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Sugar in School Breakfast Article by Lengyel et al.

Article Summary

The article Sugar in School Breakfast: A School District’s Perspective provides a detailed account of the sugar amounts in students’ food rations. As the parents become more concerned about the effects of increased sugar levels on the children’s health, this study evaluates the learners’ everyday intake of sugar, protein, fat, and other nutritional elements. Additionally, it examines how the current menu complies with the norms suggested by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The purpose of this publication is to analyze the breakfast sugar and calorie values served in the Houston Independent School District (HISD) highlighting that the rations are provided according to the health and well-being regulations (Lengyel et al., 2015). To present further examples and support the suggested claims, the study thoroughly analyzes the breakfast program of the HISD nutrition services.

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The article incorporates several arguments that support the HISD perspective on the issue. One of the major statements is the compliance with the USDA breakfast meal pattern, which controls the number of calories, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and sugar provided to the students. However, the dietary guidelines do not state the daily intake of sugar, only recommending to decrease the quantity of added sugar and sweetened beverages, meaning that no specific regulations are available for the schools (Lengyel et al., 2015). After that, a significant complication is the inclusion of natural sugars in the breakfast menu. Such items as fruits and milk often contain natural sugars that cannot be distinguished from added sugar, creating an issue in accounting for the sugar intake (Lengyel et al., 2015). Moreover, another crucial point is the offer versus serve menu, which provides the learners an opportunity to choose between the breakfast options. In this regard, as the foods received by each student begin to vary significantly, it is strenuous to ascertain the overall amount of sugar and calories consumed.

Given the highlighted complications, the HISD aims to reduce the sugar intake of school students as much as possible. Nevertheless, the source’s main argument states that considering the breakfast costs, vendor issues, and the necessity to cater to over 118,000 learners, it is considerably challenging to minimize the amount of sugar received. Therefore, if parents and guardians wish to alter the current breakfast menu, they should participate in changing the recent policies established by the USDA.

Article Response

From my perspective, the authors’ argument is fully coherent, underlining the pertinent issues encountered by the nutrition services. Providing necessary nutrition for numerous students can be especially difficult given the novel guidelines introduced by the USDA. For instance, the recent change from serving 1/2 to a whole cup has tremendously impacted the schools’ finances, necessitating extra expenses (Lengyel et al., 2015). Furthermore, as the HISD also caters to students from underprivileged families, presenting them with an opportunity to receive free meals as part of the First Class Breakfast program, the overall food costs increase dramatically (Lengyel et al., 2015). Thus, considering the inexistent sugar intake guidelines from the USDA, controlling the everyday amount of sugar consumed by each learner becomes exceptionally strenuous. Altogether, I completely agree with the article’s argument and support the idea that additional resources and governmental regulations are required to alter the students’ sugar intake.

Reflection Questions

When I first started reading the article, I had conflicting opinions regarding the study’s content, as I was unsure that the text could provide strong arguments apart from the USDA recommendations. Nevertheless, after I have studied the entirety of the suggested evidence, my initial reaction has changed significantly. It is now evident that the HISD stance on the matter is supported by credible materials and data, making a compelling argument. Moreover, paying attention to my responses to the article’s prepositions allowed me to establish my position concerning the topic more clearly. I was able to create an opinion that relies on relevant evidence from the text and comprehensively addresses the discussed issue, which positively influences the strength of my viewpoint.


Lengyel, J., Cramer, N., Oceguera, A., Pigao, L., & Houston Independent School District, Nutrition Services Department (2015). Sugar in school breakfasts: A school district’s perspective. Journal of Applied Research on Children: Informing Policy for Children at Risk, 6(2).

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