Friday, October 30, 2009

Smoking, Even Light, Affects Young Adults' Arteries

(Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Summary)

In young adults, smoking even one cigarette a day is enough to stiffen their arteries by 25%. As a person's arteries become stiffer, their risk of heart disease and stroke increases dramatically.

In the study, both smokers and non-smokers participated in three exercises tests. The smokers were not allowed to smoke for 12 hours before the first test, smoked before the second, and chewed nicotine gum before the third.

In non-smokers, arterial stiffness decreased following exercise. In smokers, however, arterial stiffness increased after the first round, increased 6x after chewing nicotine gum, and 12x after smoking a cigarette, for a total of a nearly 25% increase. Doing this every day
"can damage the arteries, compromising the ability of their bodies to cope with physical stress, such as climbing a set of stairs or running to catch a bus" according to one of the researchers.

Check out the full press release called "Smoking gun: just one cigarette has harmful effect on the arteries of young healthy adults" at the CNW group (Oct. 27, 2009).

Thursday, October 29, 2009

11 Ways to Avoid a Hallowe'en Diet Disaster

Well, folks, it's that time of year again. For the past month or so, the store shelves have been stocked chock full of cavity-inducing and waistline-widening candies. That's right - It's Hallowe'en. And the really scary part? It's not just the kids who are eating all the candy...it's us grown-ups too! Even scarier? Hallowe'en is the unofficial "kick off" for weight gain season...

Despite the fact that temptation is running rampant and every next person at work has a snack-sized chocolate bar in their lunch, there's no need to worry this year. We're on your side - Here's how you can enjoy those Hallowe'en treats without busting your waistline. Just follow these handy tips.

1. Avoid candy all together. Buy healthier treats like bags of pretzels, granola bars or sugarless gum, or pass out non-edible treats like stickers or Hallowe'en pencils.
2. OK let's be real. At least buy Halloween candy on Halloween. No matter how tempting...buy your candy at the last minute.
3. Don’t overbuy. It’s better to run out of candy and end the show early then to have piles of tempting treats leftover.
4. Buy candy you don't like so it won't be a temptation. Why torture and tempt yourself by having boxes and bags of your favourite candy bars around the house?
5. Keep gum in our mouth when you're going to be around other treats.
6. Get rid of over 50% of the treats your kids bring home and/or leftover goodies that were not given away. Donate it or throw it out. Having it in the house is too much of a temptation and a health hazard for the whole family!
7. Avoid "drive-by's". Tempation lurks at every turn. Co-workers will have candy bowls. There will be pumpkin cookies at parties. Take control by NOT eating everytime you see something that tempts you.
8. Don't skip meals. Eat your normal meals and then a snack-sized version of your favourite candy bar for dessert.
9. Set a limit. grab one or two mini-chocolate bars and tell yourself that's it. They're so small that you think you can have 'one of each' and it's OK...but it's not! Those calories add up fast!
10. Then hide the rest. Get them out of your sight! Out of sight, out of mind...
11. Get a workout in the next day and you won't feel badly about splurging the night before.

Remember, it's OK to indulge once in a while, just make sure that the rest of the time, you eat healthy and take care of yourself!

And finally, before you dig in to those candies, test your Hallowe'en knowledge in the quiz "What Does 100 Calories of Candy Look Like?" from Women's Health Online.

Happy Hallowe'en!

Eat Healthy and Save Money With the Mediterranean Diet

(Mediterraneanbook.com Guest Article)

Saving money today is more popular than ever. Eating more meals at home is something more people are doing. Of course, it is still possible to spend a lot of money at a supermarket, but with wise and frugal shopping, your grocery bill can be minimal and you still eat healthy.

There are many resources available to help you become a frugal shopper while paying attention to nutrition. A ‘thrifty plan’ has been created by the Department of Agriculture. It feeds a family of four members with two adults and two children. The cost of the plan is only $135 a week and does meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

The tips within the thrifty plan help you save money and still eat healthy. An additional benefit is that eating healthy also prevents expensive future medical bills. A healthy diet, like the Mediterranean diet, which includes food rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and limits red meat while emphasizing good fat is able to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and other conditions.

