Amid Bans at U.S. Schools, Research Highlights the Health Benefits of Chocolate Milk

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Scientific review from the founder and director of Rippe Health shows removing flavored milk from schools will remove more than just sugar and calories

At a time when many school systems are being asked to remove chocolate milk, leading cardiologist Dr. James Rippe of Rippe Health is making the case with the research to keep it on school cafeteria menus.

Due to heightened fears over health concerns, schools across the country have banned chocolate milk, most recently the Los Angeles Unified School District, while others are demanding reformulations—versions that include sucrose instead of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

In a recent YouTube video created to share the facts about chocolate milk consumption, Rippe dispels claims about HFCS in flavored milk causing of obesity in kids.

“Many factors, including heredity, contribute to obesity. But to single out high fructose corn syrup as the primary culprit is wrong,” says Dr. Rippe. “A sugar is a sugar. HFCS is sugar made from corn, just like table sugar is made from sugar cane or beets. Multiple studies have shown that they are nutritionally the same, they both have the same number of calories and our bodies metabolize them the same way. “

Findings of a recent study conducted by Dr. Rippe presented at the American Heart Association’s 2010 Scientific Sessions and the Obesity Society 28th Annual Meeting show that moderate consumption of high fructose corn syrup does not lead to higher incidences of heart disease, diabetes or obesity. Dr. Rippe’s study on weight loss and high fructose corn syrup also showed that people can even lose weight when consuming sugars—including high fructose corn syrup—in moderation and as part of a healthy diet. Dr. Rippe’s research studies presented at these two meetings were conducted using low fat flavored milk sweetened with either high fructose corn syrup or sucrose.

According to a study on bone health and calcium intakes by the American Academy of Pediatrics, barely 40 percent of children ages six to 11 receive the recommended daily calcium they need for their bones and teeth to grow properly. The story is worse for teenagers, with only 10 percent of girls ages 12 to 19 getting enough calcium and 30 percent of boys in that same age range.

Rippe adds that removing chocolate milk from schools won’t help the situation. According to a 2009 survey of 58 elementary and secondary schools across the country by the Milk Processor Education Program, kids’ consumption of milk fell 35 percent when chocolate milk was removed from the menu. Not surprisingly, their levels of calcium, vitamin D and potassium also fell.

“We should all be concerned about the amount of sugar our kids eat,” says Dr Rippe. “But banning chocolate milk in schools would deprive kids an opportunity to get the important nutrients they need at a time when their growing bodies need it most.”

For more information on Dr. Rippe’s research, visit http://www.rippehealth.com

Dr. Rippe’s research was supported through an unrestricted educational grant provided by the Corn Refiners Association.

About Dr. James Rippe: Dr. Rippe is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School with post graduate training at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is currently the Founder and Director of Rippe Health and Professor of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Central Florida. Rippe Health research has been supported through educational grants from companies, organizations and foundations, companies and organizations, with interests in nutrition, weight management, physical activity and risk factor reduction.

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Therese Pompa
Corn Refiners Association, on behalf of Rippe Health
202-331-1634
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