Healthy Babies, Healthy Moms

By Laura Slatalla, ASU Nutrition Student

Breastfeeding creates healthy babies and mothers, as well as a financial benefit. The current recommendation for breastfeeding is exclusively for 6 months before introducing any solids, and at least until 12 months before weaning when mom and baby are ready. Sometimes breastfeeding can be difficult at first, especially without the proper support, but taking a look at the powerful benefits of breastfeeding is encouraging.

Mother smile to her child, isolated over white

A mother’s milk has the perfect nutritional balance for her child, providing the right amount of carbohydrates, fat, and protein. It contains fore-milk, which is sweeter and watery. This is followed by hind milk, which has more protein and satisfies hunger. As your baby grows the proportions of all these nutrients change to match its needs. Formula mimics breast milk, but is missing important components like lactoferrin and lipases. Lactoferrin help babies digest iron and protects the gut. Lipases aide in digesting fats.

Breast milk also contains antibodies that allow a baby to borrow from their mom’s immune system, so they get less colds throughout the first year. The immune benefits extend beyond the first year too. The powerful immune benefits also protect against some diseases and may reduce a risk of allergies. Studies also show that breastfed babies have a lowered risk of obesity later in life compared to formula-fed children. Formula-fed babies are often overfed and encouraged to finish the bottle, while breastfeeding babies can just break their latch when the flow of milk has slowed down and they’re full.

For a consideration on economics, formula costs can rise to over $1,200 in the first year, on the low end. That’s not accounting for overfeeding and more expensive formulas.

Even if a variety of limitations keep you from traditional breastfeeding, you can still make an effort for your child to have your breast milk. Many a full-time, away-from-the-home career women use a breast pump to pump their own milk. They are still giving their child the full health benefits of breast milk and saving on the cost of formula.

There are definite benefits to nursing for the mother as well. When a baby is nursing, a hormone called oxytocin is released. Oxytocin is often called the cuddle hormone. When it is released after birth the uterus contracts and helps to slow down bleeding and shrink the uterus back to the original size, and it can also help support bonding between the mother and the new infant. Breastfeeding is skin to skin, another important factor in bonding. Producing milk burns around 300 to 500 calories a day and is much easier than the gym.

Here’s the list of benefits:

  • Perfect nutrition individualized for each baby
  • Baby borrows mom’s immune system
  • Contains some things only found in breast milk
  • Saves money
  • Reduces risk of diseases, obesity, and allergies
  • Increases bonding
  • Burns extra calories

The beginning of a nursing relationship can be hard. A mother needs support, but once everything is going smoothly, it’s beautiful and satisfying and has its perks, so stick with it. A baby and mother will both be happy and healthier for it.

Editor’s Note: Although we understand the benefits of breastfeeding, circumstances may prohibit your own opportunity in this area. Today’s formulas are produced to provide your child with the most balanced nutritional content.



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Added Sugars and What They are Adding to Your Health


By Mariely Lopez, a Nutrition Communication Undergraduate at Arizona State University and additional contributions by Arizona Farm Bureau Staff. 


Last Friday (May 20th), The White House released the first major update of the Nutrition Facts label for packaged food in more than 20 years, which will include, among other things, a line that states the amount of sugar added to the product during processing.

red spoon with sugar isolated on green background

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and others had previously advised the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to modify the Nutrition Facts Labels to include added sugars. A study conducted by the Journal, dating from 2003 to 2010, where participants were asked to recall their meals within the last 24 hours, concluded that by changing the labeling of foods that contain added sugar, to state that they contain added sugars, will help reduce added sugar consumption.

Currently, Nutrition Facts labels list the ingredients used and often times you can point out the added sugars, however, they do not tell you the amount of sugar added during the manufacturing process of the product. This now changes with the just released updated label requirements.

Adam Drewnowski and Colin Rehm stated, “There are concerns that excessive consumption of added sugars has contributed to the U.S. obesity epidemic. The potential links between intake of added sugars and obesity and other outcomes, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease, have become a matter of public health concern.” There is no doubt that added sugars are one of the key contributors that lead to chronic diseases, such as the ones Drewnowski and Rehm mentioned. Implementing the amounts of added sugars to food labels would increase awareness and will, in turn, help lessen the disease epidemic.