Before you leave for the supermarket, it is important to check your staples and make a plan:
1. Check the pantry for unused items to prepare meals.
2. Plan ahead by making a menu and then only buy what you need for that.
3. Change the focus away from meat. Not every meal has to have a meat.
4. Weight your time versus money. Many times preparing foods can cost less than if already done for you.
5. Look for coupons on items that you regularly use.
6. Sign up for shopper cards where you do your shopping.
7. Join clubs to get the discounts when you buy in bulk.

While you are in the supermarket, consider
1. Staying away from the junk food. Sweets are empty calories and cost more.
2. Look in the bakery. Often times the bakery has goods that are less expensive that commercial brands.
3. Try store brands. Other brands tend to be cheaper and just as good.
4. Choose organic products wisely, they tend to be expensive.
5. Look for canned or bagged foods. Fresh products tend to be more expensive.
6. Look for food in other locations of the store. Many times a product is on sale in a different location.
7. Check your receipt for items that you were overcharged on.

About the Author

Valery Fortie is the editor of the Mediterranean diet blog, a directory of medical news on Mediterranean eating habits to help people lower blood pressure and live longer and better.

Mediterraneanbook.com is a non commercial website created to preserve the Italian Healthy Eating Traditions. Founded in 2004 in Italy, Mediterraneanbook.com feels very strongly about having informed consumers on duty in all healthy eating fields.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More Canadian Teens at Risk for Heart Disease

(Reuters Health Summary)

The number of Canadian teens with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other risk factors for heart disease and stroke is staggering according to a recent study, whose findings were presented this past Tuesday at a conference in Edmonton, Alberta.

According to Dr. Brian McCrindle, a cardiologist at The Hospital for Sick Children, the heart health of Canadian teens is on the decline. Many of the major risk factors of heart disease and stroke have become more prevalent among Canadian teens, but on the bright side, the incidence of obesity and high blood pressure has dropped slightly. These findings come from a 7-year study of more than 20,000 Canadian grade nine students.

The decrease in the incidence of obesity must, however, be taken with a grain of salt since almost a third of the teenagers in the study were still either overweight or obese. Dr. McCrindle says that this is due to many adverse health behaviors such as poor nutrition, consuming a lot of sugary drinks, skipping breakfast, lack of physical activity and increased time spent in sedentary pursuits.

Read the article called "Heart disease risk factors grow in Canada's teens" from Reuters Health to find out more (Oct 27, 2009).

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Salma Hayek: 'I don't have a good body'

Wow - another one! First Katherine Heigl admits that she wishes she had a different body, and now this! The bombshell actress and producer of the hit show Ugly Betty confessed to Parade Magazine that she, too, feels a little 'ugly' at times. She went on to say,

"I won a 'Best Body Award' from Fitness Magazine and I was too embarrassed to accept it. I actually don't have a good body, but if everybody thinks so, I guess it means I'm a good actress. I have acted the part of the girl who has a very good body. If you know how to dress, there's some tricks you can pull."

What is with celebs these days? I guess deep down they, too, have their insecurities, especially with being scrutinized by the media on a daily basis. Either that or she's just way too modest!

Hayek gave birth to her daughter Valentina two years ago, but you wouldn't know it by looking at her! She has been off the big screen for the past two years and now appears in the new film '
Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant' where she plays the bearded lady. Now that, I admit, is a little unattractive (OK a lot)!

Check out more of Hayek's interview in Parade Magazine (Oct 21, 2009).

Monday, October 26, 2009

For a Good Laugh: Vintage Cigarette Ad Shows the 'Benefits' of Smoking

Wow, we certainly have come a long way since the times of this ad. I actually can't believe things like this were ever allowed to be published!

This ancient and
very outdated ad for Lucky Strike cigarettes suggests that instead of over-eating and getting fat, why not just smoke instead (and then go jump hurdles)? Nowadays, we know that neither of those option are good for our health, in fact, some studies have shown that being overweight or obese can be just as deadly as smoking!

While it's true that smoking is an appetite suppressant, it will also most certainly kill you, or at least take years off your life. Some people are afraid to quit because they are worried about gaining weight afterwards, but the inherent, underlying problem is learning to make healthy food choices and lead an active lifestyle. Cigarettes are not 'helping you' in any way!

