Chocolate Milk: OK for Kids or Too Fattening?

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momlogic's Vivian: Like many parents, I've found that trying to get my kids to drink regular milk is an exercise in futility. It's not that they don't like it, it's just that they don't like it with anything but cookies -- and I refuse to endure two kids on an endless sugar high in the name of good parenting through an upped calcium intake.

However, what has worked in enticing them toward the moo juice is the eternal wonder that is chocolate milk. THIS they can't get enough of. But I can't help but wonder: Does all that cocoa taint the pure milk goodness?

I did some cruising online and came across this Parade article that asks -- and answers -- the same question, because apparently, many folks are engaged in the very same debate.

The State of Florida, for example, has recently debated banning chocolate milk in an effort to curb the widespread obesity epidemic there among children (an estimated 32 percent of Florida kids aged 10 to 17 are considered overweight). Considering it's estimated that 75 percent of the milk Floridian kids drink is likely chocolate, and that eight ounces of .5-percent chocolate milk yields 150 calories/26 grams of sugar, while the same amount of fat-free milk has 90 calories/12 grams of sugar and eight ounces of 1-percent milk has 110 calories/12 grams of sugar, it's easy to think that a ban on the choco goodness might help things along.

However, the Parade article also mentions a study cited in a WebMD post from the University of Connecticut, which showed that fat-free chocolate milk is a WAY better choice than a sports drink when it comes to helping runners rebuild and refuel their muscles after exercise. Post-exercise biopsies of study participants found that chocolate-milk gluggers showed increased skeletal muscle protein synthesis and a higher amount of glycogen, or muscle fuel, than the sports-drink chuggers.

"[Fat-free chocolate milk is] not just a dessert item, it's very healthy -- especially for endurance athletes," exercise scientist William Lunn, Ph.D., told WebMD.

So I guess the debate remains prickly, but in light of the UConn study, I figure that fat-free chocolate milk might make for a good occasional pick-me-up for my kids.

What do you guys think? Yay or nay to chocolate milk?


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