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May 19, 2023

Chocolate Milk and the Nanny State

Don’t look now, but the unelected bureaucrats are coming for your kids’ lunch money.

In case you hadn’t noticed, our country is falling apart. Our president is corrupt, our elections seem rigged, and our federal law enforcement and intelligence services have been weaponized.

Indeed, our grand 247-year experiment in republican self-governance is heading south faster than a snowbird from Michigan. And if that weren’t enough, the Biden administration is proposing a ban on … chocolate milk.

It’s true. Sad but true. This age-old cafeteria staple, this sweet treat that American school kids have been chugging since long before childhood obesity had reached epidemic proportions, has been targeted for extinction by the nanny-state ninnies at the Food and Drug Administration. As The Wall Street Journal reports:

The issue has divided parents, child-nutrition specialists, school-meal officials and others. Supporters of restricting flavored milk say it has added sugars that contribute to childhood obesity and establish preferences for overly sweet drinks. But opponents, including the dairy industry and many school districts, say removing it will lead to children drinking less milk.

“We want to take a product that most kids like and that has nine essential nutrients in it and say, ‘You can’t drink this, you have to drink plain’?” asked Katie Wilson, executive director of the Urban School Food Alliance, which represents 18 of the largest school districts in the country. “What are we trying to prove?”

If we know our government, they’re trying to prove that they’re taking action. Maybe not the right action, but action nonetheless. If only more of these unelected bureaucrats would mind us when we mutter, “Don’t just do something, stand there.”

It’s not that we aren’t sympathetic to the argument, which is that there’s far too much sugar in our kids’ diet. Heck, there’s far too much sugar in the American diet generally. As author and former Science correspondent Gary Taubes wrote in his bestselling 2016 book, The Case Against Sugar:

Nutritionists have found it in themselves to blame our chronic ills on virtually any element of the diet or environment … before they’ll concede that it’s even possible that sugar has played a unique role in any way other than merely getting us all to eat … too damn much. And so, when a few informed authorities over the years did, indeed, risk their credibility by suggesting sugar was to blame, their words had little effect on the beliefs of their colleagues or on the eating habits of a population that had come to rely on sugar and sweets as the rewards for the sufferings of daily life.

Alas, what would we do without experts nutritionists? When it comes to accuracy, they’re worse than weathermen. Remember: Nutritionists are the ones who told us three decades ago that fat was bad for us, and the government food pyramid basically followed this bad advice. That was an uninformed falsehood from the pits of hell, and it led American families to trade in their wholesome whole milk for the bluish fat-free skim stuff and to stay away from healthful fats such as those found in tree nuts and avocados and olive oil while looking exclusively for foods with the “low-fat” and “fat-free” labels. Never mind that these fat-fighting alternatives were invariably high in sugar and high in carbohydrates.

Hey, honey, these Snackwells are fat-free, so we can eat the whole box!

By now, of course, we know that carbs are the killers, and that sugar — whether as sucrose or as the ubiquitous high-fructose corn syrup — is their weapon of choice.

In addition, we know that children grow up to be adults, and that obese children tend to grow up to be obese adults. Moreover, we’ve spent trillions of dollars in taxpayer money over recent decades subsidizing poor food choices in low-income and increasingly obese Americans. That puts tremendous pressure on our already strapped and taxpayer-subsidized healthcare system via diabetic conditions and a host of other comorbidities.

But there are national security implications here as well. How, you ask? Consider the recruiting difficulties now being had by our woke military, and consider how many young people who might still opt for a military tour or a career despite their misgivings about wokeness are being rejected because of obesity. It’s no joke: Unfitness is a deadly serious threat to our nation’s already imperiled military readiness and its ability to defend itself.

Perhaps the solution to all this is to trust our kids to figure it out for themselves; to trust them to make the right nutritional choices. As the Washington Free Beacon’s Andrew Stiles implores us: “Don’t Ban Chocolate Milk in Schools. Let Kids Decide If They Want to Transition to Obesity.”

“Instead of banning sugary beverages in schools,” Stiles writes, “the federal government should subsidize their consumption and pass laws that protect children from overbearing parents who might try to discourage their transition to fatness.”

Of course. And while we’re at it, pass the Snackwells.

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