Infographic of new label

Most Common Products with Added Sugars defines Added Sugars as sugar or syrup added to processed foods and/or beverages, excluding any natural sugar found in fruits or milk. The following is a list of foods and beverages that may include added sugars:


  • Energy drinks
  • Ice Cream (Dairy desserts)
  • Cake
  • Pie
  • Candy
  • Donuts
  • Soft drinks


Why are They Bad?

As stated above, added sugars are key contributors that may lead to chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Obesity, as we all should be aware, is a growing concern in the United States. More than 68% of adults are considered overweight and about 35% are considered obese, according to Weill-Cornell Medical College research group. Most, of which, is due to the intake of high-calorie products and other contributing factors such as lack of physical activity, according to a study conducted at the New York Presbyterian Hospital. Added sugars, often times are the contributors to food products that are high in calories, for example, soft beverages. Soft beverages use added sugars and are a source of empty calories, which increase one’s chances of becoming overweight and/or obese. Becoming overweight and/or obese is linked to a number of other health complications.

One of the complications that are associated with obesity and high sugar consumption is type II diabetes. Type II diabetes is directly linked to glucose (sugar) levels and the body’s inability to produce insulin. Our pancreas produces insulin that helps maintain normal sugar levels, but over time it loses its ability to maintain our sugar levels at a healthy level due to the fact that we indulge in food products that are high in sugar on a regular basis; Basically our pancreas has trouble keeping up with our overconsumption and can no longer regulate our sugar levels, explains

Another health complication is cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among older adults and it is due to the plaque build-up in the walls of the arteries. Plaque is made up of cholesterol in combination with fat, calcium, and other substances, according to the American Heart Association. Now, you may be asking yourself, “How is this connected to the amount of sugar I consume?” Well, here’s why: When we indulge in foods that contain high amounts of added sugar our body uses only some of it for energy and the rest is turned into fat. This fat then gets sent to different areas in the body, one of them being our arteries that can lead to cardiovascular disease.

New Label comparison

How to Spot Added Sugars

Identifying added sugars in foods and beverages is vital to minimalizing our intake of them. Below you will find a list of the names that are given to the most frequently used added sugars on labels:


  • White Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Honey
  • Corn Syrup
  • Maple Syrup
  • High-fructose Corn Syrup
  • Molasses


Beyond newly identify “added sugar” feature of the new labels, the FDA explains the major changes to the Nutrition Facts label include:

    • An updated design to highlight “calories” and “servings,” two important elements in making informed food choices.
    • Requirements for serving sizes that more closely reflect the amounts of food that people currently eat. What and how much people eat and drink has changed since the last serving size requirements were published in 1993. By law, the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, requires that serving sizes be based on what people actually eat.
    • Declaration of grams and a percent daily value (%DV) for “added sugars” to help consumers know how much sugar has been added to the product. It is difficult to meet nutrient needs while staying within calorie limits if you consume more than 10 percent of your total daily calories from added sugars, and this is consistent with the scientific evidence supporting the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
    • “Dual column” labels to indicate both “per serving” and “per package” calorie and nutrition information for certain multi-serving food products that could be consumed in one sitting or multiple sittings. Examples include a pint of ice cream and a 3-ounce bag of chips. With dual-column labels available, people will be able to easily understand how many calories and nutrients they are getting if they eat or drink the entire package/unit at one time.
    • For packages that are between one and two servings, such as a 20-ounce soda, the calories, and other nutrients will be required to be labeled as one serving because people typically consume it in one sitting.
    • Updated daily values for nutrients like sodium, dietary fiber and vitamin D, consistent with Institute of Medicine recommendations and the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Daily values are reference amounts of nutrients to consume or not to exceed and are used to calculate the %DV that manufacturers include on the label.
    • Declaration of Vitamin D and potassium that will include the actual gram amount, in addition to the %DV. These are nutrients that some people are not getting enough of, which puts them at higher risk for chronic disease. The %DV for calcium and iron will continue to be required, along with the actual gram amount. Vitamins A and C will no longer be required because deficiencies of these vitamins are rare, but these nutrients can be included on a voluntary basis.
    • “Calories from Fat” will be removed because research shows the type of fat is more important than the amount. “Total Fat,” “Saturated Fat,” and “Trans Fat” will continue to be required.
    • An abbreviated footnote to better explain the %DV.

