Chocolate milk is generally made by mixing cow’s milk with cocoa and sweeteners like sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. It is rich in carbs and calories than unsweetened milk but contains some nutrients. Chocolate milk also contains smaller amounts of zinc, selenium, iodine, magnesium, and vitamins A, B1, B6, and B12. Milk is a protein that can be good for your body but chocolate milk is different. Find out why and whether or not it is a good alternative to just plain milk for overall health.
Chocolate milk is rich in calcium. This main mineral is present in our bones. Dairy is a huge source of calcium. The calcium in dairy is easily absorbable. Researchers believe this may be the main reason why dairy is linked to development of strong bones in children and adolescents. Nutrients are not exclusive to dairy. Other calcium-rich foods include legumes, nuts, seeds, seaweed, and some types of tofu.
There are various downsides to drinking chocolate milk. This stems mainly from the ingredients in it more than anything else.
- Added sugars: about half the carbs found in chocolate milk come from added sugars, including high-fructose corn syrup
- One cup of chocolate milk contains 11-17 grams of added sugar. That’s around a third of the average man’s and more than half of women’s and children’s daily upper limit
- May increase some diseases: heart disease and some cancers may increase with use of chocolate milk. It is high in saturated fat and added sugars, which negatively impact heart health
- Links to cancer: diets rich in milk and dairy products have been linked to increased risk of certain types of cancer
Make the Choice
When you think about what to drink and why, it helps to consider all the facts. Vitamin D, calcium, and other nutrients are vitally important. However, when food is high in calories and added sugar, it may contribute to weight gain and increased risk of certain chronic diseases. Too much chocolate milk for kids may be more like a treat than a staple as it can lead to obesity issues later in life. The key is to think in moderation. It may help post workout but it is worth considering whether it is worth risking all the sugars just to have an added boost.
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