The changes, as far as I know, have little to no real scientific validity. The changes all stem from outdated presumptions about the cause and cure of obesity. From what I can tell, the USDA and Michelle consulted with Jillian Michaels, Kate Moss, and Jenny Craig instead of the world’s leading obesity researchers to make this dramatic and assuredly harmful overhaul of public school lunches.
Let’s dissect. The scariest of the new standards…
1) Limit Calorie intake… To control portion size, school lunches are now calorie-controlled. To give an example of the levels of calorie intake, high school-age kids are limited to 850-950 calories for lunch. Scientific study and personal observation have shown no connection between calorie intake and obesity. Obesity researcher Linda Bacon has cataloged over 75 studies showing a link between dietary restriction and increased obesity risk. Obesity ‘reporter’ Paul Campos calls limiting calories “the single biggest predictor of future weight gain.” Decreased calorie consumption, in many decades of study, has never shown to have a significant long-term impact on bodyweight. It has shown only to cause short-term weight loss followed by long-term weight regain – equaling or surpassing weights of those who haven’t restricted calories. High calorie intake probably does have the most significant connection between height, strength, athletic performance, speed, and other virtues.
2) Limit Starchy vegetable consumption… This is particularly genius, as starch has been the primary source of calories in every major human civilization prior to the recent major rise in obesity. Ironically, starch has been shown to significantly lower calorie consumption in young children. Really well-thought out guidelines guys! As they say, “good enough for government work!” Watch out for those yams and taters!
3) Whole milk has been banned… BANNED!!! Dangerous stuff that whole milk! Reduced fat milk has not been proven to be effective against obesity. Neither has low-fat chocolate milk, which kids are drinking more of now that whole milk is gone. Ironic once again – but there are many leads showing that whole milk might be protective against obesity. For example, as breast milk becomes higher in calories and fat, it becomes increasingly protective against obesity. At the very least, whole milk has no known universally fattening effect…
1 — Berkey CS, et al. Milk, dairy fat, dietary calcium, and weight gain: a longitudinal study of adolescents. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005 Jun;159(6):543-50.
2 — Barba G, et al. Inverse association between body mass and frequency of milk consumption in children. Br J Nutr. 2005 Jan;93(1):15-9.
3 — Pereira MA, et al. Dairy consumption, obesity, and the insulin resistance syndrome in young adults: the CARDIA Study. JAMA. 2002 Apr 24;287(16):2081-9.
4 — Huh SY, et al. Prospective association between milk intake and adiposity in preschool-aged children. J Am Diet Assoc. 2010 Apr;110(4):563-70.
According to leading authorities, and the scientific investigation that has been done, these changes will do nothing to improve childhood obesity. But these are harsh changes. No longer is a person’s appetite in charge of how many calories they need, but now the decision is based on something that took place amongst a bunch of government employees in cooperation with a publicity move on behalf of the president’s wife? Now kids can’t drink whole milk, but only milk that has been proven to be inferior to whole milk?
They now have a quota on starchy vegetables that they cannot exceed? This is crazy. What’s next? Only a certain amount of oxygen will be allowed into the school building each day when we discover an overweight lung epidemic?
It’s sick really. I am left nearly speechless that the government has successfully intervened to decide what kids shall and shall not eat in order to prevent obesity, when there is no known cause and cure for obesity. While they are at it, why not make the kids have a shot of Goji juice to prevent cancer, put some statins in the water fountain to prevent heart disease, and dance a jig with a handful of beans to cure attention deficit disorder?
But I guess this is the human way – serve up an attempt at a solution when there is no known solution, just because people are desperate for a solution. I think it’s all an elaborate attempt to “look busy.”
It all reminds me of Uncle Rico trying to solve his problems in life by electrocuting his balls with a magic crystal-powered device. And in this case, I very much feel like Uncle Rico seeing Napolean (Michelle Obama) wince in pain…
Michelle (in reference to the new food guidelines years from now): It’s a piece of crap it doesn’t work.
Me: I coulda told you that.
And Rudy Leibel, Linda Bacon, Jeffrey Friedman, Gina Kolata, and dozens of others “coulda told you that” too.
I look forward to the day that school lunches become a political battleground between our two glorious American political parties. Maybe Republicans could be low-carb, and Democrats could be low-fat. Debates will evolve beyond their current level reminiscent of Billy Madison’s shampoo vs. conditioner bath scene and start to sound more like old Miller Lite commercials – “Tastes Great! Less Filling!”
In closing, looking at what we know about obesity, most obesity-proneness is determined before a child is even born, and during the early developmental period long before the first disgusting school lunch is choked down. Heredity, low socioeconomic status, length of breastfeeding period, improving quality of mother’s milk, metabolic rate – these are where some progress MIGHT be made. School lunches? Not a chance. A total waste of time.
This is just an annoying and frighteningly Orwellian attempt to fix a problem by doing what we know doesn’t work. Good job retards. If you want to play around with other people’s food, I recommend getting jobs at McDonald’s where you belong. They have salads and apple slices there now. Oh but you won’t. Next thing I know I will have a tired, hungry, and irritable obese Girl Scout on a low-calorie diet at my door with freeze dried broccoli florets for sale. I hope my hands are well-washed from my last tasty meal. I might lose a finger!
And by the way, if you assume I must be a Republican because I am bashing Michelle Obama’s school lunch intervention, I recommend turning the television off, wiping the drool off of yourself, and taking a moment to think of the possibility that there may be more than two choices for who could represent a nation. If you would like to show strong support for one of the two main political parties in the United States in the comments section, be sure to check out the Dr. Oz Show, The Doctors, and The Biggest Loser. You will probably love those shows a lot more than this site.