“For more than 20 years, Americans have relied on the Nutrition Facts label as a leading source of information regarding calories, fat, and other nutrients to help them understand more about the foods they eat in a day,” FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said. “The updated label makes improvements to this valuable resource so consumers can make more informed food choices – one of the most important steps a person can take to reduce the risk of heart disease and obesity.”

Compliance will be required two years from today, the White House said. Manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales will have an additional year to comply.

The new Daily Value for added sugars will be 50 grams, or about 12 teaspoons-an amount representing 10 percent of the daily 2,000 calories recommended for many adults. Once the rules are implemented, the Nutrition Facts label on a 20-ounce bottle of Coke, for example, would likely show that it had 130 percent of the added sugars limit for a day. The new labels will help consumers looking at labels for foods like yogurt, jams, or cereals know how much of the sugar comes from fruit or milk, and how much comes from high-fructose corn syrup or other added sugars.

The new label regulations will not apply to certain meat, poultry, and processed-egg products, which are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, not the FDA.

Some Good News

Many Arizona families, Americans in general, already have scaled back on sugar in the last several years due to the recognized health risks of too much sugar in our diets. As a result, food and beverage makers have made adjustments to the amount of sugar in their products.

As a result, some manufacturers and the Grocery Manufacturers Association says distinguishing between added and natural occurring amounts of sugar in a product that is then posted on labels is unnecessary because they have the same effect on weight gain. They contend that scientific tests can’t tell the difference, making it difficult to measure how much added sugar is in a food or drink.

As an example of food companies responding to Americans’ interest in less sugar, General Mills cut sugar in its regular Yoplait yogurt by 25% last year. Danone SA’s Dannon has cut sugar in its various yogurt brands and says three-quarters of its sales now come from products with 23 grams or less of sugar.

Ultimately, nutritionists continue advocating for Arizona families to take control of their own diets and seriously monitor their sugar intake. Regardless of labels, some simple ways to reduce sugar consumption exist. They follow.

  1. Stick to eating basic foods: fruits, vegetables, lean meats, dairy, eggs and whole grains.
  2. Reduce the amount of processed foods, such as packaged snack foods, you eat. For a sweet snack grab an apple or orange instead of a candy bar.
  3. Reserve cakes, cookies and other sweet treats for special occasions. We don’t have to deny ourselves but we certainly don’t have to have a bowl of ice cream every night.
  4. Avoid soda. Consuming sugary beverages are where in one drink we exceed our daily recommended intake of sugar.







Drewnowski, A., and C. D. Rehm. “Consumption of Added Sugars among US Children and Adults by Food Purchase Location and Food Source.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 100.3 (2014): 901-07. Web.


“Type 2.” American Diabetes Association. Web. 20 Apr. 2016. <>


“What Are Added Sugars?” Choose MyPlate. United States Department of Agriculture, 2015. Web. 24 Apr. 2016. <>


“What Is Cardiovascular Disease?” What Is Cardiovascular Disease? American Heart Association. Web. 20 Apr. 2016. <>


Wright, Suzanne M., and Louis J. Aronne. “Causes of Obesity.” Abdom Imaging Abdominal Imaging 37.5 (2012): 730-32. Web.


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Are You Getting Enough Ascorbic Acid in your Diet?

By Jacob Gerdes, Arizona State Nutrition Communications Student.


Ascorbic Acid may sound intimidating but you know exactly what it is and I would wager that you may even have an isolated supplement of it in your house right now. Ascorbic Acid, better known as Vitamin C, is a super star among American households as a way to stave of the common cold and a remedy to cure sickness. This common knowledge, while helpful, is only one benefit of this important Vitamin powerhouse. Along with the other benefits that Ascorbic Acid provides, there are many food sources that are high in vitamin c and provide alternative options than the commonly associated family of citrus fruits.


