Thursday, August 23, 2018

Debunking Top 10 Nutrition Myths Cont.

Cutting Down To The Chase
  • Nutrition Myth #6: You can eat as much natural sugar as you like. 
    • Fruit sugar is broken down in the body in a similar manner as other forms of sugar. Now don't misunderstand, getting your sugar from eating a bowl of berries is significantly better than that delicious fudge brownie you indulged in last night at 1 a.m. after binge-watching a whole season of your favorite show. But, when it comes down to it, you can still over-do the amount of sugar you consume through fruits, especially fruit juices. Enjoy your fruit because of the numerous health benefits such as the fiber and antioxidants but be mindful and eat portion sized according to MyPlate.
  • Nutrition Myth #7: Eating small meals every 3 hours is the best way to lose weight.
    • Finding the time to eat every 3 hours can be near impossible. Especially, with the hectic schedules most Americans have all week, this makes finding time to eat healthy a challenge. Therefore, it is great news to find out research is being done on intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is fasting for a selected number of hours before eating a meal. According to a study done on the effects of an 8-hour time-restricted feeding, participants that fasted lost body weight and had lower systolic blood pressure. This provides evidence that intermittent fasting can aid in weight loss. Although intermittent fasting may not be for everyone, it could possibly be a great option for people struggling with weight loss and not having the time to eat numerous small meals throughout a day. Just be sure not to overheat after a fasting period.
  • Nutrition Myth #8: Eating sugar causes diabetes.
    • Contrary to popular belief, consuming sugar does not cause diabetes. Diabetes results from genetics and numerous other factors involved with lifestyle choices. Eating too much of any source of calories can cause obesity. Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes. 
  • Nutrition Myth #9: Eating after 6 p.m. will cause weight gain. 
    • It would be great if the laws of nutrition were that simple. Stop eating at this time and you will stay healthy. Sadly, it is not that simple. Many factors come in to play when it comes to what time you should be eating. The biggest indicator of weight gain or loss is calories out. If you did not consume more energy then you exerted, you will not gain weight no matter what time you eat. If you are eating late night snacks and you have had the adequate number of calories needed for that day, this will cause weight gain. When looking at a magical time to stop eating, it will be beneficial to pay attention to the amount of food you have consumed throughout the day rather than, the times the food was consumed. 
  • Nutrition Myth #10: Crash diets are a great way to lose weight.
    • From going on 3-day juice cleanses to eating nothing but salads for 3 weeks, we have all heard these weight loss claims. When it comes to weight loss, research suggests losing more than one to two pounds of fat per week does not have long-term weight loss results. In fact, crash dieting usually causes chaos within the bodies hormone cycle, resulting in massive eating binges leading to gaining more weight than lost. When it comes to successful weight loss, incorporating healthy lifestyle choices every day is key. Mindful eating and exercise need to become a conscious part of a person's life. 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Debunking Top 10 Nutrition Myths

You have come to the decision that you want to change your eating habit. You may be wanting to regain energy and mental focus, or you have just found out you have a food intolerance. Whatever the reason, there is no doubt that it can be a confusing and challenging task to understand nutrition. You may be feeling overwhelmed with every new artice and magazine giving the latest diet fad or nutrition advice. Where can you find the truth?

Evidence-Based Nutrition
When reading through articles, blogs, or any other source and trying to find reliable nutrition information, it is important to find out if the nutrition information, it is important to find out if the nutition claims are backed up by scientific evidence. Evidence-based nutrition is nutrition that has been researched, and the research has shown significant proof that the nutrition claim is accurate. The following nutritional advice is designed to help debunk some of today's top nutrition myths.

