Is chocolate skim a healthy substitute for whole milk?

February 17, 2019

Once upon a time, I was a little girl who lived on a farm in north-central Minnesota. Park Rapids was about a half hour farther north of our diversified farm, with cows, sheep, pigs and chickens.

We drank nature’s most perfect whole milk. My parents used a separator system to separate the cream, which my father hauled in cans to the local creamery. The skim milk was fed to the pigs.

Fast forward 50 years. School children, young growing bodies, can only have 1 percent or chocolate skim milk with sugar. Now who is getting the skim milk?

Milk is a nutritional beverage. Whole milk is 3.25 percent milkfat. Whole milk has richer flavor. Taste is important to kids. They need to like the taste in order to consume. I’ve heard of kids putting chocolate milk on their cereal to add flavor.

Whole milk is more filling. cutting the fat intake causes a tendency to replace the missing calories with unhealthy refined calories.

Milk fat is called “good fat,” needed for the brain and strong bones for young bodies.

Reduced fat milk, 2 percent and school milk (1 percent or skim chocolate milk) have an artificial ingredient, vitamin A palmitate, added. Chocolate milk’s added ingredients are sugar, carageenan, corn starch, salt, vitamin A palmitate and vitamin D3.

Full fat dairy contains plenty of nutrients — calcium, vitamin K, magnesium, and protein. Full fat dairy contains fatty acids and microbes that may help regulate blood sugar and insulin levels for young active children and teenagers.

Are the 1 percent milk and chocolate skim milk children receive healthy substitutes for the real drink – whole milk?

Nationally, the school standard is 1 percent or chocolate skim milk. What message does this give to consumers purchasing the beverage for their family with young growing children?

Maren Holst, Lake City