milk flavoring okay for kids

by: Diane Lofshult

Food for Thought

Parents know that milk provides key nutrients and fortifies bones and teeth in children. But it can be like pulling teeth to get some kids to drink plain, unflavored milk, especially if it is low-fat or fat-free milk.

Now a new study published in the April issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association says parents can resort to the occasional helping of chocolate- or strawberry-flavored milk if kids balk at drinking the white stuff.

The researchers found little difference in the health measures or body weight of kids who drank plain milk compared with those who favored the flavored brands. The subjects, who numbered more than 7,500 and ranged in age from 2 to 18 years old, had similar nutrient intakes of key vitamins and minerals, regardless of what type of milk they drank. The only kids who fell short were those who drank no milk at all.

“Findings from this study suggest that consumption of either flavored or plain milk is associated with a positive influence on nutrient intakes by children and adolescents and is not associated with adverse effects on BMI measures,” the researchers concluded.

IDEA Fitness Journal , Volume 5, Issue 9

© 2008 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Diane Lofshult IDEA Author/Presenter

Diane Lofshult is an award-winning freelance author who specializes in nutrition and weight management topics. She is the founder of In Other Words, an editorial consulting firm based in Solana Beach,...


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  • Nancy Jerominski

    While I don't expect the fitness industry as a whole to even begin to consider the stunning information I have read (because it's "old science" and not relevant. The pharmaceutical companies make billions off of a society dulled by lacking nutrition in the midst of plenty in this country), I will continue to press on because it is my belief, along with some very well credentialed experts not under the influence of big food and pharma, that we are perpetuating information which is making our country sicker and fatter with each passing decade. The WAPF does indeed discourage vegetarian or vegan diets. Dr. Price's research started because he wanted to find a vital, healthy and long lived people that were strictly vegetarian. He didn't find any. In fact, he found that the longest lived people ate a diet rich in saturated fats and animal proteins, depending on where in the world they were, which dictated their native diet. The WAPF also promotes eating plenty of saturated fats and animal based proteins from sustainably raised animals (quality DOES matter), the wisdom of traditional nutrition, organic wholesome foods, no artificial sweeteners, easy on the grains and lots of leafies. All one need do is look at the pictures to see the difference in those happy, healthy, stable and beautiful people and "us" today. Unfortunately, most mainstream media or experts consistently refute that because it's "old science". Why doesn't the evolutionary nutrition of the last 100,000 years loom over the last paltry 50 years of "relevant" science? If you look at the medical literature 25 or 30 years ago, you’ll note that any middle-aged man whose cholesterol was over 240 with other risk factors, such as smoking or overweight was put on statins. After the Cholesterol Consensus Conference in 1984, the parameters changed; anyone (male or female) with cholesterol over 200 was slapped on statins. Recently that number has been moved down to 180. My cholesterol is 290, but my ratio is 3.9. My triglycerides are 68. Why on earth would I take a statin then? Because the drug companies say so?! They want to put out an OTC version of statins as well as a pediatric version, even though currently close to 20 million Americans take Lipitor, never mind the other statins. Who is driving this madness? Anti-depressants are prescribed like candy for mood disorders stemming from lack of adequate amino acids found in clean sources of meat and saturated fats needed for the body to manufacture the neurotransmitters and hormones that rule the body. All one has to do is look at the allergy black eyes under the lackluster eyes of children on soy milk and soy-infused products. That isn't genetic or normal; it's inadequate saturated fats and proteins, too much sugar and sucralose and being exposed to some 15,000 different food additives/chemicals on any given day. THAT'S why I take umbrage with the notion that experts say flavored milk is OK for kids, but in small amounts. Well, is heroin OK in small amounts? Unfermented soy contains phyto-estrogens because the soy plant produces them as a way to control the insects that eat them. Bug eats soy plant, bug consumes phyto-estrogens, bug no longer produce off-spring. Not only that, but the phytic acid in unfermented soy makes digestion impossible, so any protein in the bean can't be assimilated. The FDA and the American Heart Association have both had to withdraw their endorsement for soy because they finally admit to the link between soy isoflavones and thyroid disorders. Health officials in France and Israel have concluded high soy consumption may pose a breast cancer risk and have issued public guidelines or required warning labels. Follow the paper trail and find out who is funding these research projects. You will be stunned by what you find. And, as when raw milk is demonized for all food poisoning, I'd like to see what else was on the table with that meat, if it was organic and grass fed and what they cooked the meat in. Without fail, when my clients stop consuming unfermented soy and consume adequate CLEAN sources of meat and saturated fats along with plenty of non GMO produce, raw nuts, seeds they flat feel better. All the modern medical journals can insist that these folks are putting themselves at risk, and I would submit my clients would disagree. All you have to do is LOOK at them to know they are getting the nutrition they need, not just calories. Their lipid panels improve, their list of meds stops or decreases and they feel better than they have in years. There’s all the proof I need and all they need. So, while there is so much IDEA and I agree on, this is an item we'll respectfully continue to disagree on. Thanks for all you do, though, and I'll keep eating the meat, fat, raw milk, cheese, non GMO produce, nuts and seeds that have given me better vitality at 52 than I had when I was 32. Let's debate the issue of gluten intolerance next! With 60 percent of white people and around 40 percent of people of color being intolerant of gluten on some level, why in the world are we told to eat so much wheat??
    Commented Nov 28, 2008
  • Sandy Todd Webster

