School Lunch

Chocolate Milk Ban Backfires for School Lunch Programs

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Cornell University Food and Brand Lab

Take chocolate milk away from school kids and they'll simply drink regular milk instead, right? Well, no, and a new school lunch study proves it.

The study, published in PLOS ONE, looks at data collected from 11 Oregon elementary schools where chocolate milk was banned from cafeteria sales. The idea behind these bans was to get kids to switch from chocolate milk to less sugary and more nutritious options, such as regular milk. Wanna guess how that turned out?

According to Cornell University researchers, the chocolate milk ban resulted in students buying 10 percent less milk overall and wasting 29 percent more of the milk they did purchase. At the same time, the school district saw a 7 percent decrease in overall lunch program participation, which may also be related to the chocolate milk ban. 

Students at these Oregon elementary schools did wind up consuming less sugar and fewer calories, the researchers note. However, they also consumed less protein and calcium overall. 

"There are other ways to encourage kids to select white milk without banning the chocolate," said researcher Brian Wansink, who advocates more of a "nudge" approach to changing school lunch choices: "Make white milk appear more convenient and more normal to select." 

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  1. Um, how do you make white milk more convenient?

    And really, make it more normal than darker varieties? That’s RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACIST!

    1. Needz more diversity.

      1. “Make white milk appear more convenient and more normal to select.”

        Do the people making such statements think before opening their pieholes about how racist their phrasing sounds?

        1. This is what happens you’re not doing “phrasing” anymore. /Archer

  2. “There are other ways to encourage kids to select white milk without banning the chocolate,” said researcher Brian Wansink, who advocates more of a “nudge” approach to changing school lunch choices: “Make white milk appear more convenient and more normal to select.”

    Wow, how about let them choose what they want?

    1. Yeah, how’s that for a plan?

      Chocolate milk in the quantities given at school lunch counters is actually quite healthy, especially for kids.

      1. Or whole chocolate milk would be for most kids, including the obese. Skim is crap.

  3. Children love plain milk! Clearly, they lack access to it. If only the government would spend a few dollars per child per day, more children would drink plain milk! It is a win-win for everybody!

  4. “Make white milk appear more convenient and more normal to select.”

    Shun the unmutual food-choice renegades! Their foodspeak is inward and not of the body! Unmutual!

  5. I always thought chocolate milk was disgusting, myself. White for me, please.

    1. I remember trying chocolate milk once in kindergarten. It was horrible. How do Normals have such bad taste?

      1. We’ve never worn the DoomCock.

        1. The Doomcock has eight times more tastebuds per square centimeter than a human tongue. And, thankfully, an on/off switch for the function.

      2. When I was little, that’s where all the milk polluted with blood but less blood than the maximum allowable by the FDA went. Or at least that was one theory at the time.

      3. I remember it being a total sugar bomb, and not wanting to switch.

        Unlike my choices in women.

    2. I usually went for plain whole milk (what is the point of low fat milk?) in school too. And I’d drink other people’s milk if they didn’t want it. A friend of mine and I had a theory that if you drank enough milk in one sitting, you would have a milk orgasm.

      1. If by milk orgasm you mean uncontrollable projectile vomiting, then you were right.

        1. Which might resemble an orgasm. Especially if you’re a dickhead…

    3. White for me, please.

      Racist. Straight up.

  6. The idea behind these bans was to get kids to switch from chocolate milk to less sugary and more nutritious options, such as regular milk.

    “Regular milk” to me is whole milk, but that is banned. I would go to 2% next, but that is also banned.

    1. No, no, children with developing brains obviously need fewer fatty acids. They could become obese!

      1. I was told that while kids do need fat for their brains, there are better ways to get fat then through milk. Like through chicken.

        1. Lowfat white meat from free range chickens fed their natural vegetarian diet, of course.

          1. Wait, what? Why would you eat the parts that taste the least?

          2. Chickens eat vegetarians? Now I know why vegetarians are concentrated in cities, it’s fear of the beaked terror.

          3. Lowfat white meat from free range chickens fed their natural vegetarian diet, of course.

            Hopefully you’re kidding. Chickens are about as vegetarian as I am. This from a guy who killed his own dinner.

        2. Do you have any idea how many chickens you’d have to milk to get a quart?

    2. 2% is banned?? WTF?

      1. Yup. 1% and fat free only.

        1. Wow. I don’t recall ever seeing low fat milk in school (except for the chocolate milk, interestingly). I though people knew that whole milk was better for kids.

          When will people figure out that just because fat is called “fat” that doesn’t mean it is the main thing in food that makes people get fat?

          1. That would be bread.

    3. Yeah, what they’re giving kids now is skim milk, which is actually much less nutritious than 2% or full-fat milk.

      1. That is… shocking. In that case, I will reverse my earlier stance and prefer the chocolate milk. Skim is vile.

        1. Agree. I don’t know how they think they could package skim milk to make it appealing, it doesn’t taste good, it is not nutritious, and it has surprisingly high calories to boot, ounce for ounce about the same as beer.

      2. When I was a kid, my grandma had her own cows, and a separator that she put some of the milk through. The cream was used to maker butter, the skim milk was used to make slop for the hogs. I remember being told that the skim milk was not fit for human consumption.

