The war against all things sweet has taken an even more ridiculous turn. The Orlando Sentinel reported last week that the Florida Board of Education will soon consider a statewide ban on chocolate milk in public schools. The heavy-handed proposal, of course, claims a noble goal: fighting childhood obesity. And as usual, its unintended consequences should ensure this fatheaded idea goes sour.
The basic problem with banning chocolate milk is that kids like it. According to The New York Times, 71 percent of the milk served in the U.S. is flavored. And bans on flavored milk in other school jurisdictions are already reaping the consequences of restricting something in high demand. Schoolchildren in Northern Virginia are throwing plain milk in the trash instead of drinking it. Even parents are getting irritated at school officials’ nannying of kids’ lunch trays. Perhaps we'll soon see bootleg chocolate syrup smuggled in backpacks and lunch bags.
At least children are learning the time-honored tradition of civil disobedience—even if they’re not getting the nutrients they need.
Is chocolate milk even making kids fat? Skim chocolate milk has the same number of calories as 2-percent plain milk. And because it's rich in so many nutrients, it's been some athletes’ favorite post-workout recovery drink for years. More generally, there’s no conclusive research consensus of a link between chocolate milk (or sugary drink) consumption and kids’ weight.
Just remember the old saying: A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. It’s certainly better than trying to force food cops’ prescriptions down our children’s gullets.