Nutritional Comparison: Chocolate Milk vs. Regular Milk

Written By: Gloria Tsang, RD

Title: Founding Registered Dietitian

Alumni: University of British Columbia

Last Updated on:

Milk versus chocolate milk nutrition

Despite many non-dairy milk on the market being nutritionally-fortified, cow’s milk remains a significant source of calcium, Vitamins A and D for many. Here we take a look at low-fat (1%) milk, both the plain and chocolate versions.

For ease of comparison, we’ve selected to compare 1% chocolate milk with 1% cow’s milk from the same brand.

​Nutrition Facts Comparison: Low-Fat Milk vs. Chocolate Milk

 Plain Milk, 1% Low-Fat (Great Value)Chocolate Milk, 1% Low-Fat
(Great Value)
Serving Size:1 cup (240 mL)1 cup (240 mL)
Calories:110 kcal150 kcal
Fat:2.5 g2.5 g
Saturated Fat:1.5 g1.5 g
Cholesterol: 10 mg10 mg
Protein:8 g8 g
Total Carbohydrate:13 g24 g
Sugar:12 g22 g
Sodium:130 mg220 mg
Vitamin A:15% DV15% DV
Vitamin D:10% DV10% DV
Calcium:25% DV25% DV
Ingredient List:Lowfat Milk, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D3.Lowfat Milk, Liquid Sugar (Sugar, Water), Less than 1% of Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Corn Starch, Salt, Carrageenan, Natural Flavor, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D3.
Table 1. Nutritional Facts of 1% Low-Fat Milk and 1% Chocolate Milk

Dietitian’s Analysis: Chocolate Milk vs Regular Milk (Both 1%)

1. Chocolate milk contains more sugar, and hence more carb and calories

Chocolate milk contains more added sugar, and therefore more total carbohydrates and calories. Cow’s milk naturally contains 12 grams of naturally-occurring carbohydrates (from lactose). As you can see from the nutrition facts table above, chocolate milk contains an extra of 10 grams added sugar, equivalent to 2.5 teaspoons of sugar.

2. Chocolate milk contains more additives

Store-bought chocolate milk has more additives. While plain milk has Vitamins A and D added and nothing else, chocolate milk has a longer ingredient list. Typically, chocolate milk has an added sweetener (sugar or syrup), thickeners or emulsifiers (corn starch and/or carrageenan), and flavorings (cocoa, flavor, salt).

3. Chocolate milk contains more sodium

Chocolate milk is often added with salt. If you need to watch your sodium intake, perhaps make chocolate at home without added salt.

4. The amount of added sugar in chocolate milk is not outrageous

Obviously, without added sugar and additives, plain cow’s milk is preferable. Picking plain milk over chocolate milk avoids the added sugar and additives, such as artificial coloring or emulsifiers like carrageenan. However, milk as a beverage choice, whether plain or chocolate (2.5 teaspoons of added sugar), is still better than soda (10 tsp. of added sugar).

If you prefer plant-based, you may choose calcium-fortified plant-milk and focus on using other protein-rich plant-based foods to supplement protein. Flavored plant milk also contains added sugar, so don’t forget to check the nutrition facts table.

Alternately, if you’re concerned about the emulsifiers and other additives, chocolate milk can easily be made at home with cocoa powder and less sugar than the store-bought version. To make a hot chocolate drink at home, try adding one tablespoon of cocoa powder and one to two teaspoons of sugar to a glass of warm milk.

Groceries, Health

chocolate milk, grocery aisle, milk, nutrition faceoff


What type of ground sugar do you use in cooking most often?

Grapefruit Active Lifestyle Meal Plan – Podcast

What Can You Eat If You Are Prediabetic?

Leave a Comment