your child for ADHD! AND...if the child has put this flavored milk on SUGAR ceral...he has DOUBLED the grams of sugar! It's NO WONDER there is an obesity/behavior problem in our schools! I defy ANYONE to consume 56 grams of sugar in one meal, and then sit still for longer than 10 minutes! Just saying...

  13. Thanks for the post. This blog was retweeted twice once in twitter and the other in https:identi.ca

    Thanks a lot for the post. :D

  14. Your discussion on re-introducing chocolate milk is very informative.