Monday, November 4, 2013

Organic Chocolate Chip Milk?

I was listening to the radio last night to an interview with a biology and nutritionist professor from the College of Southern Nevada. The interviewer was asking a variety of questions about how we should eat. The professor answered that one of the keys is to have 5 to 9 fresh fruits and vegetables a day and cut down on processed foods. Sounds good.

Then the interviewer asked about if we should focus on organic foods. The professor didn't think that was critical, noting that if you spray your house for bugs, you have a lot more contact with chemicals than what might be on your food. (And apparently folks in southern Nevada spray regularly for insects, including cockroaches--we're in the cold desert, so we don't have those to deal with--thank goodness.)

I tend to buy organic if it's cheaper or the same price or nearly the same price as regular food (and surprisingly I find that quite a bit with sales at the grocery store). I know about the Dirty Dozen (list of fruits and vegetables that are more likely to retain pesticides than other fruits and vegetables), but I don't always buy them organic, figuring that just eating fruits and vegetables probably provides a bigger health advantage than worrying too much about the tiny amount of pesticide residual that might be there. (See this WebMD article for more.) I also try to eat local when I can, supporting farm stands, planting my own garden, and bartering with others for fresh produce.

Anyway, I recently received this organic milk. But it's not just any organic milk. It's Cow Wow cereal milk, Chocolate Chip Cathy, Naturally Flavored Organic, Lowfat milk. My "this is bull" meter started ringing. (I guess in the case of dairy products, it should be a "this is cow" meter. Ha!)
I flipped it over to check out the ingredients and nutrition information.
The ingredients are: Organic 1% milk, organic cane sugar, natural flavors, organic cocoa powder, and salt.
I'm sorry, but milk does not need sugar, whether it's organic or not!
And no thanks to natural flavors, as we have no idea what that really means (and all the beaver anal gland stuff going around right now makes me extra leery of unspecified natural flavors).
Then I looked at the sugars: 24 grams per serving (one container). That sounded like a lot.
How much sugar should children have in one day? I didn't know, so I looked it up.
According to new American Health Association guidelines, kids should have only 12 grams of sugar a day. That means this one serving of chocolate chip cathy milk has double the sugar a child should have for the ENTIRE day.
It just makes me mad that this is being marketed for kids. And I am extra mad that it says organic. Clearly this is not something you want your kids drinking every day unless you want them to have a whole suite of health problems resulting from a too sugary diet.
I guess maybe the stupid chocolate milk is good for one thing--it gets my heart exercising because it riles me up!
To calm myself down, I will include a photo of one of my new favorite recipes: Sweet potato fries.
Slice sweet potatoes, sprinkle lightly with extra virgin olive oil and salt, bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Yum.

What do you think about organic foods? I'd love to know!


jhami said...

I had to laugh at your Beaver gland comment, because when my mom mentioned an article about it, I thought it was a hoax. But it's not! Makes me also rethink those "natural" flavorings too....
I also get angry at the amount of un-necessary sugar and salt in our food (especially the cute little packages that target kids!)
No wonder our country is the leader of heart disease, diabetes, and childhood obesity!
Much of what is allowed in our food is banned in Europe.

I Am Woody said...

When I saw that, I thought it was a joke off the show 'Portlandia'. One of their running skits is about all the alternative milks on the market. :)

Mary Robbins said...

Whaaaaat? Beaver anal gland? Haha, I don't bother buying anything organic so I'm not up all all the "LOOK WHAT THEY PUT IN OUR FOOD!!!" hysteria. I agree there are much more important things we should be worried about than whether or not our food is organic. That being said, sometimes the organic stuff tastes better.

I'm with you, eat your fruits and veggies, wash them thoroughly, and don't stress.

A said...

We all LOVE sweet potato fries around here. Surprisingly, everyone likes them with a little cumin and garlic powder as well. Yum!

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