    Thank you, Nancy, for expressing your opinion. I will do my best to address your many points. 1. The flavored milk study we reported on first appeared in the April 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, a reputable, peer reviewed scientific journal. Our reporting clearly emphasized that parents could resort to an "occasional" helping of flavored milk for children who simply wouldn't otherwise get milk in their diets and would be vulnerable to calcium deficiencies. Moderation and monitoring are the keys. 2. Regarding the study in the same issue you allude to regarding meat intake and hypertension, again, the article was gleaned from a reputable peer reviewed scientific journal (Journal of Hypertension). The prospective cohort study looked at almost 29,000 women with a 10-year follow up period--a very detailed piece of research. 3. When IDEA reports research, we evaluate the origins of the studies for outside influence (ie, who sponsored the research? Was it underwritten by a pharmaceutical group or other special interest trying to make a point favorable to their product? If so, we disregard them, as do most reputable scientific journals.) 4. We do our best to balance our reporting with plenty of information about the value of whole, natural foods. 5. The Weston A. Price Foundation's nutrition position appears to be whole, nutrient-rich foods in support of nutrients "found exclusively" in animal products. While they support organic farming and pasture-fed livestock, in promoting their position they argue against any research that shows animal products and saturated fat from these sources can be harmful to health in excess and increase risk for high cholesterol and heart disease. In fact, they seem to take a stand against vegetarian diets, claiming low fat and vegetarian diets are actually more detrimental to health. Sure, an extremely low total cholesterol level can be a health risk, but the greater concern is that heart disease is still the #1 cause of death; there is a scientifically established link between saturated fat, high cholesterol and heart disease risk. The research you quote goes against credible scientific research, positions and recommendations from USDA, USDHHS NIH, NCEP, ADA, AHA, AMA, etc. If your philosophy is working for you and your clients, that’s wonderful! I think we all need to find our balance and what works best for our own bodies. Meanwhile, we will keep doing our best to report responsibly the type of nutrition information that fitness and wellness professionals are able to dispense and recommend to clients within their scopes of practice. Respectfully, Sandy Todd Webster Editor in Chief IDEA Publications
    Commented Oct 01, 2008
  • Nancy Jerominski

