Kids Still Drink Milk, Despite Popularity of Soda

A new study finds no relationship between milk and soda consumption in kids' diets

Nutritionists, dietitians, and doctors used to think that when kids picked up a can of Coke, they put down the milk carton. However, new research finds that this might not be true. Research that was based on a survey of more than 7,000 middle schoolers found that some kids may drink less milk as they grow up —which could be related staggering development of lactose intolerance — but the majority will continue to drink both. But, perhaps unsurprisingly, sweet drink consumption never lagged.

This is both good and bad news for kids and doctors. On one hand, it’s a relief that kids are drinking a nutrient-packed beverage to help supplement vitamins and minerals that they may not be getting in other sources. Yet, as Sara Bleich, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health noted, the research "suggests to me that when people drink calories in liquid form, they don’t compensate for that.” That means that drinking both soda and milk could cause kids to gain unwanted weight, as they aren’t compensating for their increased calorie intake at meal times. 

While sugary drink consumption held steady for many kids over the course of the study, any dips in milk consumption appeared unrelated. Decreased milk drinking did, however, correlate to a reduction of the amount of juice kids drank. The study also found that boys and white children were the most likely to consume sweet drinks.

With this increased knowledge, parents and doctors may be better able to guide kids to choose healthy drink choices that will help them establish haelthy habits for life — with or without a milk moustache.