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When Liquid Candy & Liquid Food Collide

March 12, 2013

Water people. Drink water. Most of us live in homes with good, safe, clean water supplies and with pipes unaffected by lead or other nastiness. So by water, I mean tap water. Maybe your water isn’t great. Then you should get a filter, and drink filtered tap water.

Find a nice unlined metal bottle to bring your water along with you on the road. For all that is good and holy, please stop filling and refilling disposable plastic water bottles. They are a bacterial nightmare. Especially when there are folks at the office who aren’t good at refilling them without touching their saliva encrusted mouthpiece to the communal water cooler spigot.

Besides water, non-alcoholic beverages generally fall into one of three categories: liquid candy, liquid food, or chemical goo. That last is reserved for all the artificially zero or reduced calorie beverages out there. And don’t tell me for an instant that Stevia is natural. I saw a box of organic Stevia on a supermarket shelf and I almost had an aneurism.

We’ve talked about soda being liquid candy before. Liquid food might be a newer concept.

People have lots of feelings about milk and its healthfulness. That could take a thousand scientists a thousand years to untangle. Let’s try to leave all that aside for a moment and agree on one thing.

Milk is a calorie dense beverage that contains a fair bit of protein.

I call that food. Milk will fill you up in a way that water will not. Milk with a little coaxing and precious few other ingredients can be easily turned into a simple cheese. There is food in that milk. I’m not saying it’s good or it’s bad. It just is.

Using food to wash down food is madness. Maybe if you are out working in the fields/mines, or an athlete, or in a school lunch program because you only get one good meal a day, then perhaps having milk with your meal as a matter of nutrition makes sense. Of course, I’m no nutritionist.

Let’s get back to school lunches for a second, because this is where things have been heating up lately.

Apparently kids are drinking less and less milk, opting for water (which is good) and other low calorie options (aka chemical goo, which is bad). Well, in an attempt to try to win back these young lapsed milk drinkers the dairy industry had a novel idea: Let’s make chocolate milk with aspartame instead of sugar (or HFCS).

There’s only one problem with that. Based on the current FDA definition of milk, aspartame laced dairy wouldn’t qualify as milk. But the dairy industry doesn’t see problems, they see challenges. So they are petitioning the FDA to change that definition so they can sell their artificially sweetened food goo as milk and only have to include aspartame in the fine print of the ingredients list on the back.

Apparently the words low-calorie are a turnoff to kids. Yeah, go fig.

My food memory is long, and I remember drinking cartons of milk from the cafeteria in grade school. And often it didn’t taste very good. I recall a distinct sourness to it. Young Master Fussy won’t drink the milk at his school either for a very similar reason. I assume it has something to do with inadequate refrigeration. Chocolate milk was always the safest choice because it at least covered up any off flavors.

Liquid food candy has its place. It is not all that dissimilar to ice cream, but just in melted form. And hopefully the chocolate milk is devoid of the thickening agents, gums and synthetic emulsifiers used in ice cream.

Maybe the smarter play is to not demonize chocolate milk. There. I said it. Now when does Jamie Oliver come and knock on my door to tell me I’m a bad person and am killing kids?

Remember though, I’m not advocating for more milk consumption. Just choice. Really I want the kids to drink water. And on occasion I want to be able to have the pizza delivery guy bring over a two liter bottle of HFCS sweetened Coke to wash down my cheese drenched slab of refined white flour. Maybe there will be some deep fat fried fatty pieces of chicken skin (with a few nibbles of meat attached) slathered with butter too.

The good news of the day is that a New York State Supreme Court Justice struck down the ridiculous ban on sugary drinks over sixteen ounces.

Yeah. Soda is a problem. We need to tell people to drink more water. Explicitly. Because if you tell people to drink less sugary soda, they are going to switch to chemical goo. Or they’ll jump to juice, and for the most part (unsweetened cranberry juice excepted) that’s just another form of liquid candy.

Oh, and for the record, coffee and tea are water in book. Except for the junk that most people get at Starbucks, those might as well just be milkshakes. Even the hot ones.

I have nothing against milkshakes either, but it’s not a good idea to have them every day.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 12, 2013 11:38 am

    I remember the milk in the school cafeteria always tasting like the cardboard carton it came in — probably why everybody always got chocolate milk. But honestly, I probably would have gotten water sometimes, or fruit juice, or unsweetened iced tea, if it had been provided in little containers alongside the milk. (Though I can see why kids should be drinking plenty of milk — it’s got calcium for building strong bones, vitamins, etc. As long as it’s lower-fat milk, it’s not a bad idea.)

  2. March 12, 2013 3:01 pm

    I remember the same about cafeteria milk. At home, milk was ice cold. At school, it sat in a cooler with the top open. Sort of cold, completely gross. Not even chocolate could mask that taste.

    Aspartame-laced chocolate milk sounds disgusting.

    I want a milkshake now.

  3. enough already! permalink
    March 12, 2013 6:24 pm

    The proposed law does not really “tell” people to drink less sugary soda, it just makes it more inconvenient AND more expensive, the latter being kinda like a tax.

  4. christine permalink
    March 12, 2013 7:18 pm

    The sugary soda law was ridiculous at best. Banning a cup size won’t ever stop people from drinking too much soda. Even an idiot knows they can JUST BUY TWO SMALLER SIZED SODAS and get pretty much a giant (and obnoxious) drink just the same. I do drink soda- I love a foutain coke- but I often go to the soda machine at convenience stores and pour myself an ice water. There’s usually a little handle on one of the spigots that makes water come out. Better than bottled, because it has ice in it and it’s very cold. And, I think they charge a cup fee of less than five cents!

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