If smoking is your solution to weight loss, turn to exercise and healthy foods instead! I'm not saying this is easy - it takes time - but in the end, you'll not only be
so much healthier, you'll feel better every day and live longer! Something to think about...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Michelle Obama to Children: Hula Hooping is Hip

(LA Times Summary)

It's no secret that First Lady Michelle Obama is an advocate for healthy living and she most certainly practices what she preaches. Mrs. Obama is a healthy eater and leads a very healthy, active lifestyle. Now, she's not only setting an example, but she's
leading by example for the children of America (and their parents) to do the same.

This week, Mrs. Obama set up a "Healthy Kids Fair " on the South Lawn of the White House and invited all the kids to come out and play (aka
move around and be active!). She advised the kids to "Turn off the TV on your own. Get up and throw a ball. Run around the house. Don't break anything, but move,".

In her address to the children, Mrs. Obama said that she learned her healthy habits from her own childhood, and she's hoping to inspire and influence today's generation of children in the same way that she was (albeit perhaps taking slightly less extreme measures). You see, in her own childhood, the First Lady got pizza one time each school year, but
only if she had received good grades! Now that defines the true meaning of 'treats' or 'reward foods'; you can have them, but only if you have earned them! She added that in her household "if you say you're not hungry, then you have to eat your vegetables, and then you get up and leave, and you don't ask for anything else, and go to bed". Makes perfect sense!

Check out a video of the First Lady hooping it up in the article "Michelle Obama Hula-Hooping our way to health" from the LA times (Oct 21, 2009).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Canadian Government Approves H1N1 Vaccine

(Globe and Mail Summary)

In the latest development in the H1N1 flu story in Canada, our health regulator has now given the 'OK' for the a vaccine to be used here. The vaccine, produced by GlaxoSmithKline, will begin it's journey to public health centers ASAP to begin immunization.

It is believed that adults will only require one dose, however children may require two, as with the seasonal flu vaccine. This new type of vaccine contains an adjuvant, a substance may increase the efficiency of the vaccine and may help to maintain immunity as the virus matures and mutates. Adjuvants have not previously been used in our flu vaccines, but the particular one in use in this vaccine has been tested in other parts of the world and has proven very safe.

The approval of the vaccine in Canada is hot on the heels of other countries such as the US, Britain, Australia and China. News of this approval will be very welcome indeed, as cases of H1N1 are becoming more and more widespread in Canada. The virus has already claimed the lives of several Canadians.

Find out more by reading the article "Canada approves H1N1 vaccine" from The Globe and Mail (Oct 21, 2009)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

FDA Takes Aim at Nutritional Claims

(Reuters Health Summary)

As 'functional foods' (any food claimed to have a health-promoting or disease-preventing property beyond the basic function of supplying nutrients) become more mainstream and more popular, some nutrition experts are beginning to doubt the validity of some of the claims found on today's food packages, the FDA included.

According to health officials, some claims found on food packages send a misleading and potentially exaggerated message to consumers. Instead of looking out for the health of consumers by creating products that really are healthful, some companies are choosing to use these health claims as a marketing strategy to boost sales, attracting the attention of consumers rushing to get their groceries done.

FDA officials are working on new regulations that will serve to define nutritional criteria for claims made on the front of food packages to protect consumers from false claims.

Read more about this developing story in the article called "FDA probing nutrition claims on food packages" from Reuters Health (Oct 20, 2009).

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Study: Listen to Your iPod to Lose Weight

(Reuters Health Summary)

Think you've tried everything when it comes to weight loss and looking for something new? How about listening to a podcast? Yep, according to a recent study published in the
American Journal of Preventive Medicine, certain 'well-designed' podcasts can actually give you that final push you need to get on the road to shedding those excess pounds.

In the study, obese and overweight men and women listened to one of two podcasts for a span of 12 weeks. The group that listened to the "enhanced" podcasts, complete with diet, exercise and weight loss tips, plus encouraging messages that assist in setting personal goals, lost an average of 6 pounds in 12 weeks, while the other group lost an average of less than one pound in the same time span. In addition, the participants in the "enhanced" group also reported consuming more fruits and vegetables and spent more time exercising.

According to one of the authors of the study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, effective weight-loss podcasts should be "engaging and offer sound diet and exercise advice based on behavioral theory" otherwise their effects may be minimal.