Cutting Down to The Chase 

  • Nutrition Myth #1: Fresh fruit and vegtables are always better than frozen 
    • FALSE! Numerous studies have shown that purchasing forzen fruit and vegetables can have the same nutrition content as fresh produce. In fact, a study done in California, examined four vitamins in eight different fruits and vegetables, and compared the vitamin content. Suprisingly, results showed higher amounts of alpha tocopherol, a form of the vitamin commonly refer to as Vitamin E, in the frozen produce. Don't shy away from buying frozen when a fruit or vegetable is out of season. Just remember to read food labels, and make sure they haven't been heavily processed before the freezing. Simple check the vitamin and mineral levels on the labels and compare the percentages of each vitamin on different brands to help you decide which is the better purchase.
  • Nutrition Myth #2: Organic means healthy
    • While buying organic fruit, vegetable, dairy, and animal products does provide some health benefits, many processed foods that are labeled as organic are not as healthy as believed. The issue that comes into play, is that these organic processed foods can have sugar, salt, fats, and can be high in calories. Remember that the nutritional content within food is equally important to it being organic. 
  • Nutrition Myth #3: At the first of a cold, better load up on the vitamin C to recover faster
    • I'm going to have to stamp this with a big fat "I WISH". Although it would be nice to have a simple magical cure to help shorten your cold, a systemic review has shown that vitamin C supplementation alone will not prevent or reduce duration of a cold. One study tested the regular use of vitamin C supplementation in subjects, and it only made an 8% difference in chances of getting a cold. Save yourself the time and money; don't run to the nearest drug store for that vitamin C cold cure. Instead, get rest and let the cold run its course. 
  • Nutrition Myth #4: Stay away from eggs if you have high cholesterol 
    • Current research suggest that consuming foods in high cholesterol is not as harmful as made out to be. Without cholesterol, we wouldn't have life because cholesterol has many viral functions within our bodies. A study done in Korea, provided evidence that eating 4-7 eggs per week showed a reduction in cholesterol levels. Eggs are also a great source of protein anc certain nutrients difficult to find in other foods. 
  • Nutrition Myth #5: If you want to lose weigh eat a low-fat diet
    • This is ill-advised because fats are key macronutrients in countless physiological mechanism within the human body. In fact, the human brain is virtually 60% fat. Not only are low-fat diets not the best weight loss strategy, but not consuming the daily recommended amount of fats can have a negative impact on health. Fats are esstential for cell membrane structure and other functions, namely tranferring fat-soluble vitamins throughtout the body. Digging into the researc, a review comparing 53 studies on low-fat diet intervention compared to other weight loss approaches was organized. The results concluded that higher-fat interventions had greater long-term weight loss results. Understand that avoiding fats altogether is not the healthiest option. Choosing healthier fats such as, unsaturated fats in fish, avocados and nuts can be beneficial. Keep in mind, that the average American diet is vastly high in saturated fats. Rather than avoiding fats keep an eye out for the type of fat and amount consumed. 

Mandy Johnson is a senior at the New Mexico State University studying Human Nutrition and Dietitics. She is the president of the Student Association of Nutrition and Dietitics. 

References can be made available upon request

Friday, August 3, 2018

Sin Miedo...

Todos le tenemos miedo a algo, ya sea a las arañas o al cucuy. Hay personas que tienen miedo de ir al doctor, ya sea por miedo a lo que les digan, a que los regañen o por miedo a hacer preguntas. Estos miedos a veces surgen a raíz de que se haya tenido una experiencia mala en alguna visita al doctor. También podría ser por que nunca ha ido a ver a un doctor y no sabe que esperar o piensan que les va a dar malas noticias. Para poder llevar una vida saludable, se recomienda que se visite a un médico al menos una vez al año. Como paciente, usted tiene derecho a recibir información completa acerca de su estado de salud, así como recursos que le pueda ayudar a vivir una vida saludable. Pero para esto, es importante que le haga preguntas a doctor, sin miedo.

Si es la primera vez que va con un doctor o si ya va con regularidad, siempre hay que ir preparados. Algunos consejos para prepararse para ir con al doctor son:
  •        Cargar con su tarjeta de seguro médico o comprobante de seguro, junto con una identificación.
  •        Llevar su historial de salud y una lista con los antecedentes de enfermedad que hay en su familia.
  •        Si toma cualquier medicamento, apunte los nombres o lleve las medicinas para que el doctor las vea.
  •        Lleve una lista con las preguntas o dudas que le quiera hacer al doctor.
  •        Tome notas durante la consulta.