    I most certainly mean no disrespect to the editors or Ms. Lofshult, but these two snippets in the “Food for Thought” pages made my eyes fly open and I actually said out loud, “Are you kidding me??” Have these brilliant researchers bothered to look at what “ingredients” make up the artificial flavorings in that milk?? I would love for them to enlighten me as to why in God’s name ANY of these would be beneficial to kids? “A typical artificial strawberry flavor contains the following ingredients: amyl acetate, amyl butyrate, amyl valerate, anethol, anisyl formate, benzyl acetate, benzyl isobutyrate, butyric acid, cinnamyl isobutyrate, cinnamyl valerate, cognac essential oil, diacetyl, dipropyl ketone, ethyl acetate, ethyl amyl ketone, ethyl butyrate, ethyl cinnamate, ethyl heptanoate, ethyl heptylate, ethyl lactate, ethyl methylphenylglycidate, ethyl nitrate, ethyl propionate, ethyl valerate, heliotropin, hydroxyphenyl-2-butanone (10 percent solution in alcohol), a-ionone, isobutyl anthranilate, isobutyl butyrate, lemon essential oil, maltol, 4-methylacetophenone, methyl anthranilate, methyl benzoate, methyl cinnamate, methyl heptine carbonate, methyl naphthyl ketone, methyl salicylate, mint essential oil, neroli essential oil, nerolin, neryl isobutyrate, orris butter, phenethyl alcohol, rose, rum ether, g-undecalactone, vanillin, and solvent” Reference: Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation Kids balk at drinking pasteurized, low fat milk because it tastes bad, has rancid fats, is basically sugar water and probably makes them sick. They also often have lost the taste for nutritionally dense food because they eat so much junk and processed food. Flavored milk is hardly any kind of food; it’s just calories loaded with all kinds of additives. Did these researchers take into consideration what else these people ate with their red meat? Did they use Morton’s salt? Cook it in rancid veggie oil? Look at the rest of their diets? How much pure, clean water did they drink? Argentineans consume the most red meat per capita than anywhere in the world, yet they have the lowest incident of colon cancer, high blood pressure and “clogged” arteries. It isn’t the red meat; it’s all the crap that is on the table with the red meat and the quality of that meat. I don’t have a PhD, but I find their conclusions ridiculous. Mary Enig is a PhD and Sally Fallon is a well respected nutritional author who is the president of the WAPF. I think this small part of one of their incredibly well referenced missives called “What Causes Heart Disease?” would indicate why the information in the “Food for Thought” column is so limited in its scope of conclusions. "The ABCs of Nutrient Deficiencies: In 1930, Dr. Weston Price published an interesting paper in the Journal of the American Dental Society.6 For years, Dr. Price had been analyzing the amount of vitamin A and vitamin D in butterfat. He noted that these nutrients were most plentiful in the spring and fall, when cows had access to rapidly growing green grass. During the winter and the dry summer months, levels of these vitamins in butterfat declined or disappeared completely. Dr. Price also tabulated the number of deaths from heart attacks in local hospitals. When he plotted these two variables against time on the same graph he found that deaths from heart disease were inversely proportional to the vitamin content in the butter. In other words, when nutrient levels were high, deaths from heart disease were low; and when nutrient levels were low in the winter and summer, deaths from heart disease were high. He found this pattern in many different localities, even in areas in the far north where there was only one vitamin peak, in midsummer, due to the short growing season. Heart disease researchers have largely ignored the possible role of vitamin A and D in protecting the heart, probably because these fat-soluble vitamins are found only in the foods they have demonized—animal fats. Yet both nutrients play numerous important roles in the body chemistry, principally as catalysts for protein and mineral assimilation.7 Both nutrients support endocrine function and protect against inflammation. Vitamin A is needed for the conversion of cholesterol into steroid hormones and, in fact, is rapidly depleted by stress. Cholesterol-lowering drugs increase the body's need for vitamin A. Vitamin D helps prevent high blood pressure and protects against spasms. As vitamin D is needed for calcium absorption, it contributes to a healthy nervous system and helps prevent arrythmias. In the 1960s, a pair of Canadian doctors named Wilfred and Evan Shute claimed to prevent recurrence of problems in CHD patients with the administration of vitamin E.8 They pointed out that lack of vitamin E in the American diet is partially due to the milling process which eliminates the highly perishable wheat germ, a significant source of vitamin E. High levels of omega-6 fatty acids from commercial vegetable oils can actually raise the body's requirements for vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can prevent free radicals from causing damage at the cellular level and it plays an essential role in cellular respiration, particularly in the cardiac muscles. Vitamin E makes it possible for these muscles and their nerves to function with less oxygen. It promotes dilation of the blood vessels and inhibits coagulation of the blood by preventing clots from forming. Dr. Linus Pauling, famous for his work on vitamin C, proposed vitamin C deficiency as a