Check out the article called "Can listening to a podcast lead to weight loss?" for more details. (Reuters Health, Oct. 19, 2009)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Green Tea May Cut Risk of Death From Pneumonia

(Reuters Health Summary)

Green Tea is basically a wonder drink. It almost begs the question, what can't green tea do for you? And now, thanks to a new Japanese study, green tea may also prove to be useful in protecting women from dying of pneumonia.

The findings of the study suggest that pneumonia risk may be reduced by 41% in women, even by drinking small amounts of green tea - as little as just one cup per day. The researchers believe that the key to green tea's power in this case is that it might contain compounds capable of destroying or inhibiting the growth of viruses and microorganisms. While the researchers found such results in women, there was no effect of green tea on reducing the risk of dying from pneumonia in men.

One way or another, drinking green tea packs such a huge health punch that it just makes sense to have a cup or two a day. So why aren't you drinking green tea right now? Go get some!
(and speaking of green tea - check out what I just stumbled upon!! Yeah, that's what you think it is. Where can I get some?)

Read more about this study in the article called "Green tea may cut the risk of dying from pneumonia" from Reuters Health (Oct. 16, 2009).

Friday, October 16, 2009

Karl Lagerfeld: 'No One Wants To See Curvy Women'

(Telegraph Summary)

Even though our society gets more healthy-conscious on an almost daily basis, it still seems that we've got people telling us that we just can't be 'thin enough'. There doesn't even seem to be such a thing as 'too' thin anymore, as models and celebrities continue to shrink before our eyes. All you have to do is turn on your TV and you'll be flooded with images of pencil-thin, unhealthy looking 'beautiful' people. Well, if you ask world-renowned fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, that's perfectly alright. According to Lagerfeld "Nobody wants to see curvy women"; at least not on the catwalk, adding that fashion is all about "dreams and illusions"; so the thinner the better. But is it?

Lagerfeld didn't stop there; he adds insult to injury by saying "You've got fat mothers with their bags of chips sitting in front of the television and saying that thin models are ugly." Um, Uncle Karl, the models themselves are gorgeous; it's their sickly bodies and the reasons behind them that are ugly (and disturbing)! In reality, designers choose these girls because they're tall and lanky - literally coat hangers - and they showcase the clothes rather than the models themselves!

At the very least, Lagerfeld realizes that the fashion industry is not reality, but he should try to convey that message more clearly at the risk of making the wrong impression on young girls and society at large!

Read more in "Karl Lagerfeld: curvy women should stay off the catwalk" from The Telegraph (Oct. 13, 2009)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

How About a Tall Glass of Human Fat?

(BBC News Summary)

New York City really knows how to stay in the headlines. In their latest attempt to free their citizens from the deadly clutches of obesity and all related health issues, NYC's Department of Health has started a new public-awareness campaign complete with a series of ads warning us about the hidden calories and sugar in commonly consumed beverages. The ads ask the question 'Are You Pouring on the Pounds?' followed by a sobering warning: 'Don't drink yourself fat'.

While it's no secret that over-eating, resulting in a calorie surplus, leads to weight gain, many people are still unclear about the correlation between beverage consumption and weight gain. Yes - beverages contain calories, too. (Anything your body has to do work on, or metabolize, contains calories.) The ads feature a gruesome glass full of human fat being poured out of some of America's most beloved beverage containers - the bottles represent Gatorade, iced tea and Coca Cola. The ads are
a stark reminder of how these products can lead to obesity and related health problems.

According to Cathy Nonas, director of the Health Department’s Physical Activity and Nutrition Programs, “When people count calories, they too often forget to include the liquid ones...We need to start thinking of the sugar in sweetened drinks as unwanted, wasted calories. These calories provide no nutritional benefits and can lead to weight gain. Water and other zero-calorie beverages are a better choice.”

Read up on the details in the press release entitled "Anti-obesity ad shocks New Yorkers" from BBC News (Oct 7, 2009)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Weight Loss Ads to Get More 'Real'

(Response Magazine Summary)

We've all seen them: those ads with tanned, ripped models who 'used to be fat' but thanks to product XYZ they're now lean, mean muscle machines. While most of us know that it's not as easy as simply downing a pill or two, many people are still duped by advertising and fail to read the fine print on the bottom of the ad that reads 'results not typical'. Ah....so what results are typical?

