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The Washington Post has a piece about the deliberations at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) over new "new federal nutrition standards limiting sugar, fat and sodium for school snacks and drinks. The rules would be the first update to school snack guidelines in more than 30 years and would come as first lady Michelle Obama continues to take aim at childhood obesity. About one-third of children in the United States are either overweight or obese.

"The mandates will be controversial. School districts worry that changes to snack guidelines will reduce food sales that help keep cafeteria budgets balanced. They also say the rules could limit some children from eating enough calories because recent federal rules shrank the size of school meals.

"Others say the proposed guidelines don’t go far enough. High-fat potato chips, candy bars and sugary sodas will be out, but flavored milks or low-fat yogurts with nearly the same sugar content as certain chocolate bars could be in.

"One person’s healthy snack is junk food in the eyes of another.

"USDA officials say the intent of the proposed standards is not to limit popular snack items but to provide healthier options for students."

The story notes that "the proposed minimum USDA guidelines would generally require snack foods to contain fewer than 200 calories a serving, with no more than 35 percent of the calories or weight coming from sugar or fat and less than 200 milligrams of sodium a portion. The guidelines would prohibit trans fats and require that less than 10 percent of snack calories come from saturated fats.
They would also require that snack foods be either a fruit, a vegetable, a dairy product, a protein food or a 'whole-grain rich' grain product or contain at least 10 percent of the daily value of a nutrient such as calcium, potassium or vitamin D.

"The beverage guidelines would eliminate sugary soda. Students would be able to buy water, low-fat plain milk, and non-fat plain or flavored milk. Juices would also have to be 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice with portion limits."
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