Yesterday during lunch at Jefferson High, a student proudly told me he lost 46 pounds giving up soda. I said "that's awesome!" and asked if I could help him keep up his health improvements with a tip - did he know the strawberry milk he was drinking had just about as much sugar as a soda? We looked for plain milk from the lunch line to compare, but were told they don't give out the plain milk anymore! So his only milk option yesterday gave him 23 grams of mostly added sugar - nearly half of what the CSPI recommends for daily intake. Policy makers and advocates in LA work so hard to make healthy changes in school menus, but what translates down through to the lunch line isn't always consistent with good health.
If we are even remotely serious about addressing diabetes and obesity in this nation, we can't keep mainlining sugar to our kids via all the juices, sweetened milks, and refined foods that can be part of the so called healthy school lunch. On a recent day, a school breakfast delivered MORE than the 50 grams of added sugar. How is that healthy? Meager funds and logistics make feeding a district this size a daunting task, but why turn away those who are seroius about doing the work that's really needed if we are going to give our kids a real fighting change to change their health statistics? Resisting change to maintain a comfortably functioning but unhealthy system is not good business.