Drinking Milk in Pregnancy May Lead to Taller Children – NYTimes.com

By NICHOLAS BAKALAR

A new study suggests that the amount of milk a woman drinks during pregnancy may affect the adult height of her offspring.

Researchers followed 685 Danish mother-child pairs in a prospective study over 20 years, tracking milk consumption during pregnancy and the height of the offspring at birth and age 20. The study was published online Sept. 4 in The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

After adjusting for the mother’s height, age, body mass index and many other factors, they found that mothers who drank more than five ounces of milk a day — almost all drank low-fat milk — had bigger babies, on average, than those who drank less. This, the authors write, confirms the results of previous studies.

By age 20, children with mothers who drank more than five ounces of milk a day during pregnancy were, on average, almost a half-inch taller. They also had an average of 8 percent higher blood levels of IGF-1, or insulin-like growth factor, which promotes bone growth. But these trends did not achieve statistical significance.

“There aren’t many prenatal dietary or environmental factors identified that explain growth in children,” said Thorhallur Halldorsson, a researcher at Center for Fetal Programming at the State Serum Institute in Copenhagen. “Milk drinking may be one. It does increase weight and length at birth, and there’s a possibility that this actually tracks into adult life.”

via Drinking Milk in Pregnancy May Lead to Taller Children – NYTimes.com.

Whole Milk Or Skim? Study Links Fattier Milk To Slimmer Kids : The Salt : NPR

Parents are currently advised to switch toddlers to reduced-fat milk at age 2.

by ALLISON AUBREY

The job of parenting toddlers ain’t easy. Consider the 2-year-old to-do list: Get tantrums under control. Potty train. Transition from whole milk to low-fat milk.

Speaking from experience, only one of these things was easy.

As my daughter turned 2 in January, we made the simple switch to reduced-fat milk. Done. Don’t need to overthink this one, right?

After all, I’m following the evidence-based advice of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The guidance is based on studies that found children who consumed low-fat milk as part of a reduced-saturated-fat diet had lower concentrations of LDL cholesterol. Given the body of evidence in adults linking high cholesterol to increased risk of heart disease, it makes sense to keep an eye on cholesterol, beginning in childhood.

And if you take fat out of milk, you’ve also reduced calories, which should help protect kids against becoming overweight. At least, that’s been the assumption.

So here’s where things gets confusing. A new study of preschool-aged children published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, a sister publication of the British Medical Journal, finds that low-fat milk was associated with higher weight.

That’s right, kids drinking low-fat milk tended to be heavier.

“We were quite surprised” by the findings, Dr. Mark DeBoer told me in an email. He and his co-author, Dr. Rebecca Scharf, both of the University of Virginia, had hypothesized just the opposite.

But they found the relationship between skim-milk drinkers and higher body weights held up across all racial/ethnic and socioeconomic groups. DeBoer says their data also show that low-fat milk did not restrain weight gain in preschoolers over time.

The study included about 10,700 children in the United States. Parents were interviewed about their child’s beverage consumption on two occasions: once when the children were 2 years old and again at 4 years. Direct measurements of height and weight (to calculate body mass index) were taken by researchers.

Interestingly, this is not the first study to point in this direction.

In a 2005 study, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital reported that skim and 1 percent milk were associated with weight gain among 9-to-14-year-olds.

And a 2010 study by researchers at Children’s Hospital in Boston, which also looked at preschool-aged children, found that higher intake of whole milk at age 2 was associated with a slightly lower BMI (body mass index). The researchers concluded that switching from whole milk to reduced-fat milk at 2 years did not appear to prevent weight problems in early childhood.

When you look at these studies together, DeBoer’s findings become more intriguing, though it’s unclear how higher fat could lead to lower weight.

One theory: It’s possible that whole milk gives us a greater sense of satiety.

“This is speculative,” says DeBoer, but if you feel fuller after drinking whole-fat milk, “it may be protective if the other food options are high in calories.” In other words, if whole-fat milk saves a kid from eating an extra cookie or a second serving of mashed potatoes, he or she may end up eating fewer calories overall.

As the authors acknowledge, one of the shortcomings of the new study is that the researchers did not know how many calories the children were consuming overall or what types of foods they were eating.

So is it time to think anew about switching toddlers to low-fat milk?

