Friday, March 26, 2010

New bill to ban 2% milk in schools. Is this really helping?

The NYTimes has a piece on the pending legislation to improve school nutrition.  A cornerstone of the suddenly not-so-exciting sounding bill?
For example, milk is the biggest single source of saturated fat on the lunch line. The bill would allow only skim milk to be offered, banning whole and 2 percent. And schools will be required to make sure children have water with their meals.
Call me crazy, but I don't think 2% milk is making our children fat.  In fact, I think there's probably no problem with children (who eat dairy) drinking 2% milk, since kids are active and growing and hence have high calorie requirements, and getting them from wholesome foods like milk will help them not need to get them elsewhere, like from the chips and soda they'll purchase on their way home from school (trust me). 

From the Fat Nutritionist:
...Little kids are metabolically active. Meaning, their energy requirements, per unit body mass, are huge. Meaning, they naturally seek out energy-dense foods — like concentrated sugars and fats. Meaning candy, cake, and ice cream.  Meaning, kids are perfectly normal for liking, even for obsessing a little, about these things.  The way to deal with it, in my opinion, is not to make it a big deal. It’s part of a stage they’re going through physically, as well as mentally.
So giving them plenty of calorie (but also nutrient) rich foods might help them make good choices about other calorie (but not nutrient) rich foods.  I've also heard that little kids should not be fed a low fat diet, because they need fat for brain development.  Moreover, I thought the weight loss community had moved on from its obsession with restricting fat and calories to the more reasonable recommendation of a varied diet of wholesome and nutritious foods.  Michelle Obama, I'm hoping you hear this: Yes our kids need better foods in schools, but can we please spare them the weight loss fads of the nineties?

Earlier: Jamie Oliver's food revolution is inspiring and maddening all at once

1 comment:

  1. $2.68+ is too little to pay for a wholesome meal. What do children get? Highly-processed foods from the lowest bidder. Not to mention bad habits (and a bad understanding of food) that they keep with them for life.

    Watching Jamie Oliver's show actually gives me less hope, as it's alerted me to how few people seem to understand how horrible school nutrition is right now.


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