Results are in . . . Adults love
the taste of ARS' reduced-sugar, low-fat
milk shakes. This shake for the new millennium is a remake of the low-sugar
shake developed in the 1970s for USDA's school lunch program by retired
researcher Virginia Holsinger, formerly with ARS' Dairy Products Research Unit
in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania.
The new shakes have less than half the sugar and about 10 percent of the fat
of commercial shakes.
The concept of a low-sugar, low-fat shake was probably ahead of its time two
decades ago. Now, however, since the introduction of low-fat cheese into the
school lunch program and a push toward more nutritionally balanced meals, the
shake's time may have finally comein schools and elsewhere.
Last fall, ARS opened its doors to about 600 youngsters for a taste-testing
of the chocolate shakes, which are more like soft-serve ice cream. Kids, with
their "choosy" culinary tastes, weren't crazy about the shakes. Some
comments: "Not sweet enough," "There's an aftertaste," and
"Tastes like cereal."
"We're trying to reformulate the shakes and get rid of the cereal
flavor," says Richard Konstance, a chemical engineer in the dairy unit.
Konstance is working with cooperative research and development agreement
partner Devine Foods, Inc., of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to change the shakes
and further develop them as a commercial product.
"Our goal is to provide a dessert that contains the same nutrients as
an 8-ounce glass of chocolate milk. But it's easier to provide cartons of milk
than milk shakes," Konstance says.
"It's more labor intensive to provide shakes because schools need a
milk shake machine or soft-serve machine and someone to operate it," says
Konstance. "A hard-pack version of the shake would be easier for schools
to deal with, but there's a difference in formulating soft-serve and hardened
"Ultimately, we want to create a product for young children that is
healthful and great tasting," says Denise Devine, president of Devine
After getting kids' opinions, ARS took the shakes for another test
drivethis time with adults, ages 22 to 52. The adults loved them! They
thought they were just sweet enough and tasted better than many other dietary
What's more, the shakes are good for you. They are based on ARS technology
and contain Devine's patented composition, which reduces fat and calorie
content and adds fiber and nutrients. The fiber content is about 2 to 2.2
percent, which qualifies the shakes as a good source of fiber. A 10-ounce shake
has as much calcium, vitamins, and minerals as a serving of milk and has fewer
One more benefit: The shakes are significantly lower in lactosegood
news for those who are lactose intolerant.
"These nutritious shakes should be available to consumers in the near
future," says Konstance.By Tara Weaver-Missick, Agricultural
Research Service Information Staff.
This research is part of New Uses, Quality, and Marketability of Plant
and Animal Products, an ARS National Program (#306) described on the World Wide
Web at http://www.nps.ars.usda.gov/programs/cppvs.htm.
Richard P. Konstance is in
the USDA-ARS Dairy Products Research Unit, Eastern Regional Research Center, 600 E.
Mermaid Lane, Wyndmoor, PA 19038; phone (215) 233-6600, fax (215) 233-6795.