Folks, we have our Jamie’s Food Revolution finale! The Los Angeles United School District has voted to GET RID of flavored milk in its schools.
Of course, the LAUSD won’t let Oliver have this one. From the USA Today article:
Some board members were rankled by the perception that the district was caving in to Oliver, who unsuccessfully lobbied the district to be allowed to film in local schools.
“I really don’t understand why we’re letting a TV chef dictate our policy,” said board member Tamar Galatzan, who noted that many health advocates including the American Heart Association say the nutritional benefits of flavored milk outweigh the harm of added sugar.
So it’s a coincidence that the LAUSD is getting a SHITTY reputation for being short-sighted and truculent on national television and then passed this motion? Ok.
I, for one, am thrilled. I take issue with some of Jamie’s myopic views on nutrition, school lunches and obesity (and this show is really wearing on my nerves something awful), but the one thing I am 100% with him on: flavored milk. In L.A., children get 8 ounces of fat free milk with 20-27 grams of sugar in the chocolate and strawberry flavored varieties. That’s a lot of sugar for 8 ounces, and they’re not even getting the “good fat” of 1% or 2%?! The LAUSD points out that many of the fruit juices they serve have 27-29 grams of sugar per serving… um, dude: SUGARY FRUIT JUICE IS ALSO BAD.
But I digress. If you give kids a choice between “plain” milk and flavored milk, they’re going to choose the flavored milk. Duh. I wasn’t allowed to have flavored milk much as a kid (either because my mom was being nutritionally sound, or we couldn’t afford Nestle strawberry milk mix — who knows!), but when I could get my hands on it OMG WATCH OUT. Naysayers say kids won’t drink plain milk without flavors. I disagree. If you give kids all these “options” and expect them to pick the healthiest one, you are dreaming. Children have no impulse control. They’re children! (srsly: there is fancy brain development stuff to back this up) If they have one option, and it’s a healthy choice? They won’t know any different and they will happily drink the milk.
I’ll close with the last few paragraphs of the USA Today piece. They hit the nail on the head:
“Thirty percent of our kids are obese or are on track to diabetes,” said Jennie Cook of Food for Lunch, a coalition advocating nutritious school food. She has been pushing the district to eliminate flavored milk for the past year. “This is a social justice issue.”
Emily Ventura, a researcher with the University of Southern California’s Childhood Research Center, noted that a number of experts did not recommend flavored milk as a healthy choice. She said 6,000 LAUSD parents had signed a petition to eliminate flavored milk from the district.
Some school districts have opted for a middle road, using natural sweeteners like cane sugar, beet sugar and Truvia to sweeten milks instead of high-fructose corn syrup based flavorings.
But others say children should learn to drink plain milk.