ITHACA, N.Y. -- New research from Cornell University might have you asking what your kids are drinking at school - the chocolate or the white milk? Or neither?

The study shows eliminating the choice of chocolate in the cafeteria can backfire.

When chocolate milk isn t offered, we found overall milk sales dropped 10 percent, and 29 percent of white milk ended up in the trash, said Cornell researcher Drew Hanks.

He points out the USDA requires flavored milk in schools to be fat free and many suppliers have taken steps to reduce the amount of sugar.

There is concern about childhood obesity and that s understandable, Hanks said. But kids can get needed protein and calcium from the chocolate milk as well.

At Cathedral School in Northwest Portland they order two cartons of white milk to every one carton of chocolate.

The chocolate costs six cents more a carton so even though it s more popular I m ordering less, principal Amy Biggs explained.

The Cornell research supports schools ordering less chocolate and suggests placing white milk in the front of the case so students are more likely to choose it.

You can actually increase milk sales as much as 20 per cent by making it more convenient and accessible than the chocolate, remarked Hanks. The Cornell research was prompted by a request from the Eugene School District, which had eliminated chocolate milk in 11 schools.

After seeing the results, the district brought the chocolate milk back at least a few days a week.

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