It never fails to amaze me how handily giant corporations have been able to control and run America—especially when it comes to health and dietary guidelines.
So, with the growing popularity of “plant-based” milks, I think we all knew it was only a matter of time before a fight over their merits broke out in earnest.
And, well… it looks like that time is now. Thanks in part to a new public health campaign called “Healthy Drinks, Healthy Kids.”
One step forward, two steps back
This campaign comes courtesy of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Heart Association.
Its goal is to get the word out on “healthy” drink choices for children under the age of five. (Though these aren’t exactly the people I’d be turning to for nutritional recommendations of any kind.)
Needless to say, their age-based guidelines are a real mixed bag:
- Before six months, babies should only drink breast milk or formula.
- Babies between six months and a year old can sip water with their solid food, but they shouldn’t have juice.
- Between 12 and 24 months, kids can drink whole milk and water. Small amounts of 100% fruit juice are okay.
- Between 2 and 5 years, low-fat or skim milk and water should be the main beverages kids drink. Small servings of 100% fruit juice are still okay.
I see where they’re going with this, but honestly… why would anyone recommend serving low-fat milk to a child whose brain is still developing??? Little brains need an abundance of fat to grow properly.
Not only that, but when you cut the fat, guess what’s left? That’s right—sugar. And a lot of it.
I totally agree with limiting fruit juice. But low-fat and skim milk is garbage, pure and simple. And when you add chocolate syrup? Well, that just amps up the sugar content, paving the way to fatty liver, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, as readily as a candy bar.
And for the record? Unsweetened and minimally processed nut milks, in particular, are a perfectly healthy replacement for any of these options.
Dangerously misguided “guidance”
According to the “experts,” plant-based milks aren’t necessarily dangerous. They just don’t have the nutrition that cow’s milk does—which could mean that kids don’t get the calcium, vitamin D, and protein they need.
But I disagree. Vitamin D is added to cow’s milk, which means it could be added to any milk beverage. And dairy isn’t even your best dietary source for calcium—it’s dark leafy greens, which kids really should be eating instead.
And nut-based milks, at least, are crammed with protein—and could certainly be fortified with more of it.
But of course, the only plant-based milk that gets even half-hearted endorsement in this campaign is soy milk. And we all know that’s a total nightmare for children. After all, it’s packed with phytoestrogens which are destructive to their thyroid glands.
At the end of the day, these four organizations don’t know squat about nutrition. And if you ask me, they should probably keep their big mouths shut on the subject, lest they unknowingly dispense any more horrible advice.
It’s a real shame, because statistics show that nearly half of all kids between the ages of two and five drink sugary drinks every single day. Which means that clearly—and sadly—guidance of this nature is necessary.
But most companies have one goal— to sell their products.
They know that kids love sugar, and that parents want to offer their children healthy options. So they cover their products in cartoons and make sure they taste sweet. But they also use gimmicky language to trick parents into thinking their products are actually “healthy” and suitable for human (much less their child’s) consumption.
It’s way past time we cracked down on manufacturers and instituted regulations to avoid deceptive marketing. But in the meantime, consumers need know how to read labels properly, too.
It isn’t always easy to see through Big Food’s marketing tactics. And they like to target conscientious shoppers in particular. That’s why I dedicated an entire feature to the truth behind labeling lies in the current issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives, as well as exposing the truth behind milk alternatives (“BUYER BEWARE: Food manufacturers ‘milking’ the dairy-free trend”).
Subscribers have access to that issue, and every issue before it, in my archives. So if you haven’t yet, why wait? Sign up today.
“New Kids’ Guidelines: Drink Milk, Water, Avoid Plant-Based ‘Milk’” Medscape Medical News, 09/23/2019. (medscape.com/viewarticle/918873)