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It’s National Chocolate Milk Day

September 27, 2017

Myth: It doesn’t come from chocolate milk-giving cows. Truth: Everything else in this article.
Chocolate milk
Columbus brought cocoa back to Europe from the Americas in the early 1500s, but it didn’t catch on. After Spanish explorer Cortez overran the Aztecs a few decades later, he brought cocoa to Europe again, although he added sugar and cinnamon to cut into the natural bite of the chocolate. That’s probably the introduction of sweetened hot chocolate—which is really just hot chocolate milk.
Chocolate milk is so tasty that some people think it might be too good to be true. According to an urban legend that spread in the 1980s and 1990s, chocolate milk was invented as a way for dairies to sell milk that was unsellable because it got tainted with cow blood during the milking process. The chocolate “hides” the blood. (Fortunately, this isn’t true.)
The dairy industry has promoted chocolate milk as a post-workout recovery beverage, a substitute for Gatorade. While the thought of drinking a big glass of thick, goopy, sweetened milk after a strenuous workout sounds suspect (and a little gross), there’s data to back it up. Chocolate milk’s unique mixture of carbohydrates and protein really does help the body replenish fluid and aid muscles.
While chocolate milk is a common and popular way to get kids to drink milk—and get that calcium for their growing bones—some nutrition advocates don’t think it’s a good idea. According to the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, kids who drink chocolate milk with their school lunch get an extra three or so teaspoons of added sugar each time. That adds up to four pounds over the course of a school year.
Two actors who got a big career boost from chocolate milk: Adam West and Peter Billingsley. The former starred as a spy mascot named Captain Quik in early-1960s advertisements for Nestle Quik chocolate milk mix. That got the attention of producers of a new Batman TV series. About two decades later, Billingsley, best known for A Christmas Story, was all over TV as Hershey’s Syrup commercial character “Messy Marvin.”

Chocolate milk is by far the most popular flavored milks. Other kinds that are commercially available: strawberry, cookies and cream, coffee, and root beer.

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