New research brief on removing chocolate milk from school cafeterias' positive impact on student population nutrition

Apr 15, 2021

Sugar-sweetened beverages, including chocolate milk, are the leading source of added sugars in youths' diets. During the 2017-18 school year, the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) implemented a policy removing chocolate milk from school lunches as part of a district-wide strategy to reduce students' intake of added sugars. A new research brief from the University of California, Nutrition Policy Institute (UC NPI) describes the impact of this policy on students' intake of milk and its associated nutrients. This impact was measured by UC researchers in a study of students' milk selection and consumption in 24 SFUSD middle and high schools during one lunch period at each school during each study year. The study included 3,158 students in 2016 before the policy and 2,966 students after the policy was implemented in 2018. Study results showed that after chocolate milk was removed, milk taking at lunch declined, but average per-student intake of key nutrients from milk did not. In addition, students' intake of added sugars from milk declined significantly. The study suggests that removing chocolate milk from school cafeterias may improve student nutrition. The research brief encourages schools to consider eliminating chocolate milk to help reduce students' added sugar intake. The study was conducted in collaboration with researchers at the UC NPI, UC Berkeley School of Public Health and Berkeley Food Institute, and SFUSD Student Nutrition Services. This work is supported by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative grant no. 2015-68001-23236 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The research brief is available online. The full research study is also available online.