Ir preparados para una consulta médica ayuda tanto a usted como al doctor. Al llevar todo apuntado, será más fácil recordar lo que le necesite decir al doctor, ya sea actualizarlo con algún síntoma nuevo o hacer preguntas acerca de su tratamiento. Los doctores y otros profesionales de la salud están para ayudarlos a vivir una vida sana. No tenga miedo de preguntar.

Para más información de cómo prepararse para una cita médica, siga el siguiente enlace:

También puede contactar al agente de Extensión de su condado para más información de salud y bienestar.

Isela García estudia la maestría en salud pública en la Universidad Estatal de Nuevo México (NMSU) y obtuvo su licenciatura en laboratorio clínico de la Universidad de Texas en El Paso (UTEP). Isela se crío en El Paso y en Ciudad Juárez. Después de haber trabajado haciendo análisis clínicos en varios hospitales, decidió estudiar la maestría en salud pública para poder ayudar las comunidades fronterizas a vivir una vida saludable. Su meta es ayudar a crear programas educativos que puedan ayudar a las comunidades a prevenir enfermedades, especialmente para aquellos que hablan en español.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Making Sense of Food Labels
To make informed choices about the food we eat, we need labels to be simple, consistent, and accurate.Unfortunately, that's often not the case. Today's food labels are frequently confusing and sometimes misleading. Commonly used terms, such as "healthy" and "natural" for example, have no one official definition. And even the integrity of organic products, which have strict standards, is under threat: The Department of Agriculture recently declared carrageenan, a seaweed-derived thickening agent, to be an acceptable ingredient in foods marketed as "organic"- despite the National Oganic Standardds Board's 2016 vote to ban it.Organic. Fresh. Natural. They all sound healthful enough, but when it comes to claims on food labels, you practically need a glossary to keep track of what means what ( and what means nothing). Here's a guide to a few of the best and worst food labels now in rotation.

A Few Good Labels
  • USDA Organic
    • This easy-to-spot seal means that at least 95 percent of the ingredients in a given item are certified organic- for example, they're produced without the use of synthetic fertilizers, most pesticides, or generally engineered crops. And Agriculture has no organic standard for fish.
  • No Antibiotics (plus USDA Process Verified)
    • The widespread use of antibiotics in farm animals encourages the growth of drug-resistant "superbugs" that can infect humans. A "Raised Without Antibiotics Administered" claim on meat and poultry indicated that the animals from which the food came received no antibiotics during its lifetime. Ideally, that statement should be accompanied by the "USDA Process Verified" seal, which means the agency has confirmed that the producer is doing what it says it is. Beware of sound-alike lables that aren't approved by the USDA, like "antibiotic free" and "no antibiotic residues." To learn more, go to
  • Animal Welfare Approved
    • This label ensures that chickens, cows, giats, rabbits, sheep, turkeys, and other animals raised for meat, dairy, or egg products were treated humanely from birth to slaughter- for example, by being given access to asture. Only family farmers and cooperative groups of family farms can be AWA certified. Another good (though slightly less rigorous) option is "Certified Humane Raised and Handled." Like the AWA label, it was developed by a team that included animal scientists and veterinarians, and it applies to more than family farms. Both labels guarantee that the animals didn't receive antibodies unless they were sick. 

We have endoresed the Food Labeling Modernization Act, which would create a simple and standarized way for companies to put nutrition information on the front of packaged foods. This system would use intutive symbols, such as stars or traffic lights, to highlight the overall health value of foods. The bill would also crack down on misleading marketing terms.
We're also calling on the USDA to heed the recommendations of experts who carefully detemine which ingredients should be permitted in organic food.

Contact your lawmakers at and ask them to support the Food Labeling Modernization Act. And take action to protect ogranic food standards at

Read more about Making Sense of Food Labels:

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Does Sunscreen Expire?