possible cause of CHD.9 A six-year Finnish study linked low blood levels of vitamin C to increased risk of heart attack during subsequent years.10 As an antioxidant, vitamin C protects against free radical damage. It has the effect of making oxygen metabolism more effective and may also help prevent clot formation. Vitamin C is essential for the production of collagen and therefore protects the integrity of the artery walls. Vitamin C is used up very quickly during periods of stress. Researcher Kilmer McCully has found a positive relationship between deficiencies in folic acid, B6 and B12 and severity of hardening or stiffness of the arteries, as well as the buildup of pathogenic plaque.11 Vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 are found almost exclusively in animal products—the foods that proponents of the lipid hypothesis advise us to avoid. Another nutrient found exclusively in animal products, particularly in red meat and organ meats, is coenzyme Q10, which serves as an antioxidant and as fuel for the mitochondria in the cells. In the body, coenzyme Q10 is most concentrated in the heart muscle cells. It seems to be helpful in reducing inflammation and has been used successfully in the treatment of heart disease.12 Cholesterol-lowering drugs greatly increase the body's need for coenzyme Q10. Deficiencies of certain minerals have also been proposed as possible causes of heart disease. According to Dr. Roger Williams, an inadequate supply of magnesium may result in the formation of clots and contribute to calcium deposits in the blood vessels.13 Heart attack patients improve their survival chances from 50 to 82 percent when given intravenous magnesium in the first 24 hours following myocardial infarction.14 Many other minerals play a role in cardiovascular health. Copper and zinc, for example, are contained in enzymes that the body uses to defuse free radicals and that help create healthy collagen. These minerals are most easily assimilated from animal foods. Deficiency of selenium has been linked to CHD15 and is associated with Keshan disease, characterized by fibrotic lesions in the heart.16 In conjunction with vitamin E, selenium has been used successfully to reduce or eliminate angina attacks. Soils in most of Finland are deficient in selenium, which may account in part for the fact that heart disease in that country is high. A national program to add selenium to the soil, initiated in 1985, may offer partial explanation for the decline in heart disease in Finland (although the decline began before the selenium enrichment program was instituted). It is easy to make the case that, in spite of our prosperity, the actual nutrient content of our foods has declined during the last 70 years. A number of researchers have cataloged the decline of minerals in our soils, due to intensive farming practices.17 Most milk in the US today comes from cows housed in confinement dairies. They are fed dry feed and never see the green grass their bodies need to make large quantities of vitamin A and vitamin D. Isolated isomers of vitamin D are added to milk in an attempt to rectify this situation. Processed food, usually based on sugar, white flour and vegetable oils, has replaced many nutrient-dense foods that were eaten routinely in the past. Few Americans eat liver on a weekly basis or take cod liver oil as our ancestors did. Nor do they use lard, which is another rich source of vitamin D. Like humans, pigs can get sunburned and, like humans, they make vitamin D through the action of sunlight on their skin and store the nutrient in their fat. Pigs raised in confinement will die if not exposed to UV-B light, the wave length needed for vitamin-D production. Fifty years ago, lard contributed important nutrients to the American diet but few people use it today. Elusive Answers The problem is that it is difficult to turn these clues and theories into solid scientific research. As vitamins and minerals work in synergy, it is impossible to accurately assess their effects as separate entities. For example, vitamin A and vitamin D are needed for magnesium and calcium absorption; vitamin C works with vitamin E and vitamin E works with selenium. And whether nutrients are absorbed is also dependent on many factors. Phytic acid and oxalic acid in plant foods like soy and certain raw vegetables, for example, can block absorption of many minerals. Endocrine insufficiencies and lack of beneficial intestinal flora may inhibit nutrient absorption, even though the nutrients are plentiful in the food consumed. Added to this is the fact that vitamin and mineral content of our foods varies enormously. Researchers cannot rely on nutrient tables to determine the quantities of vitamins and minerals their patients are consuming. They must analyze all the foods eaten to get accurate numbers—an expensive undertaking. Scientists may attempt to get around this problem by giving synthetic vitamins in pill form, but this practice presents problems as well. Synthetic vitamin D2 added to milk actually has the opposite effect of naturally occurring vitamin D complex, causing decalcification of the hard tissues and calcification of the soft tissues, including the soft tissues of the arteries.18 For this reason, D2 has been quietly dropped as an additive and replaced by D3, but there is evidence that synthetic D3 is poorly absorbed.19 Synthetic vitamin E has had disappointing results in trials20—the Shute brothers actually used wheat germ oil, a source of natural vitamin E complex. Synthetic vitamins