Connecticut may ban chocolate milk in schools

HARTFORD (CNN) – Connecticut state lawmakers are looking to ban chocolate milk in public schools to meet federal guidelines. However, some say this move may discourage kids from drinking milk overall.

“I know several kids who won’t drink any milk if it’s not chocolate,” said Mary Manwaring, a mother.

Manwaring’s daughter Bethany said when given the choice, she always chose chocolate.

“It has chocolate in it, I guess, and I like chocolate,” said Bethany.

Mother Mary won’t fight that argument because at the end of the day, Bethany is still getting nutrients from the milk, chocolate or not. However, all of that could soon change state legislators signing off on proposed bill that would essentially ban chocolate milk and some juices from Connecticut public schools.

Under the proposal, this is what can be served in Connecticut schools: low-fat unflavored milk and beverages with no artificial sweeteners, no added sodium and no more than four grams of sugar per ounce.

Taking a look the nutrition labels with the high fructose corn syrup and 200 milligrams of sodium, chocolate milk doesn’t make the cut.

“If it’s a little bit of chocolate, it’s the least of our worries,” said Manwaring.

So why is it such a big concern for lawmakers? Federal dollars. Some are worried if they didn’t make this move, the state would not get money from the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. It authorized and set policy for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s child nutrition programs, including school lunches. However, child nutrition experts aren’t on board.

We talked over the phone with Jill Castle, a registered dietitian nutritionist from New Canaan. She says quote: “from a nutrient profile, you’re getting calcium, vitamin d, potassium, phosphorus and other nutrients.”

Castle went on to say that when chocolate milk is removed, overall milk consumption amongst kids goes down.

This fourth-grader says she already sees it first-hand, “Most of the milks, we only go through two bins, but chocolate milk, we go through four bins.”

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