5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Give Your Kids Chocolate Shakes

18 January, 2019
Store-bought chocolate shakes can really affect your kids' health. To avoid giving your kids potentially unhealthy ingredients, it’s best to make these kinds of shakes and beverages at home using yogurt and natural products.

You might get tired of this sort of news alerts about the dangers of certain foods from time to time. But when those issues have to do with your children’s health, they become a little more relevant. Today we want to talk about the classic chocolate shakes, the one every kid loves.

They’re usually a child’s favorite snack or dessert when they come home from school. As parents, you’ve surely read about the nutritional ingredients contained in those boxes of chocolate shakes that you put in their lunchbox every day.

Everything might seem positive, even though you know that there are also preservatives that maintain the food’s appearance and texture, but is there anything else that you’re not being told? In today’s article, we want to look further into it.

1. Carrageenan, something not recommended for children in food

If you’ve never heard of carrageenan, it’s a natural product made from different types of algae. Algae in dairy products? It’s true. In spite of being a natural food, you should know that the World Health Organization advises against giving it to your child. This is because carrageenan:

  • Changes their intestinal flora
  • Causes poor digestion
  • Causes gas
  • Leads to diarrhea

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You might wonder what the recommended daily amount for kids is, so that they avoid experiencing those effects. For the time being, health authorities have not agreed on this.

2. Chocolate shakes contain casein

Two little girls sharing a chocolate shake
There’s no doubt that you already know this information. Chocolate shakes are still milk products, so they’re rich in casein, a milk protein.

The effects of this protein on the body vary greatly from person to person, but in children, the following effects are often observed:

  • Irritated bowel
  • Affected immune system
  • Allergies
  • Eczema or bronchitis, all of which are influenced by an allergy to this dairy product

Not all children will have this kind of allergy or reaction, but it’s a fact that you should consider to at least regulate their consumption.

3. Chocolate shakes contain too much sugar

You won’t be surprised to learn that chocolate shakes contain sugar, but did you know that a 200 ml serving contains almost 30 grams of sugar?

That amount is way too high, and it’s even worse if your kids drink these on a regular basis.

  • Sugar causes insulin resistance, so you run the risk of your children getting metabolic syndromes and diabetes.
  • Sugar increases the concentration of bile in feces and bacterial enzymes in the colon.
  • Chocolate shakes contain corn syrup, a rich type of sweetener. This compound can cause liver damage in the long term.
  • You run the risk of having obese children.


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4. Chocolate shakes don’t help children have strong bones

Homemade chocolate shakes
It’s customary for dairy companies that produce these types of beverages to sell us their benefits with phrases like “they promote bone growth” or “your child’s bones will grow stronger.”

  • Review this kind of information with caution and skepticism. The calcium in this type of shake is not easy to absorb. In fact, it’s more commonly lost.
  • Amy Lanou, Director of the Nutrition Center for the Committee of Physicians for Responsible Medicine, points out that countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis are those in which people drink more packaged milk, i.e. these types of shakes.
  • Chocolate milkshakes aren’t a good source of calcium. Plain yogurt, or even calcium from vegetable sources, would be a better option.

5. Chocolate milkshakes might not even taste like chocolate

The flavor is completely artificial. In fact, manufacturers often use chemicals and other aromatic elements reminiscent of chocolate without using the real thing. The same thing happens with other flavors, such as strawberry and vanilla.

It’s common for these beverages to contain substances like hydrolyzed vegetable protein or monosodium glutamate. And here’s another fact that’s even more worrying: food manufacturers don’t have to reveal the ingredients that they use to create those flavors.

They are confidential formulas so that they can compete with other brands.

This is what happens with Coca-Cola, for example.

There are healthier options

Berry smoothies

  • You don’t need to give up on dairy products, but it’s worth consuming the healthiest ones that you know have more calcium and also care for your children’s intestinal flora.
  • You could make a smoothie using natural plain yogurt and add some cocoa powder and a bit of oatmeal. They’ll love it.
  • Vegan plant milks are also a very suitable option.
  • Another idea is to prepare natural juices at home.

Finally, we want to point out that consuming a chocolate shake from time to time doesn’t involve any risk. The danger comes when those beverages become daily habits in the diet of your children.

  • Shang Q., Jiang H., Cai C., Hao J., et al., Gut microbiota fermentation of marine polysaccharides and its effects on intestinal ecology: an overview. Carbohydr Polym, 2018. 179: 173-185.
  • Klingbeil E., La Serre CB., Microbiota modulation by eating patterns and diet composition: impact on food intake. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol, 2018. 315: 1254-1260.