Thanks to new regulations by the FTC, the governing body behind consumer protection in the US, advertisements will be far less deceptive to the average consumer and can no longer use the text 'results not typical'. Good-bye bowflex dude. So long 'hot grandma'.

According to the FTC, such "best-case scenario" testimonials do not describe typical consumer experiences. As a result, the ads must now clearly state what the typical consumer can expect to experience, ideally with data to back it up. If not: sorry, no ads!

To find out more about the new regulations, check out the article called "
Legal Review: FTC Decides 'Results Not Typical' No Longer Good Enough" from Response Magazine

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mediterranean Diet Linked Linked to Better Mental Health

(New York Times Summary)

Many studies have told us that diets packed with healthy fats from olive oil, nuts and seeds, plus fibre from fruits and veggies, and lean protein from fish (aka the Mediterranean diet) help reduce our risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and even some kinds of cancer. Well, now there's even more reason to follow what is arguably the world's healthiest diet - it's good for your mental health!

In a long-term study of over 10,000 Spaniards, none of which had depression to begin with, it was found that those who adhered the most closely to the Mediterranean diet showed the least incidence of depression at the end of the study. In fact, those who scored between 5 and 9 on a scale of 'following the diet as closely as possible' were about 50% less likely to develop depression than those who barely stuck to the diet (or not at all)!

Find out how following a Mediterranean diet helps you stay mentally and physically healthy by reading the article called "Lower Depression Risk Linked to Mediterranean Diet" at The New York Times (Oct 13, 2009).

Monday, October 12, 2009

Eating the Distance: The 30,000 Calorie Burger

Let's say the average individual requires about 2,000 calories per day (give or take). That adds up to about 30,000 calories in two weeks. Well, one 'competitive eating' genius decided that he wanted to try downing that many calories in ONE SITTING!

15-year old 'competitive eater' Brad Sciullo took his appetite over to Denny's Beer Barrel Pub in Clearfield, PA, "home of the world's largest eating challenges" and ordered himself the 'Belly Buster' meal. Brad's dream is
to finish something "no human being should ever eat". Where are his parents?

The Belly Buster includes a burger that's made from 15 pounds of ground beef, sat atop a 22-ounce bun and includes a head of lettuce, two onions, three tomatoes, two cups each of ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise and pickle relish, three pounds of cheese and 15 pickle spears. The whole plate weighs in at more than 30,000 calories and more than 2,000 grams of fat!

Brad recently finished the 15lb burger in 4 hours 39 minutes, but apparently he wasn't satisfied with that record, so he returned for another go. This time around, Brad rounded off the six pound 'Ye Olde 96er', in 2 hours and 23 minutes. Um....Congratulations? The menu also includes the 'Beer Barrel Belly Bruiser', a burger weighing in at Fifty Plus Pounds with a price tag of only $179.95! Hey, it's only your health you're sacrificing, after all.

I'm actually shocked and appalled that 'events' like this are allowed to take place, given the obesity epidemic the US is facing, along with the burden that the likes of high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease impose on the health care system , as a direct result of diet. I just hope Brad wises up some day soon and realizes what he's doing to his health!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Breaking News: President Obama Wins Nobel Prize

(New York Times Summary)

Soooo...this isn't quite health news, I know, but everyone's tweeting about it this morning. In a surprise move, the Nobel Prize committee has awarded U.S. President Barack Obama the Nobel Peace Prize for diplomacy in having created "a new international climate".

This prize truly came out of what seems like the woodwork, surprising everyone from Norway, where the prize was awarded, to the White House. There seemed to be no prior discussion in terms of awarding President Obama this prize!

Check out more about this breaking news story in the article "In Surprise, Nobel Peace Prize to Obama for Diplomacy" from the New York Times (Oct 9, 2009).

Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation: 'Energy Balance is a Simple Equation'

(PRNewswire Summary)

How's this for irony? The makers of your favourite snack foods, like Nestle, Kraft, General Mills, Smuckers, SaraLee, Campbell's, Coca Cola and Kellogg's, just to name a few, want to help you lose weight by letting you to know that energy balance is a 'simple equation'. Oh really? You mean I can eat all the Kraft Dinner, Häagen-Dazs and Kit-Kat bars I want, as long as I spend 10 hours at the gym burning them off?

