Family Time: Let’s Eat
Question: What are your thoughts about kids having chocolate milk? Doesn’t it have too much sugar?
1. The sugar listed on the Nutrition Facts panel of milk is the total sugar, which includes the naturally occurring sugar (lactose) in milk as well as added sugar.
2. The amount of added sugar in chocolate milk can vary depending on the brand of chocolate milk, so you may see 8 – 12 grams (and sometimes more) of added sugar. One (level) teaspoon of sugar equals 4 grams of sugar, which equals. 15 calories. So, if chocolate milk has 12 grams of added sugar, that’s 45 additional calories from sugar.
3. If you compare milk with sweetened soda (in which all of the calories are from added sugar), a flavored milk is definitely a better choice.
The bottom line:
While milk, including flavored milk, is a nutrient dense beverage that contains protein, potassium, calcium and vitamin D, health experts have a concern about children developing a taste for sweetened beverages if this is all that is offered. For children over the age of 5, the American Academy of Pediatrics and other health organizations recommend plain milk (or soy beverage), water or limited amounts of 100 percent fruit juices.
Chocolate milk should be seen as a treat and not a staple beverage. If you are able to make your own chocolate milk at home with powder or syrup or by mixing plain milk with flavored milk, you can control and reduce the amount of added sugar.