The nutrition community offers 2 different approaches to better health through dietary change: first, eliminate “bad nutrients”; and second, build a strong dietary pattern. These approaches seem complementary but in practice are often adversarial. The comments by Drs Dooley, Patel, and Schmidt illustrate the problem.

Children consume excess “empty” calories from added sugars that must be curtailed. More than 70% of these calories come from candy, soft drinks, fruit drinks, and grain deserts, which are all excellent targets. But when we urge total prohibition, regardless of the consequences on a child’s total diet, we then do harm.

What are we trying to accomplish by removing flavored milk from schools? A reduction in obesity? Shouldn’t we show that elimination of flavored milk accomplishes that goal or, at the very least, cuts daily calories or added sugars? The data we have show no increase in obesity or intake of added sugars....

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