Myth 3: 2% milk is now better for toddlers.

ImageWeek of July 16, 2008 the American Academy of Pediatrics basically said, “Since kids keep being obese we will change science to make them be skinnier.” For the past 10 years the AAP has been recommending whole milk, instead of reduced fat milk, for kids between 1 and 2 years of age. The reason was that whole milk is rich with fat soluble vitamins that growing toddlers need to thrive. But now, because so many children are showing up with unhealthfully high cholesterol levels, the AAP has changed their recommendation. They now recommend that toddlers drink 2% milk instead of whole milk (which is 3.25% fat). They reason that, in general, children are getting too much fat in their diets from other sources so why go overkill on the milk fat?

While the American Academy of Pediatrics is busily rewriting the rulebook against whole milk, the Canadian Paediatric Society continues to stand firm on a general recommendation for it. In summary, like everything else in life, there is no black and white when it comes to nutrition. Parents, ask your pediatrician an annoying amount of questions and make sure that you get a personalized recommendation based on your own child’s needs. Clearly there is no cookie cutter “truth” to this which-milk-is-healthier question.

5 Responses

  1. How about cutting out fast food and prepared foods for our kids?
    Not all kids are getting fat! Mine are too skinny and so active that it’s all I can do to get calories into them. Whole milk has butterfat in it, and that aids in the absorption of minerals and vitamins in the milk and in foods we eat. Consider switching to Organic Whole Milk so you know your kids are getting something better than the cheapest stuff, and then cut out the cheeseburgers, fries, nuggets, sodas etc. to offset the cost of organic milk ($4 a 1/2 gallon). That will aid in cutting the bad fats out of their diets. I believe whole milk has less carbs therefore not turning the sugars in the milk to fat right away, which is what happens in the 1 and 2 percent milks.

  2. I recall when my kids were 2 and 3, their grandparents *insisting* I get whole milk to help them develop into brilliant kids all because the TV said so.

    It’s just ridiculous nonsense – as the best thing you can do for a kid is teach them to eat in correct portions, what are the best foods to eat, lead by example, lead by example, lead by example.

  3. It is disappointing that someone with little-to-no knowledge of nutrition is posting remarks like this. The AAP published new recommendations because after studying children for a period of time, they found that children who drank low fat milk were no different, developmentally, than those who drank whole milk. So, the decision was based on scientific studies. THe prior recommendation was based on the knowledge that children need fat; however, now we know that you don’t have to drink whole milk to achieve the recommended amount of fat. Saturated fat is a known culprit that leads to heart disease if ingested in high amounts througout life. Children can get healthy fats to replace the fat that they are not getting by drinking low fat milk. For instance olive oil, avocados, and flax seed are a few things that are high in healthy fats that children can eat. Again, I am highly disappointed in the igorance of this posting; and the fact that it will confuse many moms.

    • Erin,
      It is not clear that you read this posting before commenting because the post does not contradict what you said. Rather it highlights that the AAP did not villify milk for high cholesterol in kids, but made the change based on the fact that kids’ diets were too highly saturated in unhealthy fats in general. The distinction is important and it is not conjecture. It is in the AAP press releases about the change. A very public proclamation made by the AAP. It is also not proper to assume that you know the author’s knowledge of nutrition. You don’t. Neither do we know yours for that matter. What we do know is that this article does not make a nutritional recommendation (as you have done), but recommends that all parents consult with their child’s pediatrician about what are the best nutritional choices to make for that child regardless of the general recommendations made by the AAP or people who post blogs or comments thereto.

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