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Your Letters: School lunches have too little fat content

In my years of study on animal nutrition, and now with work on the school lunch program, I note the similarities in farm animals such as pigs, cows and chickens. As a youth, my father fed pigs a basic grain diet (carbohydrates). The pigs produced a 1 1/2 to 2 inch layer of side and back fat. Today most of the pigs are fed extra fat in their ration and produce animals with 1/2 inch of fat on their bodies. Feeder cattle producers also are feeding extra fats to the animals and producing more lean animals for markets. Milk producers are feeding extra fat to the cows and getting extra production in milk. The above animals are receiving 5-10 percent fat rations.

Broiler chickens are fed a 2 percent fat ration and putting fat on their bodies, their ration is mostly sugars. The school lunch program which follows the federal guidelines also

receives about 2 percent diet of fat with sugars and are

developing obesity and diabetes at a high rate. If you want your child to be fat or obese you can ensure it by having them eat the school-prepared lunches. School lunch programs should be balanced meals including fat. It is now overloaded with starch, carbohydrates and sugars.

The addition of items such as whole milk, beans, peanut butter, real butter and other fatty foods would help to balance the meal, also the use of real french-fried potatoes not the baked imitation potatoes which look like french-fries.

The results of testing foods from the school lunches were: the first meal was sent to labs on Omaha, the noon meal called hamburger showed a total fat of 1.9 percent. The second meal called pizza tested at a lab in Sauk Centre was 2.1 percent fat. A vegetarian meal may be OK for some students but most meals should be over 5 percent fats, according to the USDA dietary guidelines for Americans, which recommends 25-35 percent of calories for teenagers should be from fat. Presently they are 3-5 percent of calories from fat.

Could this be called a balanced meal?

It's not -- unless you are a broiler chicken!

Paul Beckel, Reg. E.H.S.