Banning Milk From School Lunches Will Do More Harm Than Good

Rant 48

milk cartonOf all the battlegrounds in the school lunchroom, I never thought I'd see the day when a bunch of doctors were actually telling parents that milk was the bad guy. Milk? As in the white stuff our parents made us suck down by the gallon? Could it really be as evil as (gasp) soda?

Yup, that's the stuff the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is demanding the USDA kick out of the National School Lunch Program. The non-profit says the calcium in milk is not helping our kids' bones at all, and the fat content is turning them into a bunch of fatties. And I'm not buying it for a second.

Coming from a group that peddles a vegan diet program (get the book for just $25.99!), it's no surprise that PCRM is anti-milk. The non-profit spends a lot of time trying to convince people that animal anything is bad for you.

But as a vegetarian who still pushes milk on my kid, and makes her take a calcium supplement because I'm all-too-aware that about nine million American women suffer from osteoporosis, allow me to poke a few holes in their argument.

1. It's true, milk can be fattening. And this is why the National School Lunch Program tells schools to provide one cup of fat-free or low-fat milk at breakfast and lunch. Fat issue down, let's move on.

2. Now how about calcium, the stuff we've always been told is supposed to help kids build strong bones? Well, for starters, the lower the fat content of the milk, the better shot your kid's body has at absorbing the calcium.

3. Then there's vitamin D. We keep hearing that the increased use of sunscreen means American kids are not getting nearly enough of this important vitamin, to the point where millions of kids are vitamin D deficient. Any guesses where our kids get their dose of this stuff? Hint: it's white, most of us drink it cold ...

But of course the PCRM says that milk isn't giving kids enough calcium, and by getting rid of it, they'll make room for other calcium-rich substance like greens. 'Scuse me, but when did it become an either/or with our kids?

If kids are already not getting enough calcium (and the studies show school-aged girls are especially at risk with this), shouldn't we want MORE, not less? Shouldn't we be doing everything we can to prevent them from skipping the milk and going straight for the soda or the energy drinks?

How about we leave milk alone and start talking about what is really wrong with the school lunch program: allowing pizza to count as a vegetable ...

What do you think? Is milk causing our kids more harm than good?


Image via Where's My Hippo?/Flickr

kid health, kids nutrition, school lunch


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count... countrygirl670

Don't know.  But I don't push milk on my kids.  I push greens.  I have never seen my 67 year old mother drink a glass of milk in my life.  But she eats plenty of greens, nearly every day.  At her recent bone scan, the doctor said she had the bones of a 30 year old.

Sierr... SierraLynn

It sounds like some crazy vegan group trying to push their agenda on others.

I have no problem with vegetarians or vegans, I don't question their lifestyles. But I honestly can't stand when they try to push their lifestyles on others.

nonmember avatar Nicky

It really upsets me how whole milk is skewed, especially with WIC. Kids are not getting fat from milk, get a grip! It's that soda and cheap junk food they're eating. I don't push milk on my son either, but he's getting whole milk if anything.

bondage bondage

i think those quack need to get there heads examined milk is good for the body

Azale... AzaleaMichelle

That's good news for cows! Those creatures are treated horribly on factory dairy farms. 

Dawn15 Dawn15

Regular milk being offered is not a bad thing, however I do agree that chocolate milk and strawberry milk should be removed as the amount of sugar in those things is astronomical

Jacks... Jacksmom7510

Cows milk is not fully digestable by humans. Milk is not a health food by any means, it does more harm than good; however, many children eat terribly and at least milk is fortified with vitamins they probably wouldn't get otherwise. They should leave milk but also have options like almond. Almond has less fat and 50% more calcium than cows milk. Most adults have a sensitivity to dairy, soy, and wheat probably from ingesting too much as a child.

jagam... jagamama0710

I don't think milk is absolutely necessary (we do use it in this house but our family of 4 barely goes through a gallon a week) and there are certainly other ways to get calcium and vitamin D in your diet. I also don't want my kids drinking school milk because it's pretty much guaranteed non-organic and full of hormones. HOWEVER, I don't believe a vegan lifestyle is the healthiest diet (that's my own personal opinion so save the bashing) and it shouldn't be forced upon all the kids. If you don't want your kid drinking milk they don't have to. Having it in the school doesn't mean they have to drink it. 

I agree with you, Jeanne. Perhaps they should spend their efforts on getting more fresh produce into school lunches instead of taking away milk. 

Beth Wankel

Milk should not be banned from school lunches. My God. I know some people don't want their kids to drink milk. So they won't be forced to drink milk. But some people do want their children to get the vitamins from the milk, and we're not afraid of a little fat (kids need a little bit of fat in their diet, just like the rest of us, and 1% milk won't turn them into "fatties"). It's like you said, let's focus on banning the bad stuff. When I was in high school, the hot lunch fare was your basic pizza, tater tot casserole, sloppy joes crap. And we had an array of dessert options, including donuts and ice cream bars. Let's work in improving the food, and leave the nutritious beverages where they are. 

truea... truealaskanmom

I suggest you do your research into milk and dairy and what it really does to the human body, I drink milk and eat dairy but am not foolish enough not to research the issue and it is not healthy and does not have the benefits that it was once thought of to have. 

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