Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sugar in Chocolate Milk

I've written about the high sugar content in chocolate milk before, but it was a while ago, so I don't think it hurts to revisit the topic.

Just to recap, the sugar content in 250ml of chocolate milk is 26g.  The same quantity of 2% white milk provides 12g of sugar, which means that each cup of chocolate milk is spiked with 14g of sugar.

That is the equivalent of 3 1/3 teaspoons of sugar that does not naturally occur in cow's milk.

I was at a nutrition workshop last week, where we heard a nutritionist pooh-poohing Dr. Yoni Freedhoff's anti chocolate milk stance.  Dr. Freedhoff, if you don't know already, is the Ottawa physician behind the popular blog, Weighty Matters.

She thought he was rather extreme in his views, because didn't he realize that much of the sugar in chocolate milk is naturally occurring?

Actually, I think he is well aware of this.  Seemingly, the nutritionist, employed by our local Health Unit, is not particularly concerned about children consuming more than 3 teaspoons of sugar in a drink.  She appeared to be much more concerned about ensuring that children eat plenty of "heart healthy whole grains" and cut their fat consumption - you can imagine what I think about children eating reduced-fat cheese, which she wholeheartedly endorsed, but that's a topic for another day.

My son is 14, and I witness daily how being a teenager causes quantities to be supersized.  When a teenager takes a drink on the go, we're not talking about just a cup.  A 500ml serving is more likely to be the minimum that he'll chug down.    This means a teenager who purchases a chocolate milk drink from the school vending machine is quite likely to consume over 6 1/2 teaspoons of added sugar.

This is why I agree more with Dr. Freedhoff than the accommodating nutritionist at our local Health Unit.

And yes, I do buy chocolate milk from time to time - as an occasional treat.  My children like it, even though I am very uncomfortable with the sugar content.  When they were younger, I used to top up a glass of chocolate milk with regular milk, but nowadays they help themselves to whatever they find in the fridge.  Most of the time they drink water or milk instead though. Or they make their own smoothies with fruit or cocoa.

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