We will examine some details and benefits of vitamin c as well as go through a list of the top 5 sources. Chances are you’ll be delightfully surprised to see that there are sources with high amounts of Vitamin C providing more fun recipe options. (Disclaimer…I am only including all plant which is great because everyone could use more produce in their diets!)




A historical review published in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism discussing the events that lead to the discovery of Vitamin C notes that before the discovery, Scurvy was a serious medical condition that often plagued different Navies as the sailors would go months at sea without any fresh produce. At the time it was unknown that only produce would have a compound necessary for preventing scurvy in the sailors. James Lind, a Scottish Physician, had set out to discover a remedy for this illness that plagued entire ships and he began the first set of clinical trials experimenting with different dietary treatments eventually deducing that fresh citrus fruits were the answer. This discovery would eventually lead to the synthesis of Vitamin C supplements and further testing to understand the importance of this nutrient within our bodies.




The National Institute of Health describes Vitamin C as a potent antioxidant that works to combat free radicals which are compounds produced by the body or absorbed from environmental factors like pollution or sun damage that cause oxidative stress on our bodies cells. Along with working to enhance our immune system, Vitamin C also promotes absorption of other nutrient and is also a major contributing factor in collagen production; which is necessary for all connective tissues, maintaining youthful skin, and wound healing.


Quite often you’ll read in beauty magazines about the importance of eating fresh fruit and vegetables, notably citrus to boost your Vitamin C intake. Citrus is a great source of Vitamin C but there are many other great sources that will allow you to increase your Vitamin C intake while experimenting with different dishes!

Fresh, organically grown berries - strawberries, blueberries, raspberries

Medline Plus, an affiliate website of the U.S. National Library of Health, list the best produce sources of Vitamin C. Their list of fruit, many of them grown here in Arizona, includes:


– Cantaloupe

– Citrus fruits and juices, such as orange and grapefruit

– Kiwi fruit

– Mango

– Papaya

– Pineapple

– Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and cranberries

– Watermelon


And the Vegetables, all grown in Arizona, includes:


– Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower

– Green and red peppers (red peppers are the highest source out of all produce)

– Spinach, cabbage, turnip greens, and other leafy greens

– Sweet and white potatoes

– Tomatoes and tomato juice

– Winter squash


Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin meaning that our bodies do not store any excess supply and it is excreted in the urine. The Mayo Clinic notes you will likely not reach the point of harmful vitamin c consumption from consuming produce.

While plant food is important for many health reasons, Vitamin C is especially important due to the major role it plays with your health.  Next time your at the grocery store or farmers market, think about James Lind and his discoveries…or don’t. Just make sure to fill your basket up with a variety of fruits and vegetables, especially red bell peppers, to ensure you are getting your Vitamin C. Your body and your taste buds will thank you!

Also, make sure to check out Fill Your Plate for some great recipes including these tasty fruits and veggies!

Our latest article: Is Your Orange Juice Void of Vitamin C?





  1. Carpenter KJ. The Discovery of Vitamin C. Ann Nutr Metab. 2012; 61(3):259-64. Accessed April 23, 2016. URL:


  1. National Institute of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin C Facts Sheet. Last Updated February 17, 2016. Accessed April 23, 2016. URL:


  1. Wax E, et al. Vitamin C. Medline Plus Website. Updated February 2, 2015. Accessed April 23, 2015. URL:


  1. Zeratsky K. Nutrition and Healthy Eating. Mayo Clinic Website. Published February 5, 2015. Accessed April 23, 2016. URL:



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Is Your Orange Juice Void of Vitamin C?

By Angela C. Torrence, Nutritionist


Where would many of us be without our Vitamin C? Like many individuals intent on boosting the immune system with vitamin C, you might reach for your orange juice without thinking twice about the actual amount of vitamin C you are ingesting.


Did you know that when you buy orange juice from the grocery store, it may not have the amount of vitamin C that’s listed on the back? When I learned about vitamin C break-down, I realized that everyone needs to know about this!


Research has long shown that vitamin C breaks down over time, and the process is sped up in the presence of light and heat. One study conducted at Arizona State University found that ready-to-drink orange juice might have as little as 50% (or less) the amount of vitamin C labeled on the package at the time of opening.


