Truth About Store-Bought Chocolate Milk
Updated: Aug 12
The other day I was standing in line at the billing counter of a Deli at Orlando Airport and this Hershey's Chocolate Milk caught my eye.
I turned it around to check the Nutrition information on it and the first thing that caught my eye was the alarming amount of sugar in it...44 grams...I mean, really? This really got me thinking - I realized that we, as parents, want the best for our kids and do whatever we can to get our kids eat healthy. But let's face it, kids can be picky and fussy with food sometimes and this can lead parents to take desperate measures.
The food industry knows how to cash out on this desperation. They pay lots of money to marketing agencies to make sure their product becomes a hot-seller. Let's take MILK as an example. For generations now, we've been told that milk is great for kids. It helps build strong bones, gives them enough protein etc. But not every kid likes the taste of milk and may refuse to drink it. But as parents, we want them to drink milk so we try adding flavors to it to entice them into drinking milk. We think we are doing good by making sure they drink their milk but little do we realize that in the process we are making some of the biggest mistakes of our lives.
Before we begin, I do want to say that there are many theories around the consumption of cow's milk - some research suggests it's good and some say it's bad. I'm neither for it or against it. My kids like the taste of milk, so I let them have it. Personally, I don't drink milk. I prefer using oat milk or almond milk whenever possible. But that's a topic for another day because today we are going to discuss the Truth About Store-Bought Chocolate Milk by breaking down some of the 'Ingredients' present in this particular brand of milk.
For decades, nutrition guidelines have recommended only low fat dairy products for everyone over 2 years old. However, in recent years, scientists have called that recommendation into question.
There are many varieties of milk available in the grocery stores - whole milk, low fat milk, skim milk etc. The difference is mainly in the percentage of fat present in them. To remove the fat, whole milk a.k.a raw milk from the cow has to undergo multi-step process.
Vit. D is a fat soluble vitamin that is naturally present in milk. When fat is removed from the milk, certain percentage of Vit. D is removed, which is why low fat milk is often fortified with Vitamin D to make up for it.
One of the most significant nutritional differences between different milk varieties is their omega-3 content. Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to many health benefits such as improved heart and brain health and a lower risk of cancer. The more fat a cup of milk has, the higher its omega-3 content.
So if you or your child are consuming low fat milk on a regular basis, you might want to look into supplementing your omega 3's to meet your daily requirement. Please check with your doctor before supplementing.
The American Heart Association recommends kids 2-18 to have less than 26 grams of sugar or 6 teaspoons of sugar per day for a healthy heart. THIS particular brand has a whooping 44 grams, that's almost double of their daily requirement.
Research shows that consuming too much sugar may lead to early onset of puberty, childhood obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer – but its detrimental effects can take years to surface.
1 cup of cows milk naturally has about 13 grams of sugar present in it. Do we really need to add more sugar to the milk?
CARRAGEENAN, CELLULOSE GUM, CELLULOSE GEL:
These are plant-based additives that are widely used by the food industry as thickeners or gelling agents. They are found in many food products such as ice creams, cottage cheese, non-dairy milk, jellies, cosmetics and even infant formula. These additives are linked to intestinal inflammation, gas, bloating, IBS, colitis and GI cancer. According to FDA, it is safe to consume these in small amounts but here's the deal - if your child is consuming these additives through processed foods everyday, they add up and may cause a havoc in your child's body in the long run.
The processed food industry adds Artificial flavors to almost everything. These flavors are chemicals that make processed food taste like real food. Processed food is often pumped with lots of preservatives to increase their shelf life, which means, they are bound to lose their flavor. So, to make the food taste like real food, these artificial flavors are added. Now, think about it - would raw milk stay in your fridge without going bad for 13 months?? Well, this one does!!
Not only do these flavors add fake flavor to foods, but they also trick your brain into wanting more by giving you that temporary 'kick'. Some health risks related to the consumption of artificial food additives include, allergic reactions and food hypersensitivity, worsening of asthmatic symptoms, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and vomiting and may cause ADHD in children.
This brand is just one example. There are a lot of other brands of chocolate milk & chocolate powders like Bournvita, Complain, Milo, Nesquik, Thrptin Disketts etc. out there that are full of unwanted chemicals but marketed as "healthy" or "high protein". Please take the time to educate yourselves about the foods you are giving your children. Give them real food choices to encourage them to eat healthier. The future of our children is in our hands!!
P.S - If your child likes & enjoys the taste of chocolate milk, you can make it the real food way. I will share the recipe for my homemade chocolate syrup soon. Stay tuned....
IF YOU FOUND THIS POST USEFUL, PLEASE SHARE THIS POST WITH YOUR FRIENDS/ FAMILY SO THEY CAN MAKE INFORMED DECISIONS ABOUT THEIR CHILD'S LIFE.
Disclaimer: All the information provided above are for information/ educational purposes only. Please talk to your healthcare provider if you have questions or concerns about your child's overall development.