Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chocolate milk is bad now?

Today I saw a story about how chocolate milk is bad for children because it has too much sugar. Apparently there are groups of people calling for the elimination of flavored milk in school lunchrooms. I think the obvious response here is "what the fuck?" Especially after reading the part where it says that kids drink 35% less milk at school when flavored milk is not on the menu. If you're interested in numbers, here's another statistic: 95% of my diet when I was a kid was sugar, sometimes poured straight from the sugarbowl into my mouth, and I turned out fine.

Even more goofy is a statement in the article from a woman running a school food program claiming too much milk can make kids feel too full to eat "greens, hummus and beans that offer nutrients found in dairy products." Ah yes, I remember how I would gobble down greens, hummus and beans when I was a child, but only when flavored milk was unavailable. I don't think I tried hummus before I was 19. And then there's the even more confusing part of her assertion, which is that people worry kids aren't eating enough foods with dairy nutrients because they're...uh...drinking too much milk?

All of that is silly, but the real reason that this article rankled me is that I feel a little threatened by it. My preference for chocolate was so strong when I was a child that I considered it a part of my identity. When I was 9, it was about as central to my concept of myself as my gender or age or hometown. I drank chocolate milk at lunch the way Limbaugh listeners vote Republican; without question or logical reason. Frankly, I felt uncomfortable choosing a non-chocolate dessert in food situations that offered a chocolate option. Even if that strawberry shortcake looked really, really good, I felt I'd lose something of myself by forsaking the chocolate cake.

What would I have done if they had taken chocolate milk away? Well, I actually really like milk, so I probably would have started drinking skim. But the anguish I would have felt!

So my question is who's thinking about that issue? Who's thought about the emotional ramifications of eliminating flavored milk options? Not these sugar Nazis with their legume agenda, I'll tell you that. Fuck 'em, high-fructose corn syrup 4 life! Stand strong against tyranny, children of America! Stand strong, on the healthy bones you're blessed with because some genius laced milk with sugar so that you actually drink it!

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