The Kid’s Healthy Eating Plate was created as a fun and easy guide to encourage children to eat well and keep moving. The plate guidelines emphasize variety and quality in food choices.
The majority of the recommendations were pretty straightforward and mainstream:
The formula is simple: Fill half your plate (or lunch box) with colorful fruits or vegetables(aim for two to three different types). Fill about one-quarter with whole grains like whole grain pasta, brown rice, or quinoa, and the remaining quarter with healthy proteinslike beans, nuts, fish or chicken. Healthy fatsand a small amount of dairy (if desired) round out a tasty meal that will fuel an active, healthy lifestyle.
What caught my attention was the comment about dairy.
The dreaded words skim or low-fat did not appear in the sentence!
It would appear that a highly respect and mainstream source of nutritional advice is not making the typical (and scientifically unsupported ) recommendation to consume low fat or skim dairy products!
Indeed, if we look at their expanded comments on dairy they read:
Incorporating dairy (if desired). For example: unflavored milk, plain Greek yogurt, small amounts of cheese like cottage cheese, and string cheese.
No mention of fat content. Zip. Zero. To me, if you don’t put non fat low fat or skim next to the word diary it implies full fat.
Following their yogurt link we find no reference to preferentially consuming low fat yogurt despite the fact that the vast majority of yogurt sold in the US has been processed to remove healthy dairy fat, something the THCHSPH must be painfully aware of. (My wonderful MA Jenny’s husband, Frank, until very recently was unable to find full fat yogurt at Schnuck’s.)
As I pointed out here, a huge scam was foisted on Americans when allegedly healthy non fat yogurt filled with added sugar began to be promoted as a healthy treat.
It is almost as if the THTHCSPH has become agnostic about dairy fat and therefore is trying not to make recommendations.
Elsewhere on the THTHCSPH site however the old unwarranted advice to avoid dairy fat rears its ugly head. On a page devoted to calcium we read:
Many dairy products are high in saturated fats and a high saturated fat intake is a risk factor for heart disease”
Then this interesting (and ?ironic) observation:
And while it’s true that most dairy products are now available in fat-reduced or nonfat options, the saturated fat that’s removed from dairy products is inevitably consumed by someone, often in the form of premium ice cream, butter, or baked goods.
Strangely, it’s often the same people who purchase these higher fat products who also purchase the low-fat dairy products, so it’s not clear that they’re making great strides in cutting back on their saturated fat consumption.
The THTHCSPH seems conflicted, as well they should. They want to keep up the nutritional party line that they have been spouting for 30 years that all saturated fats are bad but they now realize that supporting non fat dairy products has likely worsened rather than improved the diet of millions of Americans.
N.B. The overall Kid’s healthy eating plate is not likely to be a favorite of kids and I disagree with some aspects of it.
Namely, I think it is fine to have red meat and processed meats in moderation and I wouldn’t push the pasta, rice, and bread.