“I don’t think there is harm in rethinking a recommendation, particularly if there weren’t rigorous data behind it,” says DeBoer. He says he hopes his results lead to further, more definitive studies.

But not everyone is convinced. “I do think that the recommendation to give low-fat milk at age 2 is sound advice,” says Dr. Stephen Daniels, a pediatrician at the University of Colorado and member of the AAP’s Committee on Nutrition.

“I don’t think the link between low-fat milk and higher weight makes much sense from a biological perspective,” he says.

Some of the earliest studies evaluating diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol did find a link to less obesity among girls. And Daniels points out that in the new study, the toddlers who were on low-fat milk were already heavier.

“This leaves open the real chance that parents may have been choosing low-fat milk as a weight-management strategy for those who were already overweight,” Daniels says.

Parents, if this leaves you confused, one thing to keep in mind is that — whether it’s whole, 2 percent or skim — milk is probably not a major driver when it comes to childhood weight problems. Many studies have shown that sugar-sweetened beverages play a much bigger role.

via Whole Milk Or Skim? Study Links Fattier Milk To Slimmer Kids : The Salt : NPR.

Can Milk Sweetened With Aspartame Still Be Called Milk? : The Salt : NPR

by ALLISON AUBREY

Morgan Barnett, 7, drinks from containers of 1 percent milk and chocolate milk during lunch at a school in St. Paul, Minn., in 2006.

The dairy industry has a problem. Despite studies demonstrating milk’s nutritional benefits, people are drinking less and less of it.

Even children are increasingly opting for water or other low-cal options — including diet soda and artificially sweetened sports drinks.

So how can milk — especially school kids’ favorite, chocolate milk — compete in the low-cal arena? The dairy industry has a strategy: Swap the sugar that’s added to flavored milks for a zero-calorie sweetener such as aspartame (or other options such as plant-based stevia).

Now, in order to pull this off, the dairy industry has some regulatory hoops to jump through. Currently, if dairy producers want to add an artificial or no-cal sweetener, the resulting beverage is no longer allowed to be called milk (it wouldn’t meet the FDA’s technical definition of milk).

So the dairy industry is petitioning the Food and Drug Administration to change the standard of what qualifies as milk. The industry wants the iconic MILK label to remain on the front of the package, without any mention of the reduced calories — or the added artificial sweeteners (at least, not on the front label). And the FDA has opened up this petition for public comment.

“Kids don’t like the term ‘low-calorie,’ ” says Greg Miller of the National Dairy Council. “It’s a turnoff.”

Some school districts have banned flavored milk because of the high-calorie content. And some studies suggest that when you take chocolate milk out of schools, consumption of milk declines. During a phone interview, Miller told The Salt that the industry’s petition is aimed at offering school districts a lower-calorie milk option that kids will actually want to drink.

Miller says the petition does not seek to change existing regulations that require added sweeteners (such as aspartame or stevia) to be named in the list of ingredients — usually found on the back of a container.

“We are not trying to be sneaky,” Miller says.

But so far, lots of folks seem skeptical of the plan.

More than 90,000 people have joined a new online petition organized by SumOfUs.org, a consumer advocacy group, opposing the dairy industry’s petition.

And nutrition experts are weighing in, too, including Barry Popkin of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who has studied the links between sugary drinks and obesity. If the goal is to reduce the amount of calories that kids get from sweetened beverages, then removing sugar from flavored milk is one option, he says.

“If the option is flavored (milk) with diet (sweetener) vs. regular sugar, then diet (sweetener) is favored,” he wrote to us in an email.

But he says there’s no evidence that kids need flavored milk, such as chocolate milk. “It has not been shown to increase milk intake,” he says. The dairy industry disagrees.

And the dairy industry’s petition is also facing opposition from school food advocates.

“I think it’s unconscionable,” says school chef Ann Cooper, who’s been working to reform the way kids eat at school. She argues that parents and students will have a hard time discerning what’s in the milk.

“This is nothing but a marketing ploy by the dairy industry to support milk sales,” Cooper tells The Salt via email. “We all need to let the USDA know that we oppose ‘hiding’ ingredients in milk as a way to increase profits for the dairy industry!”

As a mom, I understand why parents want to know whether the chocolate milk their kids are being served at school contains artificial sweeteners such as aspartame.

