Milk — whether white, strawberry or chocolate — plays a vital role in helping Americans, especially children, get the nutrients they need for good health. Flavored milk is a terrific way for kids, teens and adults to enjoy milk and get the same nine essential nutrients found in milk — nutrients that can help kids grow into strong and healthy adults.
Milk, including flavored, is the number-one food source of three of the four nutrients the Dietary Guidelines for Americans say both adults and children need to consume more of —– vitamin D, calcium and potassium. Research shows that children who drink flavored milk drink more milk overall, have better quality diets, do not consume more added sugar or fat and are just as likely to be at a healthy weight compared to kids who do not consume flavored milk. In fact, flavored milk contributes only 4% of the added sugars to children’s diets ages 2-18, while soft drinks and non-carbonated sweetened beverages contribute about 40% of the added sugars.
Dr. Robert Murry is a pediatrician and professor of Nutrition at The Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology. He spent 20 years at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and served as Director of the Borden Center for Nutrition & Wellness. Promoting school policies that combat obesity, Dr. Murray also chaired the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on School Health. Hear some of his thoughts on the topic of flavored milk consumption in children in these short videos:
Is chocolate milk good for my family?
Yes. Flavored milk provides the same nine essential nutrients as white milk, including vitamin D, calcium and potassium — three nutrients that both adults and children don’t get enough of, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. A child having fat-free flavored milk is a much better choice than a child having no milk at all.
Why is flavored milk served at schools?
Several leading health and nutrition organizations, including the Dietary Guidelines, recognize the valuable role that milk, including low fat and fat-free flavored milk, can play in meeting daily nutrient needs. They also recognize the small amount of added sugars in flavored milk is an acceptable trade-off for the nutrients provided. Keeping nutrient-rich, flavored milk on the school menu helps ensure children get key vitamins and minerals that they need for strong bones and healthy bodies.
Isn’t flavored milk just full of sugar?
Flavored milk contributes only 4% of the total added sugars in children’s diets, 2% of the calories, and provides nine essential nutrients, making it a better choice than many other beverages. Additionally, the dairy industry has reformulated flavored milks available in schools to reduce fat, calories and added sugars by an estimated 38% and the majority contain an average of 134 calories per 8 ounce serving — only 31 more than white milk.