Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Big Milk's dietitians recommend French fries, hot dogs and milk shakes!

[Originally posted March 2007]

My wife and I were cleaning the house this past weekend in preparation of showing our house. She came across this handy fridge magnet that was given to her at the hospital following the birth of our now 2 month old daughter. It's entitled, "How to Build a Better Baby".

It was developed by the registered dietitians of the Dairy Farmers of Canada as evidenced by the seal at the bottom and by this seal on the back:

It is meant to guide pregnant and breast feeding women to healthier choices in order to "build better babies".

According to the back of the magnet,

"Your diet is essential to you and your baby. Until birth and during breast feeding your baby depends on you to supply everything needed for growth and development. What you eat during pregnancy and during breast feeding will help you be healthy and give your baby a healthy start in life"
Want to know what the registered dietitians of the Dairy Farmers of Canada feel women should eat in order to make "better" babies and help mom "be healthy" and give baby, "a healthy start in life"?

Apparently whole milk, chocolate milk, ice cream, milk desserts, milkshakes, hot dogs and french fries.

I kid you not.

Take a look at these enlargements. They're from the bottom of the chart and they summarize the registered dietitians of the Dairy Farmers of Canada's guidance and examples as to what constitute "healthy" milk, meat and vegetable choices and servings.

When I showed this to our dietitian at BMI, she sighed sadly.

I can't imagine how the dietitians from the Dairy Farmers of Canada responsible for this handout go to bed at night.

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  1. Anonymous9:53 pm

    Dr. Friedhoff,
    After reading through your blog, I've started reading the back labels of food, and checking the nutritional information in restaurants. One question has come up, though - when I, on a lark, checked the nutritional value of an apple (http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1809/2 )
    I noticed a lot of sugar, and this was also true for other fruits I enjoy. Is there any difference between the sugar found in fruits, and that found in candy?

    Also, now that I'm paying attention to it, I've noticed inconsistent pricing at the mall. At a local Dairy Queen, I saw that their 150 calorie smoothies were something like 4.50 for 12 ounces, 5ish for 20, and under 6 for 32 ounces (my numbers may be a little off, but they're mostly true). As a consumer, it seems a much better buy to go for the dramatically larger drink because you're getting more smoothie per dollar. Has there ever been a study on people's buying choices and resulting caloric intake when the cost is proportional to the size (ie, something 12 ounces costs exactly 1/3 as much as something that's 36 ounces). It seems like doing that would disincentivize people from purchasing more calories because buying in bulk is a better financial deal.

    I apologize if this is an inappropriate venue for the questions.


  2. Indeed, fruit does contain sugar and I tend to fall in the sugar is sugar camp, even if it's in a fruit.

    Before you stop eating fruit, bear in mind fruit consumption has been associated with many health benefits. Overdo it though and the calories can climb.

    Selling food wise, the cost differential to the food industry is less than their markups. They bank on the fact that consumers value quantity and are only too happy to sell markedly larger quantities of foods for smaller markups. They're not likely to change that practice anytime soon.

  3. Anonymous5:22 pm

    Thanks for your response!

  4. I noticed that you were quoted by the CBC as claiming that chocolate milk has double the sugar of Coca-cola, drop for drop.

    Where did you get this statistic? Chocolate milk has, on average (of course it varies by brand), about 25g of sugar per 250ml. Coca-cola has 27.4g of sugar per 250ml.

    When you lie about simple verifiable facts, people aren't going to listen to you about the other stuff.

  5. Thanks John,

    You're right.

    Chocolate milk has double the calories but only 17% more sugar than Coca Cola.

    Of course a beverage with double the calories and nearly 20% more sugar than Coca Cola still isn't one I'd want regularly served to children.

    I contacted the CBC to let them know I mis-spoke. Was working on very low levels of sleep that day following a night of stomach flu for me and the whole family.

    Here's my most recent take on chocolate milk.

  6. I remember you blogged before about "nutritionism". I may have the name wrong. It was described as the concept that a food should be encouraged to be consumed because of some nutrient inside (i.e. calcium in chocolate milk), but the negative impacts of other properties of the food are ignored (i.e. high sugar content of the chocolate milk). For example, in the milk products section, 1 & 1/2 cups of ice cream is recommended, whereas 1 cup of milk is recommended as a serving. I imagine the serving of ice cream may need to be higher to fullfill some required nutritional criteria?