Chocolate milk_friend or foe ?

Nicole Gastonguay
Move over, Cupcake, there’s a new lightning rod in the school food debate, and her name is Chocolate Milk. The Milk Processor Education Program has teamed up with the National Dairy Council, and according to the Associated Press, they’re spending big bucks to defend chocolate milk’s reputation. Turns out some people question its continued presence on school cafeteria menus.
So, its defenders are playing hardball, with a You Tube video featuring celebrities like Rebecca Romijn, plus a coterie of registered dietitians.  On the other side of the debate are academics, like Marion Nestle, PhD of NYU, who shine a bright light on the campaign’s hefty budget and the money at stake and question its underlying premise–that kids won’t drink milk if it’s not chocolatey.
As if that weren’t juicy enough, the New York Times just reported on a small Spanish study that suggests that drinking skim milk with cocoa reduced inflammation and boosted HDL (good) cholesterol.  Of course, there’s no mention of sugar, since pure cocoa powder (unlike chocolate milk) contains none.
And therein lies the rub.
Chocolate milk: good or evil?  Seems everyone is taking sides.

Cheryl Sternman Rule is a widely-published food writer and the voice behind the blog 5 Second Rule
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