Television food scold Jamie Oliver has finally found an ally to help him infiltrate the Los Angeles Unified School District. Newly appointed Superintendent John Deasy appeared with Oliver Tuesday on a late-night talk show to announce the target of their joint food revolution: flavored milk.
Deasy said he and Oliver “have had a long conversation the last couple of days” that helped him reach a decision to recommend the Los Angeles Board of Education ban chocolate and strawberry milk in schools. And typically, Oliver piled on the hype by breaking out the “d” word: diabetes.
If you think about a little 4-year-old to an 18-year old [consuming sugar], sometimes twice a day, just from flavored milk in their time at school, and then you’re worried about diabetes?
If Oliver has any scientific evidence that drinking flavored milk causes diabetes, as he seems to insinuate, we'd love to see it. (The American Diabetes Association states that eating sugar does not cause diabetes, after all, and they're the experts.) But so far we’ve seen more evidence that flavored-milk bans are detrimental to kids’ health.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture warns “kids are not drinking enough milk," and milk has loads of nutrients—like calcium, vitamin D, and protein—that growing bodies need. The Washington Post reported earlier this month that removing flavored milk from schools reduced milk consumption by 37 percent. That’s one reason Virginia's Fairfax County Public Schools, in the DC suburbs, recently reversed its ban.
Sometimes a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. That’s the script that Superintendent Deasy should be following, not Jamie Oliver’s misguided food “revolution.” After all, when Girl Scout cookie-hating MeMe Roth immediately gets behind a proposal, that’s a good sign it’s a bad idea.