And the question lots of parents are asking is one of transparency: Can we really expect kids to read the fine print on the back of the bottle to know what they’re getting?

But Miller says if school districts were to choose to add a non-caloric sweetener to chocolate milk, parents would not be left in the dark. School administrators would likely inform parents of the change by putting it on menus, websites and newsletters.

What do you think?

via Can Milk Sweetened With Aspartame Still Be Called Milk? : The Salt : NPR.

Top 7 Supermarket Foods to Avoid

Pardon my summer hiatus – be back in a day or two!

I found this article really interesting –

By Emma Sgourakis, Certified Nutritional Therapist

In a recent article, seven experts in the fields of both food and the environment (scientists, doctors and farmers) were asked just one simple question: “What foods do you avoid?” Their responses had nothing to do with calories or nutrient-density, but all to do with their insider knowledge on how certain seemingly “healthy” foods that they closely work with are produced and packaged. The findings are scary.

If the farmer who grows the food won’t eat it himself, then I won’t touch it either.

Here’s a summary of the findings. You can add these seven to your ‘Foods to Avoid‘ list:

1. Canned Tomatoes

An endocrinologist and expert on the topic of the synthetic oestrogen bisphenol-A (BCA), linked to heart disease and infertility, won’t go near canned tomatoes. Tin cans are lined with a resin containing BCA which is especially a problem with canning tomatoes, as the acid in tomato breaks this down in dangerous amounts. This is a serious health concern for everyone who loves a Spag Bol, especially children. My advice: if you still want the convenience of stored, ready-to-cook tomatoes, opt for sauces and passata in glass bottles.

2. Conventional Beef

For fat cows (and fat people) feed them grain, corn and soy. This is what farmers do to increase profits. The end product is meat that is nutritionally inferior. Cows were meant to eat grass. Studies show that grass-fed beef (compared to corn-fed) is higher in important vitamins, minerals and the heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory fats. Then there’s also the issue of all the antibiotics used on those inappropriately-fed, sick cows… My advice: Look for “grass-fed” or “pasture-fed” organic beef from strong healthy beasts.

3. Microwave Popcorn

Another poisonous packaging issue: Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) lines the bags of those popcorn bags, and the heat in the microwave leaches this straight onto your movie munchies. The UCLA links this compound to infertility. My advice: Corn kernels + butter + sea salt + plus a big pot (with a lid!) Simple.

4. Conventional Potatoes

More than any other vegetable, non-organic potatoes are heavily sprayed with herbicides, pesticides and fungicides throughout every stage of their growth, harvesting and storage. So much so that potato growers never eat the potatoes they sell and grow their own separate plots without all the chemicals. My advice: Organic or Bio-dynamic potatoes only.

5. Farmed Salmon

This is particularly scary considering that in Australia, the only fresh Salmon we have access to is farmed; all farmed, this includes “Atlantic” Salmon. These fish are crammed in pens and fed all manner of junk from soy and hydrolyzed chicken feathers and pellets. A scientific study on fish contamination showed high levels of DDT and PCB’s (carcinogens). So serious were the findings that the director for the Institute for Health warns that any more than one salmon meal every 5 months increases your cancer risk. Not to mention that fact that the levels of Omega 3 and Vitamin D are devoid in these poor factory-versions that their wild, up-stream-swimming ancestors contain. My advice: For fresh fish, choose small & wild varieties wherever available. For salmon in Australia, your only wild option is out of a tin. Look for brands like Paramount Wild Alaskan Salmon, or other brands form Norway and Canada are often wild too. Even still, eat these only occasionally.

6. Conventional Milk

Dairy cows today are fed growth hormones to maximize milk production. Not only does this make for a potentially breast/prostate/colon cancer milk shake, but it also leads to increased incidence of udder infection for the poor cow, leading to pus in the milk. My advice: if you do drink cows’ milk, make sure it states clearly on the label that it is produced without artificial hormones, and ideally choose organic whole milk from pasture-fed cows.

7. Conventional Apples

There’s no coincidence that farm workers have higher rates of many cancers. Of all common fruits, apples are the most heavily and frequently doused with pesticides. Pesticide reside on conventional fruits is also linked to Parkinson’s. To limit exposure, be wary of apples especially. My advice: Organic. Or at the very least, wash and peel.

Source: www.thenutritioncoach.com.au/blog…