One of the most important considerations in choosing a chocolate milk is the fat content. You have the choice of whole chocolate milk, reduced fat chocolate milk or skim chocolate milk. The difference in these types is the fat content.
- Whole chocolate milk, made from whole milk, has the most fat and calories. An 8 oz. glass has 210 calories.
- Reduced fat chocolate milk is made from either 1% or 2% milk, and an 8 oz. glass has 160 to 170 calories.
- Skim chocolate milk, made from skim milk, is lowest in calories at 160 for an 8 oz. glass.
Which to choose? For most of us, we get plenty of fat from other sources, so low fat or skim chocolate milk are the better choices.
Soy Chocolate Milk
If you're lactose intolerant, you don't have to give up chocolate milk. There are soy versions available. Most soy milk is fortified with vitamins (although they have less than cow's milk). It is also easy to digest.
A key ingredient in chocolate milk is - surprise - chocolate! How does the chocolate affect the nutrition of the milk? It adds about 60 calories to an 8 oz. glass of milk. If you changed nothing else in your diet other than switching from white to chocolate milk, you would gain 10 pounds in a year! Obviously, if you are watching your weight, you should drink chocolate milk in moderation.
Chocolate contains antioxidants known as flavonoids; these help regulate blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiac problems.
Check out the sweetener used in your chocolate milk. Sweeteners vary, from high fructose corn syrup (frowned upon by many health advocates) to honey to plain sugar. If you are concerned about sugar intake, you may want to make your own chocolate milk by squirting a bit of chocolate syrup into your milk. This way, you can control the amount of chocolate and the type of milk used.
Vitamins, Minerals and Other Healthy Stuff
Chocolate milk has many healthy components. Vitamin D, phosphorus and calcium are all in good supply in milk, and are all beneficial to your bones and teeth. An 8 oz. glass contains 30% of your daily recommended amount of calcium, 25% of your recommended amount of vitamin D and 25% of your daily amount of phosphorus. Chocolate milk also contains small amounts of vitamins A and C.
Chocolate milk is a good source of protein. One glass provides 16% of the required daily allowance. If you're avoiding meat, chocolate milk is a good way to increase your body's need for protein.
Chocolate milk can be healthy when enjoyed in moderation. It does contain more calories than regular milk, mostly because of the chocolate content. A good compromise is to make your own chocolate milk by mixing in chocolate syrup or cocoa to skim milk. This way, you'll get maximum health benefits while still enjoying the flavor of chocolate milk.