How can the advertised amount of vitamin C differ so drastically from the actual amount?

From the time of packaging to the time it gets to the grocery store, that juice has spent time in transport and may have been exposed to some sort of heat too. The study indicates that opened orange juice loses about 2% vitamin C per day…and if you start at let’s say 75%, that 2% per day can be a lot!


If your orange juice sits in the fridge for 4 weeks or has reached its expiration, it might have very little or even 0% vitamin C! The solution? The study suggests that frozen orange juice from concentrate has as much as double the amount of vitamin C as its ready-made counterpart at the time of opening. For me, this is reason enough to buy the frozen stuff-plus it is more convenient.


If you don’t care for frozen OJ from concentrate, pay attention to the expiration date and make sure your ready-to-drink orange juice is at least 3+ weeks from the expiration date. When you do open the container, drink it within 1 week of opening for optimal amounts of vitamin C.





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Do You Know what is bad for Your Teeth?

By Angela C Torrence, Nutritionist

A survey of my pediatric patients reveals that they are well aware of which foods to avoid in order to keep their teeth healthy. Sugar is bad for your teeth! The kids explain that they should avoid candy, chocolate, soda, and gummies, but apples and cheese are acceptable snacks instead. Despite the knowledge these kids (and adults) possess, they often leave out food items such as: granola, potato chips, and pasta as potentially hazardous to the teeth. And so, I present two very important questions: Why is sugar bad for the teeth?  And more specifically, What is sugar?

Cute little girl is looking at her colorful lollipop, isolated over white

Certain bacteria living in the mouth (primarily S. mutans) metabolize fermentable carbohydrates (a.k.a. sugars) when it is introduced into the oral cavity. This results in a decreased pH or more acidic saliva. When bacteria degrades “eats” sugar that is introduced into the mouth, the medium in which the bacteria live (e.g. plaque biofilm) becomes acidic in nature and dissolves essential minerals from the tooth surface. This weakened tooth surface can often become cavitated, think: acid erosion, commonly referred to as cavities.

In other words, when fermentable carbohydrates (sugars) such as cakes, candies, chocolates, bread, bagels, pasta, and even fruits enter the mouth, they create a spike in acid production, which can essentially dissolve tooth enamel. To clarify, it isn’t the sugar itself, rather, it is the acid production affected by the sugar that is bad for the teeth. Often times when we think of sugar, we think of the candy bars next to the checkout line in the grocery store, but I want to redefine sugar in everyone’s mind to include sandwich bread, breakfast bagels, granola bars, pasta dishes and garlic bread, flavored yogurts, and even many sauces so that when your hygienist or dentist tells you to avoid sugars, he or she isn’t just referring to the soda and candy bar snacks.

You may have noticed that I included fruit in the list of harmful sugars to the mouth. While it is true that fruit contains fructose and sugar alcohols which can increase acid levels in the mouth, most fruits are also high in water content, which helps to wash away some of the sugar. While I would never instruct an individual to avoid fruit as they are extremely healthy and irreplaceable, I do instruct my patients to rinse with, or simply drink water after eating in order to wash away some of the sugar from the mouth. As always, be sure to brush at least 2x daily and floss daily in order to reduce the bacterial count in the mouth.

One more thing worth mentioning: Wait at least 30 minutes from the end of your meal to the time you brush your teeth to prevent self-inflicted damage to the enamel. Studies reveal that the acidic pH in the mouth occurs during mealtime, and continues for approximately 20-30 minutes after you finish eating.  This means that if you brush your teeth immediately after eating, you not only move the acidic plaque bacteria around the entire mouth, but you can cause additional damage to the acid-weakened enamel from your toothbrush bristles during that time. Dr. Greger discusses the research behind fruit and oral health in his video on NutritionFacts.

We’re not advocating avoiding fruits and breads, just keep in mind that you might want to brush your teeth after every meal.

Certainly, sugar should be avoided. However, the best cure for good dental health is to regularly brush and floss. You’ll also be helping your mouth out but moderating on the sugar intake. Remember to go to Fill Your Plate for all your nutrition information and recipes.


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