Subsidize chocolate milk for schoolchildren!

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Unionist
Subsidize chocolate milk for schoolchildren!

I love chocolate milk. Always have. Now it's time to do something about it:

[url=Schools">http://www.cbc.ca/canada/prince-edward-island/story/2009/11/02/pei-choco... look for equal treatment for chocolate milk[/url]

Quote:
Some P.E.I. parents and educators are calling for a more affordable price for chocolate milk in Island schools.

White milk has been subsidized since the 1980s through the work of the P.E.I. School Milk Foundation, but chocolate milk isn't.

In the cafeteria at Summerside Intermediate School, it costs $2 for a 500-millilitre bottle of chocolate milk, as opposed to $0.75 for white milk. [...]

Charmaine Campbell, a registered dietitian with the Healthy Eating Alliance, said the attitudes of health professionals towards chocolate milk have changed. It used to be seen as a sugary treat, but it does have the same nutritional value as white milk, with a few extra teaspoons of sugar.

"We have heard some complaints from parents about the pricing of chocolate milk," said Campbell.

"The Healthy Eating Alliance would be supportive of having chocolate milk subsidized."

[...]

The idea of subsidizing milk in schools is not without precedent. Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick subsidize both white and chocolate milk in their schools.

 

HeywoodFloyd

Why not send the kids to school with a $0.10 package of hot chocolate powder in their lunch?

Unionist

Or powdered white milk, for that matter - then we can subsidize something REALLY important, like... ummm...

Bubbles

How much sugar is in chocolate milk? Are we not trying to get kids away from sugar? Also chocolat comes often from faraway counties that do not get a fair deal on the trade.

Fidel

Canadian governments should strive to be as generous as capitalist Britain(school meals FOC for all children) and America providing hot school lunches including milk FOC to kids from poor families. With all the oil and gas and mineral wealth being siphoned off to the states 24-7, our stooges should at the very least give kids a break in this Northern Puerto Rico.

Pogo Pogo's picture

The harm from minimal amounts of sugar and chocolate is very small in comparison to the benefits of milk and it is far easier to get kids to drink chocolate milk than regular milk.

Yes there are problems with chocolate and the supply network.  Big problems including a number of instances of child slavery.  However when I read up on it a few years ago activists were strongly discouraging any type of chocolate boycott as they believe it would make a bad situation worse.

Bubbles

Many people are alergic to lactose. It runs fairly high in people of colour. What are you going to subsidize for them?

Sure kids are going for the sugar spiked drink, that is how they are conditioned to take so much sugar in later life. But in my opinion they do much better without sugar added to their intake.

G. Muffin

Fidel wrote:
Canadian governments should strive to be as generous as capitalist Britain(school meals FOC for all children) and America providing hot school lunches including milk FOC to kids from poor families.

Fidel, I had to eat many of those British free school lunches and they were massively overpriced.  I could get behind milk (including chocolate milk) being provided but not the institutional slop they used to serve.

Fidel

G. Pie wrote:

Fidel wrote:
Canadian governments should strive to be as generous as capitalist Britain(school meals FOC for all children) and America providing hot school lunches including milk FOC to kids from poor families.

Fidel, I had to eat many of those British free school lunches and they were massively overpriced.  I could get behind milk (including chocolate milk) being provided but not the institutional slop they used to serve.

[url=http://www.jamieoliver.com/school-dinners]Jamie Oliver[/url] writes about the [url=http://www.schoolfoodtrust.org.uk/index.asp]new school standards[/url] for meals in the UK.

My elderly mother remembers school lunches, and milk and cookie snacks when she was a little girl in wartime England. Pregnant women recevied all kinds of help with pre-natal care and nutrition. I guess even Maggie the Snatcher didn't dare touch England's free hot meals for school children.

And in the Nordic countries, social democrats there have created a system of feeding centres for school aged children in every neighborhood regardless of income status. Social democracy is being done right in those countries. There they have socialism for ordinary people instead of just for the rich, like the way it is here in North America.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Actually very few people are allergic to lactose, what I believe Bubbles is referring to is lactose intolerance (also referred to as lactase deficiency)... an inability to break down the lactose in the small intestine resulting in unpleasant symptoms when the lactose moves further on into the digestive tract (this is quiet different than an allergy... which is an immune system response to a substance where the immune system produce antibodies and chemicals like histamine in response). There is a relatively simple solution to the problem Bubbles poses, apply the subsidy to soy milk, lactose free dairy and/or lactase supplements -- given the demographics of PEI, this should not prove prohibitively expensive. Subsidies could also be applied to other foods rich in calcium.

