ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Benefits Of Chocolate Milk For Toddlers

Updated on September 22, 2016

The Hidden Benefits Of Chocolate Milk For Toddlers

Drinking chocolate milk is one of the best ways for kids and teens to get some of the necessary nutrients they need for growing into healthy adults.

Teens are at a critical age when bone is actively formed and calcium is one of the vital components of this process. Many parents know that all types of milk, including regular white milk, flavored milk and chocolate milk have an equal amount of beneficial nutrients, so encouraging their children to drink chocolate flavored variety is a way to help increase their kids' intake of milk overall.

This is a tactic that many adults use given that not every child is fond of the taste of plain milk, and prefers instead the delicious chocolate taste.

So is chocolate milk healthy for toddlers and kids?

Statistics show that milk consumption by children has drastically dropped in the recent years by an average of 35% in schools due to the removal of several types of flavored milk drinks from the shelves given their relatively unhealthy ingredients.

chocolate milk for kids
chocolate milk for kids | Source

As a reviewer said: Portable healthy goodness!

New chocolate milk formulas that have been recently reintroduced contain less sugar and are low fat. The sugar is made from beets and sugar cane rather than the processed corn syrup that was previously included, rendering fears of teen obesity mostly obsolete, a topic which is also concluded in a recent research published by the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

In fact there is less sugar now in chocolate milk for toddlers than in white milk. This makes for a great incentive for youngsters to start drinking it again, as it can result into increasing their overal milk consumption to 2-3 glasses per day, a recommendation included in the most recent dietary guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Eliminating Chocolate Drink From Schools Lead To A Drop In Nutrient Consumption

What Are The Nutrients Included In Chocolate Milk?

While for many people milk is considered a controversial drink, what everyone agrees with, however, is that good nutrition is crucial to children and teenagers, and milk has always been one of the best ways to load them with the much needed calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and phosphorus that their body desperately craves.

Our soils are depleted, and we no longer get the necessary nourishments from the food alone.

While adults have no problems popping vitamin and mineral pills every day, children are less inclined to do so, unless absolutely necessary, and definitely not on a daily basis.

The good news is chocolate milk has the same 16 combined nutrients that are also included in regular unflavored milk.

These nutrients help greatly with bone development, prevent bone-density loss and ensure a proper skeletal growth, which helps avoid a debilitating condition called osteoporosis in later years.

So what are some of the important nutrients included in chocolate milk that kids need?

  • First of all we have calcium, a mineral which aids in correct bone formation and growth of healthy bones and teeth, a process which happens in combination with phosphorus, another mineral included in chocolate drinks.
  • Potassium enables proper function of muscles and nerves in the body. Studies found that a diet high in potassium protects teens from developing high blood pressure later as adults.
  • Phosphorus is the mineral that binds with calcium to keep the bones and teeth strong. It is an important part of the overall growing process.
  • Vitamin D contributes to the absorption and proper metabolism of calcium and phosphorus in the body. It is considered the 'sunshine vitamin' for a good reason. Teens who rather stay indoors or live in areas with long winters and less sun during the day can easier develop vitamin D deficiency.
  • Vitamin A helps with the development of bones and teeth, and in addition it is a vitamin important for good vision and healthy skin
  • Magnesium is an essential mineral which helps with growing pains, aids better concentration and is said to prevent irritability in kids
  • Niacin (vitamin B3) plays a relevant role in energy metabolism and formation of healthy tissue, and boosts natural growth hormone

In addition, chocolate drinks also include vitamin B12, B6, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B5, folate, zinc, and selenium, all vitamins and minerals that enhance optimal health and prevent a whole host of diseases in teens as they mature.

Do you drink chocolate milk after workout?

See results

Benefits of Chocolate Milk For Athletes

For active and sports inclined teenagers, chocolate milk replaces electrolytes and fluids lost during workout due to its high water (85%), salt and potassium content. It makes for a great recovery drink after a session of heavy exercises involving muscle work due to two main reasons:

  • It has the optimal carb to protein ratio of 3 to 1 (whereas plain milk has a 2 to 1 ratio).
  • It includes whey and casein proteins, which assist with repairing of damaged muscles, and reduce the amount of muscle that is broken down.

Overall for young athletes it is regarded as a healthier alternative to commercial sports and energy drinks, which are less recommended due to their high sugar content and other less than optimal additives included, as well as their tendency to lead to unhealthy behavior in teens, as a recent study in the Journal of Nutrition, Education and Behavior pointed out.

Chocolate Milk vs. Soft Drinks And Juices

Compared to other drinks kids and teenagers enjoy, such as juices and carbonated soft drinks, chocolate milk shines again. It only adds 3% of sugar and 2% of calories to a child's diet. In contrast, the other drinks add a whooping 45% sugar and 9% of extra calories to their diet, which indeed significantly contributes to the obesity rate increase in children and teens in the Western countries.

What's worse, consuming soft drinks in schools creates calcium deficiency as milk consumption goes down. This often creates a lack of proper development of bone mass in teenagers. As almost all calcium in the body is contained in bone, you can see why the dangers of bone fracture are so prevalent.

In addition soft drinks, loaded with sugar, are one of the main reasons of caries in young adults, which often lead to tooth decay later in life. So the benefits of chocolate milk in schools is also evident.

Source

It Tastes Good Too

Here we are not talking about taking the lesser evil at all. In fact children who drink chocolate milk do their bodies a great service.

They receive the necessary nutrients for optimal growth and maturity, and help avoid negative habits which can cause them massive distress later in life.

Did I mention that it tastes yummy?

Now one question still remains. Is chocolate milk bad for toddlers teeth? Scientists are quite torn about this question because on one hand if there is sugar in the milk, well, we all know that sugar is bad for teeth. On the other hand, recent studies have shown that chocolate actually protects teeth. Eating especially dark chocolate can help kids avoid cavities, as long as they eat it in moderate amounts. In addition, since milk is liquid, it doesn't stay on the teeth as it goes fast down the throat. And milk also has components that it is said to prevent tooth decay as Levine RS. mentioned in his "Milk, flavoured milk products, and caries" study.

So like with everything else in life, moderation is key. Even the best things in life have to come with moderation.

© 2016 Marika

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 15 months ago from USA

      With the amount of sugar in sodas and even juice, it's important to look at healthy alternatives. If you have to put chocolate in it to make them drink it, at least they're getting the vitamins and important minerals.

    • Beachhopper profile image

      Beachhopper 2 months ago from Vancouver Island, British Columbia

      Excellent article! ....and as a chocolate milk lover, I 100% agree. :D

    Click to Rate This Article