The Milk Wars: Should Milk Be Taken Off the School-Lunch Menu? – Time
The war on milk has shifted fronts. First it was sugar-laden chocolate milk, which parents and school administrators battled in recent years to remove from school-lunch menus. Now, it’s plain old moo that’s under fire.
On Thursday, a national doctors group petitioned the U.S. government to remove milk as a required food group from the National School Lunch Program, the federally assisted program that has provided lunch to millions of public school kids since 1946. The doctors’ reasoning: milk doesn’t help protect kids’ bones…
But then, when was the last time you saw a schoolchild with kale on his tray? Nutritionists argue that milk is still a primary source of calcium and one of the easiest ways for kids to get enough of the mineral daily. “I think it’s irresponsible to take this beverage that children enjoy, especially among those who are unable to meet their nutrient needs for the day, and remove it from the lunch line,” says Keri Gans, a registered dietician and author of The Small Change Diet.
And even if its benefits to bone health have been overblown, milk still packs plenty of other important nutrients: vitamin A, protein, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B12 and phosphorus. Further, a 2008 study of more than 7,550 kids found that drinking plain or flavored milk was associated with higher overall nutrient intake, and was not associated with weight gain.
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