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Monday, November 16, 2009

Candy for Lunch- mmmmm

What if I said I was gonna serve your kid 5 to 7 teaspoons of sugar for lunch..? at school?

And that's just the drink--not the sugary ketchup, sweetened applesauce, floating fruit, sticky teriyaki sauce or high-fructose-corn-syrup-laden bread...

In a tiny half-pint carton of school chocolate milk, that's exactly what kids are getting--22 to 28 grams of sugar, 130 to 170 calories. Your child will need to run an extra mile and a half during P.E. to burn-off that extra sugar. (What P.E.??)

Chocolate Milk is really candy. We all know that. And it's totally delicious. I loooove a tall, cold glass of fat-free chocolate milk. But I also know that it's an indulgence, and I'm going to have to figure out how to compensate for the empty extra calories and that diabetes-inducing sugar spike... It's certainty not something I'd want to serve my kids for lunch during the school day. (Now the OTHER kids maybe, especially bratty-mcbrat-alots, the bullies or the ones competing against my kids for coveted scholarships... THOSE kids should lap up all the sugary-sweet, artificially-flavored milk they can...)

So once again, industry thinks parents are dumber than dirt. This time it's Big Dairy-the brains behind the super-successful "Got Milk." Check out milk's food pyramid dominance if you're curious just how powerful the Dairy Industry is. No matter most people on the planet get gassy, bloated or suffer bouts of diarrhea from drinking cow's milk, Big Dairy has us convinced we'll spontaneously combust if we don't drink the stuff. Hey, it's a fat, sugar and protein--it's the perfect food! (for baby cows.) If the lactose doesn't trip us up as we age, then the casein might...

So MilkPep, the "Got Milk" folks, have enlisted the help of some B-list celebs and one-time-good-guy-R.D. Felicia Stoler of "Honey We're Killing the Kids" fame to launch a new campaign trying to convince us chocolate milk is a healthy choice for kids at school: "Raise Your Hand for Chocolate Milk." They have a little website full of slanted messages they're attempting to spread through "Mommy Bloggers" and a petition to sign.

In MilkPep's defense, milk has some protein. But it's also loaded with saturated animal fat. Not so good. (The Institute of Medicine (IOM) is pushing for fat-free or 1% milk at school.) And the gobs of high fructose corn syrup is just too much.

We're supposed to believe that the calcium and trace amounts of Vitamin D are supposed to be a fair trade-off for all the garbage in chocolate milk. Not so fast. First off, if you want calcium and strong bones, eat loads of leafy green veggies and do weight-bearing exercise like running and jumping--the stuff kids love to do during Recess and P.E.! As for the Vitamin D... Yeah, most of us are dangerously low in this vital bone-building, immunity-building, mood-stabilizing vitamin. Those of us living above the latitude running from Atlanta to Los Angeles can't possibly get enough UVB sun rays during the Fall through Winter for us to produce Vitamin D. But don't be fooled. The scant amount sprayed into milk is about 1/10th of what a child needs on any given day based on the most current recommendations. Check with your physician and see how much daily Vitamin D-3 supplement makes sense for you and your children.

So forget chocolate milk at school. Save the delicious concoction for special treats on the weekends or at a party. When at school? Water is your child's best choice. If you want to go with milk, make sure it's fat-free white. Would it surprise you to know that even a school-sized, half-pint carton of fat-free white milk has the equivalent of 3 teaspoons of sugar in it?? Somehow that message just doesn't come across on the food pyramid...

1 comment:

Sarah Dee said...

I was so sad when I was a kid and everyone was enjoying their chocolate milk and I had my water because I am lactose intolerant. As I grew up and learned about my mothers celiacs disease and my brothers celiacs and lactose intolerance I was happy for this thing that most people see as a curse I see it as a blessing. I look around at the child obesity and the obesity in general and then I look at my family (all extremely petite and not at all overweight) I feel blessed my body rejects something that is bad for me in the first place.