History October 14, 2018 at 04:00 pm

You probably did not know that your favourite chocolate milk originated from Jamaica

Mildred Europa Taylor | Head of Content

Mildred Europa Taylor October 14, 2018 at 04:00 pm

October 14, 2018 at 04:00 pm | History

Chocolate milk is a staple in the diet of many people

Growing up, chocolate milk may have been a staple in your diet and probably still is. Whether cold, boxed, hot or malted, chocolate milk is consumed among millions of people across the world and despite fears that it is filling people with empty calories, only few can resist this delicious beverage.

Where did this tasty mixture come from?

The Natural History Museum in Britain has credited this to Sir Hans Sloane, an Irish botanist with a genuine interest in medicine.

Sloane, at the age of 27, was appointed as a physician to the Duke of Albemarle in Jamaica and out of his time spent in the Caribbean country was the invention of chocolate milk.

During his time in Jamaica in the 1700s, he discovered that native Jamaicans were consuming a mixture of chocolate and water but upon trying the drink, he found it ‘nauseous’.

Thus, instead of drinking the chocolate with water, he decided that he could improve the formula by first using milk as a substitute for water. After adding sugar to the beverage, he found it tasted more palatable, the museum said.

Sloane believed that the beverage did not only taste good now but it was healthy.

When he went back to England, Sloane brought the milk and cocoa mixture with him, and for so many years, it was sold as medicine.

Hard to believe?

Though many have attempted to credit Sloane with the creation of chocolate milk, an article on Smithsonian.com states that he was most likely not the first man to create the mixture as chocolate had been around for thousands of years and the Europeans were aware of its existence in the 1500s.

In effect, it is hard to believe that no one before Sloane thought of creating the chocolate and milk mixture. According to other records, the Jamaicans were even the ones to create that mixture.

Jame Delbougo, a historian, said that the Jamaicans were brewing “a hot beverage brewed from shavings of freshly harvested cacao, boiled with milk and cinnamon” as far back as 1494. Chocolate has been known to humans as far back as 350 B.C.

“Even Europeans had known about chocolate since 1502 when Columbus brought it back from his conquests in the Americas—although it wasn’t until Cortez pillaged the Aztecs in 1516 that Europeans actually figured out what to do with cacao. In fact, Cortez had a similar reaction to Sloan when served the bitter drink—he added spices and sugar to cut the bite,” according to the Smithsonian article.

For other historians, the real owners of chocolate milk are still not known and the debate will forever remain.

Chocolate milk is the favourite of many people

In the meantime, chocolate milk would continue to witness a surge in its demand due to its amazing health benefits.

Since it contains the same amount of nutrients as white milk (Calcium, Protein, Phosphorous, Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Niacin. Riboflavin, and Potassium), it helps fight diseases and illnesses, including low blood pressure, tooth decay and enamel buildup that may lead to tooth disease.

Chocolate milk also has a ton of benefits for the skin as it helps to reduce and prevent wrinkles, grow new cells, and retain water in the skin.

Each serving of chocolate milk also provides 27% of one’s daily recommended calcium intake, leading to the prevention of osteoporosis and arthritis, thus making one’s bones stronger.

After a workout or physical activity, people are encouraged to drink chocolate milk as it helps with muscle repair.

In West Africa, the chocolate industry is facing so many challenges as leading countries in the supply of cocoa (Ivory Coast and Ghana) have not made inroads in chocolate manufacturing due to high manufacturing costs.

A recent cocoa price slump also affected the incomes of cocoa farmers, the budgets of governments as they incurred losses from cocoa export earnings and child labour resurfaced on cocoa farms.

A thriving local chocolate industry for West African countries would be ideal as it continues to be a staple in the diet of many and hence there would always be a demand.

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