Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Chocolate milk, juice, and marketing untruths




After I wrote about how sugar’s not inherently evil on Monday, I’d now like to take exception (again) to the marketing of chocolate milk as a healthy beverage choice.

As I’ve mentioned before, just because there’s nothing wrong with having some sugar in our diets, that doesn’t mean we can’t have too much. Just because sugar’s not bad for you doesn’t mean it’s good either and it certainly doesn’t mean that most of us couldn’t stand to cut back on it a bit.

So… My best friend sent me the above photo (taken from a Dairy Farmers of Canada booklet) last week. It’s a great example of the food industry twisting the facts. Sure, a glass of chocolate milk has the same amount of sugar as a glass of apple juice. That doesn’t lead to the conclusion that chocolate milk is a nutritious choice. Both beverages have 24 grams of sugar per cup. That’s 6 teaspoons of sugar! That’s a lot of sugar in something that’s not going to fill you up. The conclusion should really be that neither chocolate milk nor apple juice is a healthy choice. Both are liquid candy, with a few added nutrients, and should be treated as treats.

I also would like to add my annoyance at the chocolate milk sponsored half marathon I ran on Sunday. The only beverages I could find at the end of the race were chocolate milk, juice, and coffee. Now, if anyone deserves chocolate milk, it’s probably someone who just finished a long run. However, sweetness doesn’t appeal to me after a race and all I wanted was a drink of water. I ended up settling for a cup of black coffee until I got home. As we were exiting the finish area, someone on the sound system was extolling the benefits of chocolate milk as the ultimate post-race rehydrator. Actually, no. If you missed it before, here are my thoughts on that. I get that the race needs sponsors, and I don’t mind there being chocolate milk available. However, I don’t think that it should necessitate the exclusion of water.

Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people see food and nutrition from a different perspective and understand that nutrition and health are not necessarily a result of personal choice.

2 thoughts on “Chocolate milk, juice, and marketing untruths

  1. I have SO MANY FEELINGS about chocolate milk. Once – ONCE – I expressed them on my blog and I nearly lost a friend over it, because she believes the marketing and got very defensive.

    My kids can have it if we’re eating in a restaurant, which happens a couple of times a month. They understand that it’s a treat.

    If I had just run a half-marathon and there was no freaking water available at the finish line, I’d probably flip over a table. Chocolate milk is NOT thirst-quenching. Ugh.


    • It’s crazy how many people have bought into the hype. I’ve gotten some decent trolling on past posts about chocolate milk.

      I think that letting kids have it as a treat is absolutely the way to go. Nothing wrong with having it one in a while. The notion that it’s an acceptable daily beverage is insane.

      I was pretty shocked about the absence of water this year. I don’t know why water and chocolate milk (and juice) can’t co-exist at the finish line. I’m sure that it was there in past years.


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