The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 77 percent of U.S. moms are breastfeeding for the first six months — up from 71 percent in 2000. The CDC credits mothers’ growing awareness of the benefits, as well as programs that bring a newborn into contact with mom within the first five minutes after birth. The rate of breastfeeding after six months also is up, from 35 percent in 2000 to 49 percent in 2010, and after 12 months, from 16 percent to 27 percent.
The benefits to baby? A stronger immune system. Breastfed babies are better able to ward off ear and gastrointestinal infections and some types of dermatitis. They also grow up with a lower risk for Type 2 diabetes, asthma and obesity.
Mommy benefits? You’ll lower your weight and your risk for Type 2 diabetes, as well as postpartum depression, hypertension, heart attack, and breast and ovarian cancers.
Then there’s the health care benefits! In the U.S., breastfeeding saves around $860 million annually because of reduced medical problems for babies and moms, and that doesn’t include what’s saved at home by not having to buy formula.
REAL BREW-HAHA MAY BE ON YOU
Americans down 6.3 billion (yes, with a “b”) gallons of brewski a year without really knowing what’s in the brew. You may think you know, but most large American macrobreweries are hush-hush about what goes into their pale, watery, low alcohol (around 5 percent) beers. They care more about their bottom line and taking shortcuts to activate your taste buds than your health or your waistline.
It seems some of the suds that find their way to you from, oh, let’s say the Rocky Mountains, contain ingredients that hardly reflect a brewer’s art. Bad addition No. 1? Genetically modified high-fructose corn syrup, a key player in our national obesity and diabetes epidemic. How does this happen?
Well, American beers are regulated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, not the Food and Drug Administration, and can contain GMO rice, sugars and syrups; dextrose, maltose and corn syrup; plus caramel coloring class III and IV, which are classified as carcinogens; and food colorings FD&C blue No. 1, yellow No. 2 and red No. 40, all linked to asthma, allergies and perhaps hyperactivity. Throw in some alcohol and a little BPA from the lining of the can or keg and ... this brew’s not for you!
Dr. Mehmet Oz is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Dr. Michael Roizen is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. For more information go to www.sharecare.com.