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Monday, April 03, 2006

Schools Should Provide Nondairy Drinks

I'm normally suspicious of press releases claiming that people should be doing something, since that "something" is always whatever the people paying for the press release will make money from.

Even self-interest can be in the public interest at times, though, and a stopped watch is right twice a day, and politics make strange bedfellows, and all those good clich├ęs. I mean, when I agree with a group as nutty as the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) the cause has to be good, right? (The PCRM is a fanatical anti-meat group somewhere to the right of PETA, for those who don't know.)

Anyway, The Cancer Project, which is an affiliate of the PCRM, sent out the following press release:

New study suggests schools should add nondairy beverages to the lunch menu

Soymilk proves a popular option for lactose intolerant students

WASHINGTON -- Offering soymilk to elementary school students boosts the number of children who select a calcium-rich beverage in the lunch line and reduces the amount of saturated fat consumed from calcium-rich beverages, according to a study in April's Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Almost a quarter of students were choosing soymilk over cow's milk by the end of the four-week study, which was conducted at three ethnically diverse elementary schools in Florida. Total calcium-rich beverage selection increased more than 4 percent, and calcium consumption per gram of saturated fat consumed from calcium-rich beverages rose from 194 milligrams to 237 milligrams. The findings suggest that schools across the country should add soymilk to the lunch menu.

"Soymilk has major health advantages over cow's milk," said Jennifer Reilly, R.D., a Cancer Project dietitian and the study's lead author. "It avoids the problem of lactose intolerance and skips the 'bad' fats--and kids seem to like it."

The majority of African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Hispanic-Americans are lactose intolerant. Enriched soymilk has no lactose and little or no saturated fat, but it has as much calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D as dairy milk. Dairy milk is the single largest source of saturated fat in children's diets, according to a National Cancer Institute study. Studies have linked ovarian cancer and prostate cancer to the consumption of dairy products.

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Most U.S. schools do not offer soymilk, in part because the National School Lunch Program doesn't offer a reimbursable alternative to dairy milk without a note from a doctor. Introducing children to soymilk may help them reduce their risk of cancer and heart disease. For a copy of the new study or an interview with Ms. Reilly, please contact Susanne Forte at 202-244-5038, ext. 339, or sforte@cancerproject.org.

The Cancer Project is a collaborative effort of physicians, researchers, and nutritionists who have joined together to educate the public about the benefits of a healthy diet for cancer prevention and survival. Based in Washington, D.C., The Cancer Project is an affiliate of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

While I don't advocate the removal of lowfat milk from the diet across the board, providing a soymilk alternative for the many Americans who have lactose intolerance is a good idea and should be reimbursable by the government the way milk is subsidized.

A good idea is a good idea, no matter who it comes from. When it comes from all sides of an issue, take time to listen. And parents, please act.

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2 comments:

Paulatics said...

Hi Steve -
Happened on your blog whle doing
a little research on lactose intolerance. I wonder had anyone
connected lactose intolerance to
autoimmune disease. I did not pay
attention to when my stair climbing difficulty began to
manifest but of course I noticed
exactly when I deduced drinking latte's was no longer feasible or
I'd spend my waking hours in the bathroom!

I mention the autoimmune because I've also been diagnosed with MD,
albeit a mild form. After reading some of your comments, I wonder if there might be a connection.

Keep up the good work. Also do you have any info on organic milk
or goat's milk. I use the lactose free milk that is also fat-free.
Periodically, I try the 2% lactose
but go back the fat-free so as not
to overtax my system.

In cooking I haven't found a substitute for heavy cream which
is used as a thickener in many soups (I like to cook!) other than
using the lactose milk with flour or cornstarch. I also cannot tolerate yogurt and I don't mean
the sugared ones, the plain yougurt
doesn't do well.

My brother cannot tolerate any whole milk in any food. I, on the other hand, can tolerate cheeses and milk if it's cooked in the food. Neither one of us has found
the popular enjoy-ice-cream again tablets, the lactase tablets, they
don't do a thing. My brother says he has to take a whole box of tablets in order to eat a milk in food food. I don't bother. I just
don't eat that food. It isn't worth it.

My brother loves chocolate but cannot eat milk chocolate. He can only eat dark chocolate because there is no milk in the dark chocolate.

He has arthritis. I don't. He doesn't appear to have any MD but I do.

Maybe there is no link. It's just
2 separate events that happened to me.

Thanks. I appreciate your knowledge and persistence to help others.

Paula Carmen

Anonymous said...

I substitute cream soups in casseroles, etc with a can of chicken rice or chicken noodle soup blended in a blender until smooth. I usually add a small amount of soy sour cream, to add a bit of creaminess, but that isn't absolutely necessary. I think the blended starch (the rice or noodles) substitutes for the thickener found in cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup and the chicken broth adds a nice flavor. I do this with canned soup that hasn't been reconstituted.