The above big names in the food and beverage industry, as well as NGOs and retail outlets have come together and invested $20 million to launch a national initiative to help reduce obesity, with a special focus on reducing childhood obesity by 2015. They intend to do this by focusing on three major areas where people spend most of their time (and also enjoy the likes of mars bars, coke and soup-at-hand): the marketplace, the workplace and schools.

David Mackay, president and chief executive officer of Kellogg Company and chairman of the board of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation stated in the press release,"We are united in an unprecedented, collaborative and focused effort to help children and adults achieve better energy balance between calories in and calories out."

Hey, at least they're recognizing that they are a
major factor in the obesity epidemic and are taking some sort of responsibility! They haven't explained exactly how they intend to 'fight' obesity, but I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot more about this 'coalition' in the coming future.

Check out the press release called "Retailers, NGOs and Food and Beverage Industry Launch National Initiative to Help Reduce Obesity" at PRNewswire (Oct. 5, 2009) and check out the foundation's website here.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Bake Sales Banned in NYC Schools

(New York Times Summary)

For most kids, 'fundraisers' and bake sales go hand in hand. Kids can get creative in the kitchen, raise lots of cash, and satisfy their sweet tooth at the same time! Heck, even the Nutrition Students' Union at Ryerson University here in Toronto is holding a bake sale in the coming weeks! Well, unfortunately for kids in NYC, cookies won't be found on the fundraising menu. Not even zucchini bread. That's because bake sales have been
banned! Can you imagine?

The Department of Education, in an effort to improve the way school-kids eat, and to decrease the prevalence of overweight and obesity in kids, has issued a 3-page memo limiting the types of snacks that can be sold in schools. This includes vending machines and student-run endeavours and even the hours during which certain foods can be sold.

NYC is definitely on the forefront of promoting healthy eating by not only banning trans fats from restaurants, but they also require the posting of nutritional information on menus. And now they're banning bake sales? While I respect and appreciate the efforts that are being taken in preventing overweight and obesity in the 'greatest city in the world', does anyone really think that such measures will discourage citizens from indulging from time to time? I don't think it's any secret that, nutritional info posted or not, frequent restaurant goers aren't going out for a 'healthy' or low-cal meal. And so what if kids can't sell cupcakes - they can still get them just about
anywhere, especially in NYC (they have some amazing gourmet cupcake establishments).

According to Eric Goldstein, the chief of the office of school support services, “During the school day, we have to focus on what is healthy for the mind and the body.” Well, I guess that's reason enough for me.

Check out the details in the article "A Crackdown on Bake Sales in City Schools" from the New York Times (Oct 2, 2009).

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Candy a Day Makes for Violent Adults

(HealthDay Summary)

An apple a day keeps the doctor away but a candy a day leads to violent crimes as an adult? According to
a study out of Wales, childhood diet has a lot to do with adult violence.

The findings,
published in the October issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry, were based on data from the British Cohort Study, spanning nearly 40 years. 17,415 children born in a single week in the 1970s in the UK entered into this study, and detailed health and lifestyle information was collected at several points over the past 40 years, including ages 5, 10 and throughout adulthood. Of the total group, those individuals who had reported committing a violent crime were more likely to have eaten a daily candy or sweet at age 10.

Despite the link, the researchers caution us that there is no 'cause-effect' link yet established in this equation. There are many factors that could have led to such a correlation, and the cause has not yet been disentangled.
Melinda Johnson, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association has suggested that perhaps diets high in sweets are indicative of poor nutrition overall, which could potentially to abnormal brain growth during a critical period of development.

To find out if you should stop giving your kids sweets, check out the article "
Daily Candy in Childhood Linked to Violence in Adulthood" at MedlinePlus (Oct 2, 2009).

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Look to Homer Simpson for Healthy Eating Advice

(Reuters Summary)

Forget the beer-guzzling, donut-devouring Homer Simpson you're used to. You're about to meet a new, reformed version of the Simpson family who's ready to teach you a thing or two about healthy eating.

According to reports, the Department of Health in the UK is spending 640,000 pounds to sponsor television spots featuring the Simpsons for their Channel 4's 'Change4Life' campaign. Just before the sponsored episodes of the much-loved television program, a short skit will run featuring the 'Change4Life' family imitating the Simpsons, sitting on their couch, chowing down on unhealthy foods. Just then, their junk food snacks are snatched away and morph into healthy alternatives.

