I received an email today inviting me to the Dairy Farmers of Canada 2012 Symposium. I decided to check out the link to see what it was all about. No surprise, the website featured a wealth of propaganda. I was especially intrigued by the tab for Scientific Evidence which included such gems as “Healthy Weight” and “Chocolate Milk and Health”. I’m sure that I could find enough stuff on here to fuel a week’s worth of blog posts, maybe more, if I delved into every statement that they made. That might be a little excessive though. I’d like to draw your attention to their section on “chocolate milk, other flavoured milk, health and diet quality”. According to this section drinking chocolate milk improves the health of children because they get more nutrients, particularly calcium, than children who drink no milk or even regular milk. Apparently it’s okay to give kids sugar-sweetened beverages if they include calcium, protein, and vitamin D. Maybe even better than giving them unsweetened milk because they’ll drink more milk if it’s flavoured. Call me old-fashioned but when I was growing up chocolate milk was not on the menu. Ignoring the fact that milk is not necessary for a healthy diet, why do we need to sweeten milk and add other ingredients as emulsifiers in order to get children to drink it? Even if, as the Dairy Farmers allege, these sweetened beverages are not contributing to obesity, I don’t think encouraging the consumption of sweetened beverages by any age group, but especially by children, is appropriate. Their argument is akin to saying that adding flavour and sugar to any food that contains some nutritional value is a good idea if it will get kids to consume more of it. Just because a beverage contains some nutrients doesn’t mean that it’s a healthy choice.