        Why have so many people today forgotten the wisdom of their elders?

        1. I occasionally cook with “buttermilk” (the stuff left over when you make butter), but I would never drink it.

  7. I wouldn’t drink plain milk when I was a kid. But I did drink chocolate milk.

  8. Give-em all Ovaltine. The European kind, not the chalk dust they sell in the US.

  9. Kids should be required to bring in their mother’s milk, not drink some bovine crap. By law.

    1. Only regulated human breast milk of course. I’ll volunteer to lead this department.

    2. Bullies would have a field day.

  10. Lowfat Milk May Not Be As Healthy As We Thought, Says Harvard Expert

    One cup of 2-percent milk contains 12.3 grams of sugar, more than a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup and almost as much as a chocolate chip cookie. Consider that the recommendations for sugar intake call for just 12 grams a day (three teaspoons, at 4 grams each) for children. So one serving of milk a day would put a child over the limit, two cups a day would top a woman’s limit of 5 teaspoons, and three cups a day would top a man’s limit of 8-9 teaspoons.

    1. The “recommendations” are full of shit, would be my guess.

    2. And what if they ‘binge-drink’ the stuff?

    3. Its almost like nature knows what it is doing.

  11. 1. Get rid of that skim milk crap. If you’re going to drink skim milk, why not just drink water instead – damn near the same thing.

    2. Get a supplier who won’t load their CM with more sugar than fecking soda. Yeah, I know – pretty much impossible in a place that adds sugar to hotdog buns.

  12. When I bought school lunches I had to throw my 5 cent 1/2 pint of milk in the trash if I couldn’t give it away. The school lunch program mandated I had to take the milk from the lunchroom ladies even though I don’t drink the stuff.

    1. Orange drink was my jam. I drank enough milk at home, and besides it was never cold from the cafeteria. Lukewarm milk is barftastic.

      1. Lukewarm milk is barftastic.

        Literally. Were they trying to make kids sick?

    2. The school lunch program mandated I had to take the milk from the lunchroom ladies even though I don’t drink the stuff.

      That would be an awesomely wise policy in a school with a lot of Asian kids who are lactose intolerant and don’t feel like spending the rest of the day and night suffering gastric distress from drinking stuff their bodies can’t handle.

  13. I mostly used my milk for blowing bubbles. Used to get a big laugh.

  14. Milk is nasty. Its only redeeming feature is its high visibility when it sprays out your buddy’s nose in the cafeteria after a well-timed joke.

    1. Mad Scientist, why don’ more people understand this?

      1. Because they were brainwashed by Sesame Street.

        1. Oy vey….I’ve remembered that faux-panic song for years.
          Whoever wrote it should get an award of some kind.

  15. I dont understand why they have milk at all…why not just drink water? I imagine a five letter L word is behind this…

    1. ‘Lesbian’ has seven letters.

      1. Damn, ya beat me to it!

    2. Why would a lesbo be involved?

      /pics, or it didn’t happen

  16. It’s racism, I tell you. They cut out the chocolate milk so kids have to drink WHITE milk. That’s WHITE POWER at work. You think the kids don’t know what they’re being fed? They’r smarter than the WHITE POWER school administrators.

    1. Somewhere on the intertubes this argument is probably being made, for real.

      1. Perhaps I should’ve BOLD the words to make it more succinctly…

        In other news, ATF & FDA approved Powered Alcohol. I can just see the lawsuit coming.

  17. ‘ … less sugary and more nutritious options, such as regular milk.’

    Okay. The ‘less sugary’ part makes sense, but how is regular milk ‘more nutritious’ than chocolate? It has all the same nutrients, it simply has some chocolate syrup added to that. Since chocolate has some nutrients of its own, I’d say the chocolate milk is actually more nutritious.

  18. What about strawberry milk? Or was that already banned years ago?

  19. Milk, white or chocolate, isn’t really a good choice to accompany a meal. And water is too prison like. At least some schools could have tea or mineral water. Juice is a bit too sugary, they might as well drink soda and pop a vitamin C instead.

  20. I’m not much of a milk drinker, but among milks I like skim, or better, non-fat (reconstituted). It tastes milkier without that butterfat in the way.

    But I can scarcely imagine the taste of the person above who was disgusted by chocolate milk. Chocolate improves so many things! Ever had chicken flautas con mole poblano? OK, it probably wouldn’t be so good in chicken soup and a few other things, but it’s like, made for milk. Or even in filled milk as in Yoo-Hoo.

    1. It could be the too much sugar for my taste. I normally love chocolate.

  21. Ever taste human milk as an adult? My friend Robin-Ann’s was somewhat salty.

  22. There is nothing more normal for a kid than chocolate milk. When I was in grade school, I would pass by a dairy store on the way home. They had regular (no non- or reduced-fat) chocolate milk IN BOTTLES! On a hot day, drinking a pint of “the good stuff” from a glass bottle was heaven! These days, I am lucky to get 2% chocolate milk in a plastic container. Newer is not always better.

  23. the school district saw a 7 percent decrease in overall lunch program participation,

    This is a good start. 93% more to go!

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