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Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan have released a study that looks at what school children will choose to drink, when chocolate milk is not an option.

In many cases, the study found, children choose other drinks which contain even more sugar than chocolate milk.

The researchers said their study found that many youngsters will not drink regular milk as an alternative.

"When we remove chocolate milk, the total milk intake goes down by almost 50 per cent," Hassan Vatanparast, one of the researchers on the study, told CBC News.

Vatanparast said the findings suggest removing chocolate milk as a drink choice may be having an unintended consequence for a small gain.

"We are discussing about losing half of those who are drinking milk, only for about 37 calories a day," he said, noting that it should come as no surprise that children often prefer sweet drinks. However, he said, compared to other sugary drinks chocolate milk is not so bad.

The researchers are now looking into whether or not children will drink chocolate milk that contains less sugar than current varieties.

Those results are expected later in 2015.

CBC News also spoke to Saskatoon parent Mike Wendzina who said in his family, which includes two youngsters, he tries to promote healthy food choices and allows chocolate milk as a special treat.

"It's not part of the day to day routine," Wendzina said. "It's something that we can all enjoy when we go out to eat.'

Wendzina said he doesn't want his children to expect to have chocolate milk at any time.

"If it's a daily routine or something the kids feel they're entitled to every single day, then that's what they're going to want every single day," he said. "But if they don't feel entitled to have what they want, then their choices are limited, then they're going to choose the alternative."

According to the research article, the study covered students from six elementary schools (grades 1 to 8) in Saskatoon and area, with an overall sample of 1,205 students.

    

Clarifications

  • A previous version of this story presented the research in the context of a ban on chocolate milk. However, the research examined the drink choices school children made, based on what was made available to them during the study.
    Jan 15, 2015 10:12 PM CT