Flavored milk is often considered as one fine substitute to regular milk. Among the various flavors, chocolate milk remains a preferred choice all over the world. What are the health benefits of drinking it? What are the nutritional facts behind? Read on to know more details.
Chocolate milk is mainly cow’s milk served by adding sugar and cocoa to it. Addition of flavors to milk is one proven way to make children drink milk. Milk – as you know – is a great source of vitamin D, calcium and several other nutrients. Not all people enjoy a plain glass of cow’s milk. Those who need their milk flavored often prefer cocoa added to it; thus making sure they do not stand deprived from essential minerals and nutrients. But, people who prefer flavors added to their milk need to know if sugars or flavors added dwarf natural benefits present in their drink.
Chocolate milk made from cow’s milk is endowed with several health benefits. Yes, there are sugars added to get the right taste. These sugars can be either natural or corn syrups with high level of fructose content. These added sugars may increase the quantum of carbohydrates in chocolate milk. However, the nutrient levels may be similar to those present in natural milk.
Essential nutrients available in chocolate milk
A typical serving of chocolate milk (about 250 ml) supplies nearly 200 calories, and has about 30 grams of carbs. Sugar levels are at 15 grams (on an average) with upto 10 grams of proteins. The biggest advantage is the supply of calcium to meet your daily needs of this essential mineral. This milk can supply upto nearly 30% of the daily intake reference value of this nutrient. Other key minerals present in it are phosphorous (supplies nearly 26% of your daily need); vitamin D (almost 1/4th of your everyday requirement); riboflavin (more than 1/5th of daily intake value) and potassium (more than 10% of a day’s requirement).
On fats, a single cup may have upto 10 grams. However, all these benefits may not be fully present in chocolate milk made from non-diary produce.
Health of your bones – A major winner
Food products sourced from dairy supply almost 3/4th of daily calcium needs; this study is based on consumers in Canada and United States. A whole lot of other foods – such as meat, eggs, poultry foods, whole grains, beans, vegetables, etc offer the balance 25% of calcium. Abundant presence of calcium makes chocolate milk a preferred choice for a calcium-rich diet. As you may know, calcium is the food to go to for building robust bones in the growing years. On top of these, it is one mineral your body can readily absorb.
Apart from calcium, chocolate milk has phosphorous and proteins; these nutrients play an equally intensive role in boosting your bone health. If you are drinking chocolate milk with vitamin D added to it, you are only further promoting the health of your bones.
Other nutritional benefits of drinking chocolate milk
This drink is believed to contain all the main amino acids. In particular, it may have copious amounts of an amino acid called leucine; this substance plays a crucial role in developing your muscles. Regular intake of chocolate milk helps maintain your muscles; thanks to such amino acids.
Apart from these benefits, chocolate milk may have traces of multiple vitamins (mainly, A, B6, B12, etc.), iodine, zinc, selenium, magnesium, etc.
This milk is also high on conjugated linoleic acid; a form of omega-6 fatty acid. This form of fatty acid is usually found in animal foods as well as other dairy-products. As this is a plant-based essential fatty acid, animals that feed on grass are found to have it in them. Linoleic acid is believed to help in your weight loss goals; however, more validation is needed to scientifically certify this advantage.
People who intake chocolate milk may have well-developed bones. It helps them keep risks associated with bone fractures at bay. Elderly adults who have been regularly taking milk can evade problems associate with bones – especially conditions like osteoarthritis or osteoporosis.
Chocolate milk – owing to its protein and carb contents – helps supply electrolytes, liquids and essential sugars. After an intensive work out session, the drink can help you recover sooner. This fact also explains why this drink is viewed as a recovery fluid after exercises.
Lactose intolerance – A risk
There is an increase in the number of people with difficulties to digest sugars available in milk. This condition is called as lactose intolerance. Such people may experience indigestion and flatulence when they take milk. In some cases, they are also found to suffer from abdominal cramps as well as inability to pass stools. These conditions are seen mostly among children and adolescents. However, many adults have also reported their inability to digest sugars present in milk. Chocolate milk made of cow’s milk may pose health risks to people with such medical conditions.
Saturated fats and the risks
Downside of drinking chocolate milk is the presence of sizeable amounts of fats (especially saturated fats). The safe level of calorie intake is to claim less than 7% of calories from sugars (including added sugars). With more sweeteners added to make milk tastier, you may end up with taking more than 15% of your calorie-needs from such sugars. Nutritionists state that you may have raised your cardiac risks by more than 30% with such dietary habits.
Cardiac health may also take a backseat as added sugars can trigger an increase in triglycerides as well as bad (LDL) cholesterol levels.
Sugars added to chocolate milk – Another concern
Nutritionists state the right level of sugar consumption stands at less than 9 teaspoons (among adults) and 5 teaspoons (for children). Such limited intake transpires to deriving a safe 7% (or lesser) of your daily intake of calories through sugar. So, nutritionists stay cautious about the sugars added to chocolate milk; as per diet studies, flavored milk may contain 2X sugar content than unflavoured, natural milk. Also, with nearly 15 grams of sugars in a standard serving of chocolate milk – you may have already consumed nearly 4 teaspoons of sugar along with each cup.
Nutritionists claim that increased consumption of sugars pose a lot of health hazards. The most common problems are cardiac ailments, diabetes (especially type 2), etc. Some dietary studies also show the link between intake of excessive sugars and risks of few forms of cancer.
In sum, chocolate milk is a great source of nutrients such as calcium and vitamins. Chocolate milk – made from cow’s milk – is blessed with many health advantages. Nutrient levels in it may be quite similar to those present in naturally procured milk.
A regular serving can provide 200 calories, 10 grams of proteins, 30% of your daily intake reference value of calcium and also phosphorous (about 26% of daily need). Chocolate milk also has sizeable amount of leucine, a substance that develops muscles. Chocolate milk also has traces of vitamins (mainly, A, B6, B12, etc.), iodine, zinc, selenium, magnesium, etc.
So, the answer to the key question is- yes, you can take chocolate milk. But, you may need to closely watch the quantum of milk consumed. It is considered safe to take this flavored milk as an end-of-meal drink than as a main course drink or as a substitute to a meal.