Who knew that chocolate milk could stir up such controversy? In June, flavored milk was officially banned in Los Angeles schools, thanks partly to crusading celebrity chef and healthy school lunch advocate Jamie Oliver.
Oliver has said that flavored milk contains the same amount of sugar as a candy bar. Perhaps the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) listened — flavored milk cartons will contain fewer than 150 calories and 22 grams of total sugar this school year, reports Reuters. While MilkPEP CEO Vivien Godfrey acknowledges that there are still “some added sugars” in flavored milk, she believes that a lot of kids don’t want to drink plain milk, and thus this revamped flavored milk strikes a “happy balance.” It may come as no surprise then that MilkPEP found that 35 percent less milk gets consumed when students do not have flavored milk available.
Oliver’s website says, “when kids drink chocolate and strawberry milk every day at school, they’re getting nearly two gallons of extra sugar each year.”
Even with the reduced sugar content of flavored milk, this move seems more like a baby step than a giant leap forward. We like to look at our glass of milk half full though — a baby step is better than no step at all.