ADA supports proposed standards for federal school meals

Proposal would limit added sugar allowance in weekly calories


The ADA is supporting a new proposal to align federal school meal program standards with the latest edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, including limits on added sugar consumption. 

In comments filed May 16 , to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, ADA President George R. Shepley, D.D.S., and Executive Director Raymond A. Cohlmia, D.D.S., called the proposal “an important step” to ending diet-related tooth decay. 

“We recognize that it is neither practical nor possible to remove all sugary foods from the human diet, or to classify some nutrient rich foods as being unhealthy based on sugar content alone,” Drs. Sheply and Cohlmia wrote. “However, it is both practical and possible to encourage good eating habits, which would necessarily include limiting sugar consumption.” 

The proposal would establish quantitative limits for leading sources of added sugar in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program, including grain-based desserts, breakfast cereals, yogurts, and flavored milks. Specifically, the proposal would: 

·      •  Limit grain-based desserts to having no more than 2-ounce equivalents per week in school breakfast.

·       • Limit breakfast cereals to having no more than 6 grams of added sugars per dry ounce.

·      •  Limit yogurt to no more than 12 grams of added sugars per 6 ounces.

·       • Limit flavored milk offerings in elementary schools to no more than 10 grams of added sugars per 8 fluid ounces

·       • Limit flavored milk sold as a competitive food for middle and high schools to 15 grams of added sugars per 12 fluid ounces. 

In addition to product-based limits, Food and Nutrition Service is proposing to implement a dietary specification limiting added sugars to less than 10 percent of calories per week in the school lunch and breakfast programs. 

The National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program enable public schools, nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions to offer free and reduced-price meals to eligible children. 

Current regulations set a weekly calorie target for program participants. However, neither program currently distinguishes calories derived from added sugar. 

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