New study by NPI researchers finds that removing sweetened chocolate milk from school lunch reduces students' added sugar intake from milk, but does not reduce intake of calcium, protein or Vitamin D

Sep 21, 2020

Schools across the nation are instituting new policies to remove chocolate milk from their meal programs in an effort to reduce students' added sugar intake. These efforts have some stakeholders concerned that this policy may lead to a decrease in students' milk consumption--specifically the essential nutrients that milk provides such as calcium, protein and vitamin D--and may also lead to an increase in milk waste. However, the latest study from the Nutrition Policy Institute shows promising results that may alleviate these concerns. The study found that although the number of students that selected milk during lunch dropped by about 14% in the year the chocolate milk removal policy was implemented, there was no significant difference in the proportion of milk wasted before and after policy implementation. Further, although milk consumption declined by about 1 ounce per student post policy implementation, there was no significant decrease in the average amount of calcium, protein, or vitamin D consumed from milk. Finally, the chocolate milk removal policy did result in a significant reduction in added sugar consumption from milk, by an average of 3.1 grams per student. These results suggest that a school meal chocolate milk removal policy may reduce middle and high school students' added sugar intake without compromising intake of essential nutrients nor increasing milk waste. The study was conducted by NPI affiliated researchers Hannah Thompson and Esther Park from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health in collaboration with NPI researchers Lorrene Ritchie and Wendi Gosliner, and Kristine Madsen from the Berkeley Food Institute and UC Berkeley School of Public Health. The study was published online on August 27, 2020 in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease. The full study is available online.