District’s removal of chocolate milk is tyranny

Gabe Bethke, Staff Writer

When I think of my childhood I think of one thing, the sweet luxurious taste of artificially sweetened chocolate milk. Nothing in my life has ever brought me more joy than a tall, cold glass of deliciously decadent chocolate milk, but this past school year the Minneapolis school board voted to remove chocolate milk as an option for school lunches. According to Jeremy Olson, a writer for the Star Tribune: “Starting with summer school, the district is eliminating chocolate milk as a lunch option to reduce the calories and sugar that students consume.”

This is a new pus that the school board is spearheading to change the diet habits of students to promote general wellness. There is only one problem with this strategy…

They’re wrong.

As a sentimentalist I take offense to the School Boards’ decision to cut out chocolate milk. If chocolate milk really is too much of a nutritional sinkhole to warrant immediate action, I support the school boards’ actions to trim the menu. There are, however, far better options than removing that beautiful staple of lunch that is chocolate milk.

For example, according to a nutrition information website created by the school board, the cheese pizza available during the 2011-2012 school year has over 484 calories per serving, over 1,000mg of sodium and more than 18 grams of fat and 9 grams of saturated fat. One item on the menu can’t possibly be that bad right? Surely the rest of the menu upholds a high standard of health.

Incorrect.

The buffalo chicken wrap, which is promoted as one of the “fresher” options, still contains almost 19 grams of fat and over 8.8 grams of saturated fat.

According to the United State’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, on average American adults (over 4 years old) should have a diet of about 1994 calories and 1948mg of sodium daily. The Pizza alone has around 50% of your daily value of sodium, and almost 25% of your daily caloric intake.

Chocolate is one of the most important sugary sweets kids can eat. It not only tastes delicious but also has several health benefits as well.

In a 2009 Health Journal from Harvard Medical school, Chocolate reportedly “improves blood flow through the arteries that supply the heart and the brain. There’s also evidence associating consumption of dark chocolate with lower levels of C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation.”

Chocolate milk is also a great tool to help athletes recover after workouts. According to a study done recently at the University of Texas at Austin chocolate milk helped to create “better body composition in the form of more muscle and less fat, improved times while working out and overall better physical shape than peers who consumed sports beverages that just contained carbohydrates.”

The nutritional value from a serving of chocolate milk, according to the star tribune only had “20 calories more than a carton of 1-percent-fat milk.” This means that the reasons for the school board deciding on changing the menu was not based in relative nutrition.

Rosemary Dederichs, the district’s director of nutrition services, says that “”Consuming chocolate milk every day can train a child’s palate toward sweetened foods” which is a valid argument, except that it is completely irrelevant in a nutritional environment such as the one found here at South. For instance the cups of refrigerated strawberries only have 2 ingredients, strawberries and sugar.

Kids will be trained into consuming sugary treats whether or not the district makes a public effort to deter this pattern. It makes more sense to sneak a good source of vitamin D into kids through the vehicle that is chocolate milk.

This wrongful termination of deliciousness is an affront to the students of the public school system. No longer can the average student go forth and experience chocolatey goodness on a daily basis.

Removing chocolate milk from the menu is then a cover-up for an obvious lack of action on the part of the school board. Instead of recreating the menu to help low income kids afford healthy and fresh foods, they simply removed something relatively non-nutritional and called it fixed. This may be a result of a lack of funding, or this may be a result of negligence. Regardless this sort of behavior is unacceptable.

    I then reach the conclusion that the school board has a personal vendetta against chocolate milk. There were perfectly acceptable alternatives like reducing the frequency at which the unhealthy entree items and snacks appear on the menu. The district then has the same characteristics as several other American social and political institutions, the inability to accomplish anything productive, ever.