It's time to head to the pool, but the only sunscreen you can find is the half-used tube at the bottom of last summer's beach tote. Will it still protect you? 
Sunscreen is formulated to remain effective for at least three years, according to Food and Drug Administration regulations- but not forever. Check the expirartion date on the container and toss it if it has passed. If there's no date on the tube and you can't remember when you brought it, play it safe and buy a new one. Write the purchase date on the new container with a permanent marker. Remember, too, that even on the new bottle of sunscreen, heat can accelerate its breakdown, so avoid storing it in places where the temperature can spike, such as in your car. The FDA also recommends that you keep sunscreen out of direct sunlight by swaddling it in a towl or stashing it in the shade or even in a cooler when you carry it with you on outings.

Helpful tips:
  • Reapply every 2 hours or after swimming or sweating.
  • "Water-resistant" sunscreen must maintain their SPF level for either 40 or 80 minutes of swimming or sweating.
  • Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 40 or higher and cautious of mineral formulations, which we found to be less effective. 
  • Wearing a swim shirt in the water helps protect your skin-and potentially the enviroment because less sunscreen is applied. 
  • No matter what your skin type the sun can cause damage. 
Consumer Reports, Issue July 2018 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Smarter Snacks

How can we help our children eat healthy snacks? What is a healthy snack? When is a good time for snacking? These are some of the questions that we as parents always ask ourselves. Sometimes we consider a snack any food that our children will eat between meals, disregarding the nutrition content of it. While the purpose of snacks is, either, to provide nutritious food to children to prevent them from being hungry between meals or to provide extra nutrition to small meal eaters, snacks should be considered part of the diet of our children. This means snacks should follow certain guidelines. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a healthy snack should be low in calories, sodium and sugar, be a whole grain rich product or have as the first ingredient a fruit, vegetable, dairy product or protein. The Academy also recommends children to have three complete meals and two snacks, while a teen should have three complete meals and one snack; if the teenager is physically active an extra snack may be added.
To incorporate snacks into our children’s diet, we should consider that snacks should not interfere with the time or amount of food eaten at regular meals. Snacks should be spaced enough between meals to avoid meal replacement. This means that the perfect time to offer snacks to children would be 1 to 2 hours after the first meal and 1 to 2 hours before the next meal, this will allow them to be hungry at meal time. 
Replacing less nutritious foods with healthy snacks may be challenging, but there are some tips that we can use to achieve this goal.

  • Set up schedules. It is important that children get used to eating meals and snacks at specific times. In this way they are going to be hungry and they are going to be willing to eat what you are offering them, an opportunity to offer healthy foods.
  • Avoid allowing children to eat while watching television. When they watch television, they get distracted and they do not pay attention to what they are eating. This pattern may lead to overeating.
  •  Have healthy snacks, like fruit, fresh vegetables, and whole grain crackers available. Place these snacks where your child can see them and have access to them. Be sure to have everything washed, cut and ready to eat, in order to make it easier for your children to choose them.
  • Have snacks packaged individually. In this way you will be able to combine food groups to provide variety, healthy options and will allow you to guide or manage portion sizes. It also would be very useful for grab and go snacks that fit better your children needs.
  • Reduce food costs by choosing fresh seasonal products or buying frozen fruits and vegetables. This won’t impact your budget and will provide the same nutrition.
  • Be creative. There are many food options that you can include on snacks to provide variety for your young ones. Some options are: celery with peanut butter, fresh fruit, whole grain granola bars, low fat yogurt, and cheese sticks.

Making small changes to our daily routines will improve children’s quality of life and reduce the risk of obesity and chronic conditions related to it. Let’s help them to live a better present to have a healthier future.

Judith Chavira is a Dietetic Intern in the Combined Dietetic Internship and FCS Master’s degree program at NMSU with a B.S. in Nutrition with emphasis in Dietetics from NMSU and a Master’s degree in Spanish with emphasis in Linguistics from NMSU. She is passionate about nutrition and she believes that helping the community to have a better understanding about nutrition will have a very positive impact in the health and wellbeing of the people in the region.