Loma Linda Univeristy Health Installs Healthy Vending Machines

Loma Linda University Health has begun stocking their campus vending machines with healthier options in an ongoing effort to promote holistic health and wellness.

The process of replacing the array of vending machine junk food with healthier choices has been a months-long effort. Loma Linda University Health encompasses eight professional schools and six hospitals in Southern California’s Inland Empire. There are more than fifty vending machines spread across their campuses that needed a healthy upgrade.

The transition of swapping out the unhealthy snacks started in January, but the task of picking replacement foods happened primarily at a food fair hosted by LLU Health just three weeks ago. Students, professors, and hospital personnel had the opportunity to sample potential vending machine products offered by approximately 35-45 vendors an on-campus event. Vendors offered samples of both drink food products to attendees, who had the chance to fill out a survey indicating which products they’d like to see in vending machines. One hundred sixty surveys were collected and a vendor was chosen.

The introduction of new vending machine options includes both drink and food products. The items had to meet certain criteria to earn a place in the revamped vending machines. For instance, drinks could not contain any added sugars.

LLU Health media relations specialist Susan Onuma said the transition to healthier choices is one of many steps toward promoting overall wellbeing on LLU Health campuses.

“Our goal is wholeness, not just for our patients, but for our employees and our students,” said Onuma. “We want to help them reach wholeness in their spiritual, physical, and mental health. The vending machines are small piece of that.”

There are only a few vending machines that have yet to receive their new snacks and beverages, but Vice President for Wholeness at Loma Linda University Health, Daniel Fontoura, said the transition should be complete in about two weeks. He hopes the new selection of foods will help make the healthier option an easier one for people seeking out a snack to hold themselves over between meals.

“We want to assure everyone that the replacement items are designed to not only be healthier, but at the same time provide an array of sweet, savory, and satisfying choices,” said Fontoura in a press release from LLU Health. “We really want to make the transition to healthier snacks as easy as possible, while sending a small but symbolic message that we want a food environment maximizing health and wellness.”

Not everyone embraces the changes, though. Dr. Kenneth Wright is a professor of anatomy whose office is in the Loma Linda University Centennial Complex. Dr. Wright says foods he frequently purchased have been replaced with snacks he won't eat for lunch. "They used to have egg salad or veggie chicken salad sandwiches and fruit cups in the machines, and I bought those for my lunches pretty often," Wright said.

He said the items were provided by Loma Linda University's catering services, but the fruits and sandwiches are gone, and there are now Clif Bars and Cheezits in the machine in his building. Wright said he suspects the foods he prefered may have been less cost effective for the university.

The revamped Centennial Complex vending machine now includes kettle cooked potato chips, Cheezits, Doritos, Sun Maid oatmeal raisin apple cookies, apple chips, cranberry pommegranate trail mix, organic hard candy, peanuts, Clif Bars, Nutri-grain bars, popcorn and other items. The soda machine has been restocked with Naked juices, Tropicana products, Robinsons Fruit Shoot juices, Perrier bottled water, Chabaa juices, and Blue Monkey coconut water and drinks.

The vending machines are not the only thing on LLU Health campuses that are getting an upgrade. The hospital plans to rejuvenate cafeteria menu options and to roll out a nutritional rating system for everything sold in their cafeterias. A similar program operating at Florida Hospital Celebration Health sparked the idea.

The system will rate items based on their nutritional value, considering factors like the quantity of sugar, saturated fats, or sodium. For example, a cookie might receive one gold star, while a kale salad could get three gold stars. The details of how the rating system will run are yet to be determined.

“Often we don’t know what is in the foods we are choosing,” said Fontoura. “[With a rating system] patients can be informed in the choices they are making.”

Fontoura anticipates the rating system will be operational in the next six to nine months on LLU Health campuses.

Rachel Logan is a writing intern for Spectrum Magazine.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/6703

Someone needs to explain to me how “kettle cooked” is not frying or possibly a healthier frying. Wouldn’t any vat of oil qualify as a kettle? Please let me know that I can munch chips without the guilt.

someone told me not long ago that acrylamide levels in kettle-cooked chips are lower than regular fried chips, or even tortilla chips…acrylamide forms when starch in potatoes is subjected to high temperatures, and is a known carcinogen…

here’s a link that seems to confirm low acrylamide levels in kettle-cooked chips:


here’s a link confirming the link between acrylamide and cancer:


this is all kind of too bad, as chips are my favorite snack…


Of course, it is organic sugar so it is healthy.