Unionist

I agree, bagkitty, as long as we give equal time to [url=Chocolate">http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chocolate-Soy-Milk/55277072750?v=info][col... Soy Milk[/url]. I've linked to the Facebook page, where you can join the other 651 fans who have thrown in their lot.

Pogo Pogo's picture

Spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.

Bubbles

Bagkitty, you are right about the lactose intolerance, my mistake.

 

Michelle

Like Bubbles, I also have misgivings about encouraging kids to drink sugar-laden drinks, even if it's sugar-laden milk.  I mean, it's better than pop, right?  But there shouldn't be pop in schools either.

I know that there are nutritionists who encourage parents to feed their kids chocolate milk if they won't drink white milk.  But it's by no means a "universal truth" that milk is a wonder drink to begin with - vegans, for instance, have raised concerns that go beyond simply the torture that cows go through in order to produce it. 

First of all, there are lots of hormones in it (and you can be sure that school milk programs aren't providing expensive organic milk).  Secondly, if you make a habit of drinking too much of it (like any other drink except water and diet drinks), the calories you're pouring down your throat to quench thirst aren't healthy either.  (This I know from experience, being a milk addict myself, from the time I was a kid!)  And adding chocolate to that doesn't help.

I mean, sure, provide free milk.  The majority of people believe it's healthy, including nutritionists, so fine.  People who feel differently can drink something else (and it would be good to have alternative choices subsidized too).  But I wouldn't go as far as dumping a bunch of sugar into milk and pretending that's a great health food that should be subsidized, too.

 

Michelle

Check this out - even according to the National Dairy Council, chocolate milk has more than 50% more calories in it than white milk, and it's all from sugar - four teaspoons of added sugar per serving!  And they tried to spin it that this is a great thing because it's less sugar than a serving of pop.  Well, yeah, it's less sugar than a doughnut too, but no one is claiming pop and doughnuts are healthy!

I think the last thing kids need these days is even more added sugar to their food, or to be encouraged to believe that high-sugar foods are good for their health.

Caissa

re. comments about NB in the OP. - Last year they stopped providing chocolate milk in our youngest son's school. The only option now is white milk.

Bubbles

How do the schools serve the milk? In those little plastic covered cartons or do they dispence it from bulk containers into glasses/cups.

Caissa

In NB, plastic covered cartons. You have the opportunity to order it by the month at a very affordable price.

Unionist

I don't care what anyone says. I love chocolate milk. My childhood would have been colder and emptier without it.

Anyway, I think fat and inactivity are bigger problems than sugar, although I sit stand to be corrected.

 

Ghislaine

unionist - how did I miss this and how are you more up on Island news than me?

I am torn on this one. Calcium, Vit. D etc. are all important...but tons of sugar? choc. milk was always considered a treat - like a chocolate bar when I was growing up. Although our local mild producer, ADL, does make a 1% chocolate milk with sucralose, so maybe that would be chosen. I am more on the side of of convincing kids to eat right. What if they won't eat their veggies - should we cover those in fat and sugar as well?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

The only chcocolate milk sold here is a 1% with added buttermilk and vitamin A and D.  Sugar: 25g in a 500 ml container. I add about a half cup of regular white milk (2%) per glass to dilute the strong chocolate flavour a bit. I only buy one 500 ml container per month or so.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Fortunately for me, my kids don't like chocolate milk that much and complain bitterly when the milk program at school doesn't order enough of the white stuff.  It's not that they don't like sugar - they're fine with hot cocoa - but they look at chocolate milk as an occasional treat, not a dietary staple.  Oh, and the chocolate milk is 1%, not 2% - you'll absorb less calcium without the fat.  I'm much less concerned about the fat than the sugar.

Also - Michelle, we don't allow cows to be given RBST in Canada - hormones in milk are a bigger issue in the States, where RBST use is very common.  Here, it's mainly prophylactic antibiotics.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

Michelle wrote:

 

First of all, there are lots of hormones in it (and you can be sure that school milk programs aren't providing expensive organic milk).  Secondly, if you make a habit of drinking too much of it (like any other drink except water and diet drinks), the calories you're pouring down your throat to quench thirst aren't healthy either.  (This I know from experience, being a milk addict myself, from the time I was a kid!)  And adding chocolate to that doesn't help.

