Canadian school milk consumption down when flavored options removed: Study


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Canadian school milk consumption down when flavored options removed: Study

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School milk consumption fell by 48% in a sample of Canadian elementary schools when flavored offerings were removed.

Researchers from the University of Saskatchewan discovered that - as detailed in previous similar US studies - the removal of chocolate milk from school milk programs led to "reduced overall milk consumption."

The team, from the institute's College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, carried out a mixed method study at six schools in the Greater Saskatoon Catholic School Division - four in urban areas, two in rural areas - over 12 weeks. 

Milk waste from students in grades one through eight was measured for three months. In the first and last four weeks (phases one and three) both plain and chocolate milk were provided. In weeks five to eight (phase two), just plain milk was on offer.

The University of Saskatchewan team found that average milk consumption was highest (227ml) in phase three, when plain and chocolate milk were available.

Average milk consumption was at its lowest in weeks five to eight (213ml), when only plain milk was on offer.

On the whole, total consumption of milk decreased 48% when chocolate was not available, said the study, published in the journal, Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.

“In conclusion, while some schools may limit access to FM, presumably because of concerns that these beverages provide unhealthy levels of added sugars and fat, our study showed that when CM was removed the number of students choosing milk reduced by 41%,”​ the study concluded.

“Additionally, of the students who chose plain milk there was a greater amount of milk wasted. Given children’s preferential intake of CM, further studies into whether children will accept lower sugar formulations need to be investigated.”

The milk waste results correspond with the findings of a focus groups conducted with students from grades five to eight.

During the surveys "children highlighted the role of taste in determining whether or not they would consume any drink."

Statistical nutrient modelling was also conducted to assess whether foods, such as cheddar cheese, spinach, yogurt, and tomato soup, could hypothetically replace the nutrient deficit from the hypothesized reduced milk consumption when chocolate milk was removed.

"Nutrient modelling suggested that if those children who were unable to consumer the FM they desire then the intake of important nutrients, such as protein, calcium and vitamin D, would decline. Sufficient amounts of calcium and vitamin D are required during childhood and adolescence because a significant amount of adult bone mass is accrued during this time. Milk is a good source of both these nutrients,"​ the study continued.

"Nutrient modelling revealed that many nutrients would be reduced with CM restriction and replacement scenarios would not be efficient and convenient."

Source: Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism 10.1139/apnm-2014-0242
Title: Impact of the removal of chocolate milk from school milk programs for children in Saskatoon, Canada
Authors: C Henry, S Whiting, T Phillips, S Finch, G Zello, H Vatanparast

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math question update

Posted by Richard Perlmutter,

I had the opportunity to read the journal article in full.

With a choice of unflavored or chocolate milk, 26.6% of the students drank milk. With no choice, only unflavored milk, 14.3% of the students drank milk. That decrease and the slight decrease in portion size (227 ml to 213 ml) mostly explain the total decrease of 48%

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Turning milk into candy?!

Posted by dan,

What next?

"I want a cheeeseburger with chocolate sprinkles please."

No, stevia is not the answer, and it is less 'natural' a sweetner than fructose (fruit sugar, and also naturally occuring in the human body) or erythritol.

Just serve milk, unflavoured yogurt, ordinary cottage cheese, etc.

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Mooove with the times

Posted by Chris,

Its not the flavour they oppose. It's the sugar.
Develop a product that replaces artificial flavors and colors with naturals and replaces added sugar with stevia and it can still taste good, yet deliver the protein and calcium that's much needed in growing bodies.

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