I used to like Jamie Oliver. Maybe I will again. But since he convinced the Los Angeles Unified School District to ban flavored milk based on its "high sugar content," I officially think he's a complete idiot. This is why: Oliver went out of his way to demonstrate the evils of chocolate and strawberry milk on his ABC show Food Revolution by filling an entire school bus with sand and likening the vast quantity to the amount of added sugar LA students consume every year in flavored milk alone, one serving of which apparently has the same amount of sugar as a candy bar (between 20 and 27 grams). But guess what? The fruit juice served by the same school cafeterias contains 27 to 29 grams of sugar, and nobody's banning those bevvies.
Even weirder, while I've never heard a pediatrician encourage parents to give their kids juice (unless it's fresh squeezed or has medicine hidden in it or something), I have heard many pediatricians encourage parents to resort to flavored milk if it's the only way they can get their kids to drink milk at all. That would be because milk has very helpful things in it like calcium and protein, while the average juice box packs all the calories of flavored milk but next to no nutritional punch. So, which is the drink that's supposedly contributing to our country's childhood obesity epidemic?
Well, in my opinion, neither. Here's a newsflash nobody is going to like hearing: Apple juice and chocolate milk aren't making your kids fat! If that were the case, kids would have been developing diabetes en masse way before now. Think about what people ate in the 1950s! Meatloaf, Wonder Bread, root beer floats. We weren't a nation of fatties then. What gives?
I'm not pretending to have all the answers. I can't tell you how we should tackle this country's current health crisis. But I can tell you, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that turning flavored milk into contraband ain't gonna do it.
Do you think the ban on flavored milk in schools is crazy?
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