I appreciate the info, Jeremy. While I want to avoid known carcinogens, I think that foods fried at any temperature have other health consequences as well.


i’m probably in big trouble then, because i tend to fry most of my food since i don’t have endless time to cook…for instance, today for lunch i fried up tofu noodles, ives veggieburger, organic chanterelles, organic asparagus and organic tomatoes, with organic quinoa on the side, in mixed organic olive/canola oil and paul newman’s alfredo sauce, to which i added a little grated parmesan…of course i also had raw watermelon, fresh organic blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries, plus unsalted organic almonds, cashews, brazil nuts and organic unsweetened soymilk…hopefully there’s enough antioxidants to cancel the effects of frying, but i’m not worrying about it…we have to enjoy our food and our life - we can only do our best…

For my 90th birthday, I had chocolate cake and coffee with real half and half. I hope to try it again next year. If not I think The Lord will say–That was a very wonderful family get together Tom. I enjoyed your family as much as you did. I love to see the Golden Rule in action. Tom Z


The news today had a picture of a lady, 104, who contributed her long life to having a Dr. Pepper every day!


One hundred sixty surveys [160]. This seems like a VERY SMALL number based on the number of people on campus and the number of people affected by the vending machine changes.
How are the prices before and after? This will affect product use.

By the way, no one has commented on HOW the Non-Vegetarian fast food place [was it McDonalds?] is doing. Can anyone give us an update?

Carolyn — Organic RAW sugar. This is on most healthy-organic shelves in large chain groceries.
When I was in academy, and it was time to cut the sorghum cane and make sorghum molasses, chewing on the raw cane was fun while enjoying the “natural” sweetness.
The sorghum on morning pancakes in the winter was much better. LOL.

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Sugar is sugar, regardless the form. Even honey is a more concentrated sweet.
When I was in academy in TN we used to watch sorghm cane made into molasses.


As @ageis7 suggested, the physiological effects of “raw” or Brown or white sugar is the same. The difference is that raw or brown sugar contains more molasses. The flavor profile is different but the base is sucrose, a disaccharide of Glucose and Galactose.

The source of sweetness in Honey is monosaccharaides glucose and fructose, it tastes sweeter so less of it can be used. Honey also brings lots of flavor to the party :smile:

I grew up chewing on fresh sugar cane; delicious!

Recent studies have shown that artificial sweeteners may be more detrimental that the natural sugars. They create a false sense but have more injurious problems on the body.


Yes, I am hearing the same thing. The body gets the trigger of sweetness but not the satisfaction. Then the craving is for that satisfaction snacks high in calories are often chosen to satisfy that craving.

The caveat is that replacing a diet soda with one sweetened with sugar can lead to a blood sugar spike that the insulin reaction can’t keep up with. This leads to the production of Lipoprotein Lipase which works to convert the excess sugar to fat. This is the issue of very large sugar intake at one time. If the same amount of sugar is consumed over time, then this effect is eliminated.

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actually, carolyn, my recollection of organic chemistry and biochemistry is that sucrose is a disaccharide of glucose and fructose…i believe it’s lactose that’s a disaccharide of glucose and galactose…

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You are correct. I had lactose on the brain. :blush:

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Although the concept is good…I find it immensely interesting that LL had been trying for years to go to contract services for it’s food services and for a long time there was a huge push for coffee and meat in the cafeteria too. Adventists don’t really practice true healthy eating practices in general and every generation has less and less vegetarians.

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Sounds more “healthy” for advertising purposes…whatever they fry the potatoes in- there is still oil…lol


Fructose can be detrimental also. Fruit juices have high levels of fructose which can only be processed by the liver. This is becoming a problem in the West and is contributing to the same type of liver disease as over consumption of alcohol.

Quit fruit juice. A glass of orange juice can have the equivalent of 12 oranges in it.

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How would quitting fruit juice also not be eliminating orange juice? Oranges aren’t fruit?

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I did hear about the processing of fructose in the liver and the connection with fatty liver disease, metabolic disorder and increase in triglycerides… Again, the issue is large intakes. Having a glass or orange now and then is probably not going to be detrimental. Fresh fruit and fruit juices contain vitamins, minerals and fiber. Fresh fruit has more moderate amounts of fructose so it is the better choice.

The issue that causes alarm is that people are consuming large quantities of sucrose containing drinks and large quantities of fruit juices because they are convenient and widely available. As far as I can tell, it is the quantity that is the big issue.