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    Advertising the Artificial

    ellie_kriegerThe National Dairy Council’s latest “Got Milk?” advertising campaign (seen here at left) is the first in its 16-year history to feature a Registered Dietitian.  Golf clap.

    Forgive my lack of enthusiasm, but it’s the ad’s accompaying text that I have a serious problem with:

    When it comes to wellness, little things really make a difference.  Like drinking three glasses of lowfat or fat free milk a day.  It’s loaded with Vitamin D, the sunny super nutrient whose preventing health benefits have everyone buzzing.  Just think of it as liquid sunshine.”

    Bad grammar apart (starting a sentence with “like”?  Really?), I  take issue with the fact that the advertised nutrient is simply tacked on.

    Vitamin D is not inherently present in milk — or any dairy product, for that matter.  It just so happens that in the United States, as a result of fortification laws passed in the 1930s, a cup of milk currently provides 100 International Units of Vitamin D (that’s a quarter of a day’s worth of the considered-by-many-to-be-low requirement).

    This advertisement would make no sense in a country like England, where milk is not fortified with Vitamin D.

    Besides, almost every non-dairy milk product (almond, soy, oat, and rice) is also fortified with the vitamin.  So what makes dairy milk special in that regard?  Nothing.

    In fact, a serving of sugary cereal like Lucky Charms offers as much Vitamin D as a cup of milk.  Imagine how silly this advertisement would look if it featured a big box of Lucky Charms.

    Why can’t the National Dairy Council keep it honest and make it clear that milk is “loaded” with Vitamin D as a result of fortification?



    1. Melissa said on May 6th, 2009

      So playing out in the sun, will give you better source of Vit. D?
      I feel like my childhood is crumbling down………


    2. Andy Bellatti said on May 6th, 2009


      Absolutely. If you live north of the state of Georgia, though, your body can only synthesize Vitamin D from sunlight between the months of April and October. But, yes, 15 minutes in the sun (without sunscreen on) 3 – 4 times a week gives you all the Vitamin D you need.

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