Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Trouble With Chocolate Milk

As if it weren't enough to have a picky eater in the house, I have a picky eater who refuses to drink as well. My son does not want anything to do with milk.

Though he does find the container fascinating, he won't drink the stuff. When I offer him a cup of milk he looks at me like I must be joking. "Does she really think I'll drink that?"

I thought about a solution to this dilemma. My pediatrician told me that as long as he is eating tons of yogurt, he is getting the appropriate amount of calcium; and I give him a teaspoon of cod liver oil daily,which is full of vitamin D. Nevertheless, I still feel strongly that he should drink whole milk for its vitamin D calcium contents.

I took a moment, and I thought about my own childhood. I remembered my parents giving me chocolate milk. Apparently, my mom tells me, that my brother and I repeatedly asked for soda and she refused. She replied:

"You can have milk soda!" And promptly gave us chocolate milk made from a powder that was fortified with vitamins.

I was desperate to get my child to drink milk. I thought to myself, I might as well try chocolate milk on my boy. If it will get him to drink milk, why not? So I went out and bought the notorious chocolate powder.

Needless to say, he loved it. He goobled up the milk by the sippy cup. But then I noticed he started to act strangely aggressive and hyper. I had a funny feeling about my recent purchase. So I looked at the ingredients to my favorite childhood vitamin fortified chocolate powder. I was not suprised to find that it was full of articifical flavors, but I was curious about the dyes that were used in this product.

So I wrote the company:

"I was wondering about a few of the ingredients in this product. I was concerned with giving my 18 month old son products with artificial ingredients. I noticed that this product has yellow dye #6, blue dye number 1 and Red dye #40. How do these dyes affect the content of this product?"

And the company wrote back:

All food colors used in food production meet stringent FDA requirements and are safe for consumption. Current labeling regulations include listing food colors that gives consumers the option to evaluate the ingredients. The dyes in this product are necessary to maintain an appealing color when mixed with milk because of the high vitamin and mineral content.

And I wrote the company again:

Where do the dyes come from? What are they made of?

And they wrote back yet again:

The dyes you referenced are synthetic color additives certified by the Food & Drug Administration; their exact composition is proprietary by their vendor.

Still not satisfied, I googled "synthetic color additives" and found a very interesting article. Apparently, these particular dyes in question are associated with hyperactivity in children.

Take a look at the article here.

So the chocolate milk distribution has stopped in this house. However, I just ordered some organic vanilla beans online. I am planning to make my own vanilla milk! Stay tuned for more on the milk issue.


  1. smart you for realizing what it did!

    ANY additives or coloring give my son a rash across his face/cheeks. I have to be super selective.

    just use cocoa powder, mix with hot water, add a sweetener (try brown sugar, honey, stevia, malitol, xylitol) and the warm whole milk. try it yourself.

    you can get syrup organic too.

    which powder did you get?

  2. Yea, what brand? I use Ovaltine so now I wonder... they do like the flavors more. Great detective work!

  3. I am so against whole milk, it's really unhealthy. The "whole" aspect of it is the fat content, it has nothing to do with the nutrition. http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/dairy-and-egg-products/69/2

  4. So...the chocolate powder brand shall remain nameless. But needless to say, the dyes were an inherent problem

    Leigh- I hear you. It is high in fat. However, I do appreciate the high vitamin D content in whole milk.

    Actually, I have heard through my source of all things healthy (Mint) that almond milk is the penultimate of milks!

  5. I LOVE ALMOND MILK! Try the vanilla flavor - it's amazing. They have a chocolate one too but I don't know what type of dye it contains.

  6. I can't seem to find almond milk! Can anyone recommend a brand and a store/website that sells it?

  7. Blue Diamond's Almond Breeze: http://www.bluediamond.com/index.cfm?navid=33

    They sell it at almost all supermarkets


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