Sunday, October 23, 2011

Milking Albert Pujol's big game last night

Albert Pujols hits a lot, and gets paid well to do it. He seems like an all-around decent guy, but truth be told, I know nothing about the man other than what his people want me to know.

Last night Mr. Pujols again did his thing, and many people paid money to watch him do this. All of this is fine, what folks do with their spare time and money is not my business

We have a bigger than life poster of Mr. Pujols in our cafeteria, wielding an over-sized sledge hammer and a milk mustache.

I teach. What happens in my school building is my business. And a huge poster of a sports idol promoting a food that may be potentially harmful to many of my students is bad practice.

The poster promotes drinking the bodily fluids of another species fed an artificial growth hormone (a practice banned in just about every other developed nation), fluids that do not sit well with most of the human population older than a couple of years, in order to boost the profits of companies that do not know my students.

The USDA, the National Dairy Council, and various corporations have a stake in promoting cow's milk consumption here in the States. They often cite an article by the American Academy of Pediatrics from October, 2006, to assert that adolescents need to drink 4 glasses of milk a day to get enough dietary calcium.

What the article states is that is how much milk children would need to drink to get that much calcium, but the authors never state that the vehicle for calcium must be milk.

Here are a few things the authors do state [and all the bullets below are quoted verbatim]:

  • Although dairy products are the most common calcium-dense foods in Western diets, there are no long-term follow-up data that demonstrate that they are superior to other sources of calcium in promoting bone health.
  • Virtually all the data used to establish this intake level are from white children. Few data are available from other racial groups. There are data indicating that compared with white adolescents, black adolescents use dietary calcium more efficiently and may achieve comparablepeak bone masses with less calcium intake.
  • Orange and apple juice may be fortified to achieve a calcium concentration similar to that of milk. Limited studies of the bioavailability of the calcium in juice suggest that it is at least comparable to that of milk.
  • Breakfast cereals also are frequently fortified with minerals, including calcium, and this form has been shown to be very bioavailable

So if you're a white kid who gets plenty of exercise, have a source of cow's milk from well-treated cows not fed artificial growth hormone, and you can stand to drink the stuff with most of the fat removed, well, milk is one way to get the calcium you need.

For the rest of us, I suggest you do a little more research than an Albert Pujols poster....

Full disclosure: I may be a tad lactose intolerant.
Fuller disclosure: I still eat a lot of ice cream at the risk of losing friends.
Fullest disclosure: If we're going to behave like sheep anyway, I'm founding the Nat'l Sheep Milk Council. (Talk about a baaa'd joke....)

The Pujols poster came from Ehrl the Pearl's site--if there are copyright issues, I'll just take a pic of the one in our cafeteria.


    Unknown said...

    I agree wholeheartedly. What a sham and a sad state we are in. When you can get calcium from other sources and most people are skeptical about that announcement, then we are in even bigger trouble. I am (for the most part with the exception of a meal or two a month) a vegetarian but cannot give up cheese. Ice cream and milk though I can. Not sure what it will take to change anything. As a bio teacher I am not sure what can be done to give them a good science education. Our ego and skepticism of science is pretty damning as a culture.

    doyle said...

    Dear Louise,

    I thought I'd get more flak (indeed, had hoped for it), but maybe people are more skeptical than I give them credit for--I hope so.

    Thanks for dropping by! Missed your words here....

    Unknown said...

    I'm with you on your critique of milk, just please don't tell me you would ever encourage the consumption of fruit juice.

    Unknown said...

    We don't drink milk at our house, but it has to do with food sensitivities rather than health. Everything in moderation. Okay, maybe not. We try and keep away from cocaine. But when we are facing an obesity epidemic, promoting milk, reducing recess and getting rid of PE also seem like really bad ideas.

    doyle said...

    Dear FAT Newkirks,

    Since I love eating peaches and other fruits, and share my love with others, I suppose I do "encourage the consumption of fruit juice"--hard to avoid the juice when eating the fruit. =)

    doyle said...

    Dear John,

    Everything in moderation is a key point. I'm not sure many folks even know what that means anymore.

    (And I do sneak in some ice cream now and again....)