B1 and B2 can cause imbalances affecting the utilization of B6. In general, vitamins from food work more efficiently and are needed in smaller quantities than synthetic vitamins. Animal studies indicate that minerals taken in as a part of whole foods have more beneficial effects than those given as supplements. Vitamins and minerals can be ineffective or even toxic in large amounts. Individuals with high levels of serum vitamin C had no better long term survival rates that those with levels that were in the normal range.21 The single negative study showing that magnesium had a worsening effect on CHD survival employed a far higher dose of magnesium than in the other studies.22 These complications do not mean that the effects of vitamins and minerals on cardiovascular health cannot be studied. It does mean that these studies must be performed with great care. Experts in the biochemistry of human nutrition should be involved in the design of such studies—something that rarely occurs. Study design must also include built-in protection against bias—from both those who are antagonistic to the view that nutrition plays a role in heart disease and those who may be too eager to embrace a strategy that relies on supplements. Many opportunities to find dietary causes of heart disease have been squandered. Dr. Price's research on butter and heart disease, for example, could not be repeated today, partly because Americans no longer consume foods grown locally and partly because most have given up eating any butter at all. Data from the 1960s cited by Ancel Keys in his Seven Countries Study found a fivefold difference in rates of heart disease between Crete and Corfu.23 Keys and his colleagues had a unique opportunity to look at subtle dietary differences, including differences in soil composition, water content and cooking methods, because both populations consumed mostly locally grown food at the time but probably no longer do. Unfortunately, no one pursued this line of research." This illustrates simply why we can’t “figure out” the obesity epidemic. Our “civilized food” is not only killing 300,000 Americans a year, we’re happily making the entire work sick. And who do you think will reap the benefits of an obese, sick nation? The drug companies, I’m sure, are rubbing their corporate palms together. “In China, the proportion of overweight teenagers has roughly tripled in the past decade. In Japan, eating hamburgers and french fries has not made people any blonder, though it has made them fatter. Overweight people were once a rarity in Japan. The nation's traditional diet of rice, fish, vegetables, and soy products has been deemed one of the healthiest in the world. And yet the Japanese are rapidly abandoning that diet The arrival of McDonald's in 1971 accelerated the shift in Japanese eating habits. During the 1980s, the sale of fast food in Japan more than doubled; the rate of obesity among children soon doubled, too. Today about one-third of all Japanese men in their thirties - members of the nation's first generation raised on Happy Meals and "Big Macs - are overweight. Heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, and breast cancer, the principal "diseases of affluence,"…..long common in the United States……are likely to become widespread in Japan as its fast food generation ages. More than a decade ago a study of middle-aged Japanese men who had settled in the United States found that their switch to a Western diet doubled their risk of heart disease and tripled their risk of stroke. For the men in the study, embracing an American way of life meant increasing the likelihood of a premature death.” "Obesity is extremely difficult to cure. During thousands of years marked by food scarcity, human beings developed efficient physiological mechanisms to store energy as fat. Until recently, societies rarely enjoyed an overabundance of cheap food. As a result, our bodies are far more efficient at gaining weight than at losing it. Health officials have concluded that prevention, not treatment, offers the best hope of halting the worldwide obesity epidemic. European consumer groups are pushing for a complete ban on all television advertising directed at children. In 1991 Sweden banned all TV advertising directed at children under the age of twelve. Restrictions on ads during children's programming have been imposed in Greece, Norway, Denmark, Austria, and the Netherlands. The eating habits of American kids are widely considered a good example of what other countries must avoid. American children now get about one-quarter of their total vegetable servings in the form of potato chips or french fries. A survey of children's advertising in the European Union (EU) found that 95 percent of the food ads there encouraged kids to eat foods high in sugar, salt, and fat. The company running the most ads aimed at children was McDonald's.” Reference: page 245, Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser I know you only look for sources in the allopathic medical journals and that is so frustrating, at times, because I have witnessed time and again the “miracle” of regained wellness when people of all ages return to the sustainably raised foods rich in animal proteins and saturated fats, produce, raw seed, nuts and minimal grains the vital people of the planet have eaten for thousands of years. Therein are the answers to the “mystery” of health. Nancy Jerominski, NLJ Fitness & Wellness Consulting, ACE, IDEA Master PFT, CHEK HLC2, EC, Seattle, WA
    Commented Sep 26, 2008