The government is hoping that this new campaign will help viewers realize that healthy eating is the way to go, and that Homer's regular diet is not one that is fit to be mimicked. In a way, this can almost be seen as a form of a disclaimer before watching the 'real' Simpson's family!

Click Here to view the television spot and read the whole article called "Britain's new healthy eating guru - Homer Simpson" at Reuters (Oct. 5, 2009)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Coca Cola: 'Industry First' to Help Consumers Manage Weight

(Coca Cola Press Release Summary)

Thanks to a press release from the head honchos at Coca Cola, we now have word that the makers of the iconic soda will be the industry's first to post nutritional information on the
front of their products, in order to help consumers make more 'informed choices'.

Released just days ago, the press release goes on to state that the company is going international with the first of it's kind 'front-of-pack' nutritional labelling, so that consumers can choose beverages "based on their own individual taste preferences and nutritional needs"

Chairman and CEO of Coca Cola said in the statement "Coca-Cola is the world's most valuable brand, and with that comes a leadership responsibility,". The company plans to phase in this new labelling system worldwide by 2011, but it already exists in Australia and Europe.

Do you think this new labelling system will make consumers stop and re-consider their beverage choices? Read the whole press release called "THE COCA-COLA COMPANY ANNOUNCES WORLDWIDE COMMITMENT TO PLACE ENERGY INFORMATION ON FRONT OF PRODUCT PACKAGING" at Coca Cola's website (Sept 30, 2009).

Friday, October 2, 2009

Grey's Anatomy Hottie Wishes for an Unhealthy Body

Anyone who's ever watched 'Grey's Anatomy' or the movies 'Knocked Up' or 'The Ugly Truth' has probably been super-jealous of Katherine Heigl. She's tall, beautiful, in amazing shape and has a perfectly proportioned, pin-up body. Guys want her and girls want to be her. But want to know the craziest part? She doesn't like her body; she's insecure, just like us regular folks.

Heigl, a woman who seems to have it all, secretly wishes she had the body of another young Hollywood starlet - one who's battled with her weight and health issues for most of her life and who, most would agree, doesn't look even remotely attractive. According to Heigl, "My own insecurity makes me want to look like Nicole Richie". Standing at an impressive 5 feet 9 inches tall, Katherine says she has "substantial breasts, hips and everything else, so it's never going to happen,".

Thank goodness that it's never going to happen because most would agree that Katherine is a
proper role model for women, and Ritchie is far from one. Even Heigl herself agrees, saying "What stops me is that I want young girls to look at me and think: 'That's healthy, that's what I want - she's on television and she looks like me,". She goes on to say that she loves eating - saying she's obsessed with food - and that she works out regularly with her trainer.

Hey, at least she knows what's healthy and she practices what she preaches, despite her inner insecurities.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

19-Pound, 2-Foot Long Newborn Has 'Strong' Appetite

(MSNBC Summary)

Akbar Risuddin is definitely not a 'little' baby. Sure, he's a newborn, but compared to him, the other babies in the nursery look like burritos. Baby Akbar, or "the Great" in Arabic, is nearly 3-times the size of his baby friends and has a cry that sounds more like a roar. Weighing in at a whopping 19.2 pounds and measuring nearly 2-feet, this baby's appetite is also of epic proportions.

It's hard to imagine delivering a baby that is the size of a regular one-year-old toddler, but both mother and son are currently in good health. Doctors have pinned gestational diabetes as the cause for baby Akbar's massive size, which could have put his own health as well as his mother's at risk.

Gestational diabetes is quite common and occurs when women with no previous history of diabetes suddenly exhibit signs of diabetes during pregnancy. As a result, an excess of glucose is delivered to the baby, causing it to increase in size at an accelerated rate. In addition, both mother and child can go on to develop diabetes following the delivery. Fortunately, mother Ani and baby Akbar are both currently doing fine.

While Akbar's proud parents may have 'more to love' with this 'great' baby, father Muhammad said on Friday “I hope I can afford to feed the baby enough, because he needs more milk than other babies.” No kidding!

Read more about this amazing and massive baby in MSNBC's article "Whoa, baby! 19-pound boy is named Akbar" (Sept. 25, 2009).