Chocolate milk, strawberry milk, corn dogs and chicken nuggets are on the way out of LA schools. Jamie Oliver, a celebrity chef, is also making his name as a pioneer against child obesity and better health for our schooled youth in general. This week the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) announced a ban on flavored milk for starters, making steps towards a healthier future for students.

A LAUSD spokesperson stated:

“Jamie Oliver provided the opportunity to focus on an area that could contribute to ongoing district initiatives, which included the recommendation for the removal of flavored milk with added sugars. Our goal, in tandem with Jamie Oliver, is to continue to serve healthy and nutritious meals.”

It’s not just soda that’s full of sugar. Kids are getting it from the chocolate and strawberry milk they drink at school too. Flavored milk also has other ingredients you won’t find in the plain stuff such as colors, flavors, artificial sweeteners, which don’t make it more nutritious.

About one in three American children are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since 1980, obesity prevalence in people ages 2 to 19 has nearly tripled.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Unified School District decided, in a 5-2 vote, that L.A. public schools will no longer offer flavored milks as part of an effort to curb childhood obesity. The board decided on a five-year contract that will continue to offer low- and no-fat milks. Officials added soy milk and Lactaid options, but gave strawberry and chocolate milks the boot.

The district also vowed to offer more vegetarian options and to phase out fried and breaded items such as corn dogs and chicken nuggets.

LAUSD food services director Dennis Binkle adds:

“Those excess calories are not needed and, when coupled with insufficient exercise, increases risk for students. These include the fat-free chocolate milk and fat-free strawberry milk. We are making sure the meals served are of the highest nutrients possible, making sure serving sizes are appropriate and encouraging exercise.”

Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at the Yale University School of Medicine continues:

“The more sugar we consume, the more we tend to want. If even milk has added sugar, what doesn’t? Part of getting everyone to better eating is getting everyone familiar with more wholesome, less-processed foods. Milk closer to nature is a better choice than milk with added sugar and colorings and flavorings. Every eating occasion is an opportunity to promote health or oppose it. If schools take a lead role in promoting health, there will still be much work to do outside of schools, but school then become an important part of the solution, rather than contributing to the problem.”

Dr. Jana Klauer, a nutrition and metabolism expert in New York agrees:

“Adding flavorings and sugar to milk offers no nutritional benefit. The harm of the sweetened dairy products, besides the added calories, is that the palate changes so that the drive for sweetness increases.”

Sources: Los Angeles Unified School District and The Jamie Oliver Food Revolution

Written by Sy Kraft