 

 

 Hey Michelle,  Canadian milk doesn't have growth or lactation increasing hormones in it. It's illegal and the various dairy farming producers are one of the major lobbyists against it's introduction.  It's one of the positives about about the current industry here because the 'hormones are good lobby,' mosty USAian coorporations, sure have tried to get them into the cows here.  The hormones in milk thing is seepage from the US media and it's not uncommon for people to think we have the same situation here.  Canada also has pretty strict regs around the use of antibiotics in dairy cattle. Though some antibiotic use is permitted for sick cows there is a waiting period before any milk coming out them can be used. If any milk tests for antibiotic residue the whole batch is ditched. 

Hormone and broader antibiotic use is allowed in beef production though.

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Eliza, thanks for the info on antibiotics and dairy cows.  I wasn't aware of that.  Good news!

ETA:  re: beef cattle -- that's why I buy beef in bulk from a local rancher.  He doesn't use hormones, his cows are free range/grassfed and only treated with antibiotics if they're sick. 

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

 Yeah, well that's apparently the official way it's supposed to occur.  I'll admit I'm not an expert on how the regs are enforced and how the actual practice takes place.  I have read a couple of comments that there's ways to get around the regs as long as the random tests show up negative. Kinda like thwarting drug testing in humans I suppose.     The regs however are definiately a lot more strict, relative to US regs about their use and realtive to what happens in beef cattle.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

Yeah I eat little beef but as much as I do I now get it from a neighbor across the lake and from a few other local area farmers that I know don't use any of that stuff. 

I don't drink milk either but that's because straight milk makes me groggy for some reason. Cheese and butter aren't so bad as long as don't eat a lot of it.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Well, I will say up front I am not a nutritionist, but I do believe that a large part of why milk consumption is being pushed is to provided calcium... growing bones and teeth and all that. Now I am sure there are alternatives, but if I remember correctly what I was like as a wee bagkitty, I think I would be more likely to drink the milk (chocolate or white) than eat a big serving of spinach or kale. It is also more cost-effective than oysters or shrimp, and the chances of a violent allergic reaction are less than serving almonds or other nuts. So, let us look for a second at milk: it can be produced locally, high in calcium, very low incidence of allergies, most milk has the added benefit of supplemental vitamin D (remember, we are entering that winter season where we see less sunshine), intolerance is either treatable or substitutes are available. Yeah, I can see subsidizing milk. If we are that concerned about the extra sugar in it, let's tack on 15 or 30 minutes of physical activity during the school day (pretty much a good in itself).  -- This is being discussed within the context of a large public system (the PEI school system) -- and at some point the logic behind the greatest good for the greatest number has to kick in. Since I see nowhere that the children are being coerced into consuming the stuff I say go ahead and subsidize the chocolate variety too!

Michelle

That's interesting - thanks for the info about milk and hormones.  :)

I still think my point stands, though, about the sugar.  bagkitty, it's true no one is coercing the children into drinking chocolate milk.  Heck, if you provided subsidized doughnuts they probably wouldn't have to be coerced into eating those either. ;)  But is it a choice we should be encouraging and subsidizing?

Anyhow, since we're sharing school milk anecdotes... :)  When I was in grade 1, I moved to a new school where you would bring milk money and order your milk at the beginning of the week.  I remember the teacher telling my parents with some concern that I was choosing chocolate milk too often, and that I should choose plain milk as well.

How things have changed!

Merowe

 

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Michelle... I believe I suggested the consequences of consuming the sugar could be largely dealt with by increased time devoted to "physical education" -- something that I frequently see the professional organizations representing educators calling for. If it is easier to get children to consume the calcium and vitamin D that they require by providing chocolate milk in addition to the plain milk option, I would say the cost benefit analysis comes down on the side of providing them the chocolate option since the negative or cost has a relatively easy fix. Do you have an alternative proposal in mind that would be palatable to the largest number? While it might not be suitable for any particular individual child (they may actually have a true allergy to dairy products, religious objects to consuming animal byproducts etc.) it is, in general, an excellent way further addressing the nutrional requirements of the children. For some reason the George Orwell essay about rye crisps and weak tea is coming to mind.... of course George Orwell springs to my mind frequently when food issues come up (good thing we aren't in a vegetarian thread).

