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Chocolate milk helps kids shed the pounds!

Posted by on Apr 2, 2013 in Blog Posts | 8 comments

chocolate-milkThis study about beverages and BMI (Public Health Nutrition Journal)  in a sampling of Mexican American children showed that the more flavored milk kids drank, the lower the BMI. (Soda was associated with an increased risk of “obesity,” interestingly, juice and other sugar-sweetened beverages showed no effect…)

OK, I don’t really believe that chocolate milk makes kids thinner, or fatter. I believe there is a complex play of factors, from genetics to poverty, to timing of meals and eating…

I just wanted to take a cue from  “science” reporting, where study findings are extrapolated, and correlated, and twisted and biased (I’m making that into a verb), to get the desired headline. You can bet if the study showed that chocolate milk was associated with higher BMI, the headlines would scream, “Chocolate milk to blame for childhood obesity epidemic.” Also, banning sugar-sweetened beverages currently is the go-to answer for combating childhood obesity, and we continue to push low-fat milk and fat-free dairy, in spite of mounting evidence that dairy fat is not to blame for increasing BMIs, and some studies suggest that low-fat dairy products are associated with higher BMIs…

Sigh. It’s so confusing and anxiety-provoking, as we ricochet between dietary “culprits”, from fat to sugar to refined flour… I continue to advocate for family meals, the Division of Responsibility, feeding in a tuned in and responsive manner that respects the child’s internal regulation skills, and serving a variety of balanced and tasty choices (including chocolate milk, sometimes juice, and sometimes, even soda).

What do you think?


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  1. inge

    I’m playing a game with the headlines made from such studies: I switch what they offer as cause and effect. So, thinner kids get to drink more chocolate milk. Might not be the correct explanation of the correlation, but helps to retain scepticism.

  2. Layna

    I am a mom to a 1.5 year-old who is just learning about eating competency. I love Ellyn Satter’s methods, and was glad to find your blog in my FB feed this morning. Thanks for your work!

  3. Elizabeth

    I too remember the kick-off of fat-phobia. Telescoped history to the best of my recollection: seed-oil companies and pharmaceutical researchers started promoting with the idea that dietary animal/saturated fat was the cause of ill health in the 60s and 70s but couldn’t convince the old guard docs, esp the cardiologists. Then Hubert Humphrey got cancer and held a few nutrition hearings in the Senate, and the theory got widespread publicity.

    As a baby boomer, I recall that most of us drank lots of whole milk- I drank 2-3 glassfuls at supper alone. No “obesity crisis” – usually just a few large kids per school. They looked uncomfortable in gym class, but beyond that, they didn’t eat or act differently from the rest of us in any obvious ways.

    • katja

      Yes, I believe Big, Fat Lies (book) explained this well… I looked at my mother’s class photo from post-war Germany, where intake was probably much lower, fat was certainly scarce and in high demand, and there were two chubby children in the class…

  4. Lisa in Boston

    I think you are right on target, as usual! I am by NO means a nutrition expert but the more I read and learn – especially as I am learning about how individualized our gut microbiota profiles are – the more I am convinced that humans can thrive and have optimal health on very different ‘diets’. So many of us are racing around trying to find THE diet we’re all supposed to be on, and it’s just not that simple. And when you add in how our emotional attachments to foods can change how much nutrition we get from them? Talk about layers upon layers upon layers!

    So yeah, the answer is to allow children (and re-teach adults) to tune into their own hunger/satiety cues because our bodies really do know what they are doing 🙂

  5. BlueBindweed

    I think I’m just old enough to remember when fatphobia took off in the 80s, and we all seemed to be thinner before it started. Now it’s a sugar obsession. I think we’re way too geeked out about foods. Everyone needs to take a deep breath and relax a little because this heightened anxiety is not doing anyone any good.

  6. Emi

    It is hard to get bounced back and forth and the Feeding responsibility and variety is always a soft place to land 🙂