USDA sets school lunch standards that still limit fat, but not sugar?

Well, the USDA has once again set out their nutritional standards for public school lunches and they still have mimimum calorie requirements, and set limits on fat, but sugar? Nope. Despite mounting evidence that it is sugar and high carb foods, not fat, that are causing many health issues http://www.grist.org/article/food-2010-12-20-scientists-say-carbs–not-fat–are-the-biggest-problem-with, it is still ok to continue to serve sugar laden milk (of course, fat free because that’s better) http://www.grist.org/article/food-2011-01-13-head-of-harvard-nutrition-unit-says-no-to-chocolate-milk and have calorie requirements that are difficult to meet without having to add sugar, once you have to get rid of the fat. Now companies are trying to follow these guidelines and make food taste decent, by guess what? Adding sugar. http://www.bnet.com/blog/food-industry/how-food-companies-are-scrambling-to-stay-on-school-lunch-menus/2796?tag=content;drawer-container . Funny, since fat is actually an essential nutrient for survival, while carbohydrates, and obviously sugar, are not – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbohydrate. Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe in the end it is a parent’s job to be aware and in control of their children’s diet, but it certainly doesn’t help when the government isn’t giving any better guidelines to adults, and they are providing this processed, high sugar food that fits their “standards”. I don’t think I have all the answers here, I know that better food often equals more money, but I feel it is worth calling attention to. Here is info on one woman, Ann Cooper, who is making things better, perhaps some place to start? http://www.grist.org/article/food-2010-11-22-lessons-from-boulder-school-food.

And in case you haven’t read enough, an interesting article on a “Sugar Free” School – http://www.publicschoolreview.com/articles/151

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Just a question

Am I wrong in thinking that glucose, a sugar, is needed to produce energy during cellular respiration? Yes I know that fats do it as well and there is no nutritional value for sugar but sugars are the main source of energy are they not?

amyreh

I am definitely not an expert on cellular respiration, but check out the nutrition section in the Wikipedia article I link to. Not that I think Wikipedia is the end all be all source, but the information provided in that article is readily available from other sources as well. Here is a link showing that protein and fats can also be used for cellular respiration, but glucose is usually used as an example. http://www.phschool.com/science/biology_place/biocoach/cellresp/intro.html. I will note here, I don’t think that you should necessarily be eating no carbohydrates, just making a point with this. I just recommend getting them from sources such as non starchy vegetables, and even starchier high nutrient vegetable sources such as sweet potatoes and butternut squash for after intense workouts or if you are able to eat them while maintaining your weight. Some people can with no problem, but from my understanding, some people have more sensitivity to that level of starch, at least on a regular basis. Hope that answers your question!

Ben

Low fat milk with added sugar really gets on my goat. Thanks for blogging about this and bringing attention to it!

    amyreh

    Thanks for the comment Ben! It is definitely a problem and the dairy industry has their claws in tight!