Laughing

Michelle

Yes - my suggestion is to encourage children to drink plain milk and WATER when they're thirsty.  In fact, I would suggest that kids be given water to drink whenever they're really thirsty (e.g. after physical activity) and milk with meals.  My son has grown up loving white milk and water.  Why?  Because I always encouraged him to drink both.  Now, he loves chocolate milk too.  But he knows that's a treat, not every day food.  Milk is real food, chocolate milk is a treat.  And water is a thirst-quencher.  Pop is a treat. 

This is probably going to be controversial, but I also consider juice to be a "meal drink" as well, instead of a "thirst quencher", because it's got a ton of sugar in it - yes, it's natural sugar, but it's still sugar, and in juice form, that natural sugar doesn't have the same fiber content of real fruit to compensate. 

Real fruit is, of course, unlimited.  I've never had a problem with my kid eating too much fruit, though. :D

Fidel

I'm not sure of the integrity of this source, but it sounds good to me.

 

Quote:
[url=http://www.healingdaily.com/detoxification-diet/sugar.htm]One of sugar's major drawbacks[/url] is that it raises the insulin level, which inhibits the release of growth hormones, which in turn depresses the immune system. This is not something you want to take place if you want to avoid disease.

 

I think kids are already prone to eating the wrong kinds of calories high in sugar and starch. Salt is another good one to stay away from early in life.

HeywoodFloyd

Our kids have been raised on healthy food so much that they don't like pop at all and voluntarily eat only two halloween treats per day. Kids don't need added sugar. There's enough already in food. Same goes for salt.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

A bit of drift.

 

Chocolate milk it seems is better than Gatorade for post-workout recovery.

 

http://www.bio-medicine.org/medicine-news-1/Chocolate-Milks-Natural-Muscle-Recovery-Benefits-Match-or-May-Even-Surpass-a-Specially-Designed-Carbohydrate-Sports-Drink-47460-1/

 

Quote:
All of the athletes increased their daily training times during the intensified training, regardless of post-exercise beverage yet after two and four days of intensified training, chocolate milk drinkers had significantly lower levels of creatine kinase - an indicator of muscle damage - compared to when they drank the carbohydrate beverage.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I've never tasted Gatorade or any other "sport" drinks, and certainly none of the really scary stuff. Why anyone 'needs' this crap is beyond me - I grew up playing contact sports with nothing other than regular pop drinks afterward.

triciamarie

Fidel wrote:

My elderly mother remembers school lunches, and milk and cookie snacks when she was a little girl in wartime England. Pregnant women recevied all kinds of help with pre-natal care and nutrition.

Interesting to recall that food supplements in wartime England were in large part funded through the massive and sophisticated British propaganda campaign, which helped set the stage for modern warfare.

Absolutely the state should fund good food and healthy eating. Personally it makes me really mad though that my kids get given chocolate milk at school, because they have had nothing but white milk at home and now they don't like it. 1% chocolate milk is probably on the whole actually healthier than 2% white but the problem in my view is that it changes their tastes and encourages them to want and expect sugar, including other sugary (or sugar substitute) drinks ie pop which I think is extremely detrimental -- politically as well as nutritionally.

My preference would be to support communal gardens, kitchens, and cafeterias, including school cafeterias where students are involved hands-on in planning the meals, shopping and cooking.

Fidel

She says before the war there was a pint of milk and one cookie for a snack in school. And they received two teaspoons of codliver oil. She went home for dinners, because they lived not far. But poor kids, she says, all got free hot meals even back then. My rellies' kids over there have good meals at school, and then they only want a light tea after school. I used to love four o'clock teas when I was a kid in England. Of course, the food we ate then in the 70's and early 80's wouldn't be considered very nutritious or healthy food now. They go in a lot for Indian and Chinese food now. The fish n chippys are still around, but the one I frequented near Sheffield then was owned by a Greek family. It was a mile walk or quick trip on a bike, but it was worth it. And it was near the youth club and lots of things for local kids to do even on rainy days.

Unionist

Ghislaine wrote:

unionist - how did I miss this and how are you more up on Island news than me?

I was just subbing for you while you were no doubt busy with something else. No charge!

PS: Have I mentioned that I love chocolate milk? I must however try Boom Boom's dilution formula. "Too much of a good thing" is definitely a wise saying.