Absurd as it may seem, until just days ago the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board was claiming on its website that milk and other dairy products aid in weight loss and maintenance. Say what? After a federal investigation, national milk promoters stopped making such claims years ago, but apparently such dairy-friendly pseudoscience took longer to die here in Wisconsin. Most of these bogus claims were apparently taken off the marketing board’s website after the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism released a highly critical report earlier this week.
A companion piece by the Center considers the marketing board’s overzealous promotion of dairy as a healthful food for kids. One example: “The milk board touts chocolate milk as a natural sports drink for children and teenagers. ‘Muscles fueled with chocolate milk are muscles fueled with nutritious energy,’ states a brochure for parents…. Several small studies — mostly funded by dairy groups — have found that drinking chocolate milk can enhance recovery after exercising. But they focused on adult athletes with higher calorie needs, not children. Almost 28 percent of Wisconsin children were obese in 2007, according to the most recently available data from the National Survey of Children’s Health.”
The piece also critiques the marketing board’s efforts to get youth to consume 3-4 servings of milk per day, and it ends with a sensible quote from Marion Nestle: “Milk is a fine food if you like it, but it is not an essential nutrient.”