The Not-So-Sweet Truth About Artificial Sweeteners

Here’s what we know about artificial sweeteners: they’re not good for you. The average American consumes 24 pounds of artificial sugar each year. Researchers have linked sweeteners — which have long been popular low-calorie substitutes for sugar — to diabetes and heart disease. Some studies have even associated them with weight gain. I’ve discussed how these sweeteners can harm your bladder and cause diarrhea. Still, misconceptions about artificial sweeteners still exist. I often hear from folks who believe they’ve found the “healthy” sweetener. The truth is, these sweeteners are unhealthy across the board. A closer look at what each consists of will help to highlight how your preferred sweetener might affect you.


The First Step to Never (Being) Broken

Written by Jewel


My Dearest Lovelies,

For the first month of our Never Broken launch, I want to focus on one single exercise—the art of paying attention.

Before moving on to the other exercises, I invite you all to practice gaining this one skill first. Why? Because it is the wellspring all change and joy come from.

So many of us suffer from worry, anxiety, distraction, and habitual self-defeating patterns. We mount up great defenses, strategies, and plans to try and remedy this. But they often become too daunting and we don’t start. Or we start and then we fail. Or worst of all, we become hopeless, and resign ourselves to whatever distractions we can find to make the anxiety of being conscious bearable.

The remedy is shockingly simple. It is being still with yourself. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: Diabetes Risk Could Start Developing During Adolescence, Household Chemicals Particularly Dangerous For Children, And Efforts To Improve US Outpatient Care Fall Flat

New research suggests that adults who were overweight during their teenage years are more likely to have type 2 diabetes. “Overall, elevated BMI at adolescence, including values within the currently accepted ‘normal’ range, strongly increase risk of diabetes mortality later in life,” explained Hagai Levine, one of the study’s leaders. In analyzing long-term data of more than 2 million people, researchers found that adults who had a BMI of 22.4 or higher as teenagers, were more likely to die from diabetes–and the higher their BMI as a teenager, the greater their risk as an adult. A member of Duke University’s Clinical Research Institute, Ashley Skinner, who was not involved with the study, pointed out a potential limitation: “It’s possible that obesity as a teen itself is not the problem, but rather that teens with obesity are more likely to become adults with obesity.” (Reuters)

One new study indicates that chemicals commonly found in food containers and cosmetics might play a role in causing a variety of medical conditions–and researchers believe that children are the most vulnerable to such chemicals. The leader of the study, Dr. Leonardo Trasande, who’s a professor at NYU’s Langone Medical Center, urged families to avoid plastic bottles with the numerical markers 3,6, and 7. Otherwise, families should “air out their homes every couple of days,” Trasande said. The potential harm comes, specifically, from endocrine-disrupting chemicals, which, at toxic levels, can interrupt the normal functioning of hormones. Ultimately, this means a greater risk for neurobehavioral disorders, reproductive disorders, and diabetes. (CNN)

After a decade of regional and national efforts to improve the quality of outpatient care, the U.S. is hardly better off, according a new report published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers believe that the quality of outpatient care has remained largely flat, having gotten better in some areas and worse in others. The study’s lead author, Dr. David Levine of Harvard University, said the findings reveal a clear take-home message for patients: “There is likely recommended care that you are not receiving but should, and there is likely extra care that you are receiving and could be harmful to you.” A critic of the study said that, “the take-home message for patients is that they should take an active role in identifying the important components of their are and advocating for themselves.” (NBC)




Treating Insomnia With CBT


Many Americans struggle with sleep problems. The current clinical mind-set, among sleep specialists, is that about a third of the population has insomnia at any given time, with 10 percent of that being chronic.

It is amazing how many people have issues with sleep. I was excited to work with Tia and Dr. Oz on today’s show to teach everyone what CBT is and how it can be so very helpful. Despite its status as the most common sleep disorder among adults in the U.S., many people who suffer from insomnia aren’t receiving treatment. Treatment for insomnia isn’t always—or even often—made accessible and affordable by insurers and health-care organizations, or addressed actively by physicians.

Many people with symptoms of insomnia—whether they recognize them as such or not—take a go-it-alone approach to managing their sleep problems. They attempt to treat their sleep issues themselves, relying on over-the-counter sleep aids and supplements, or using alcohol—mistakenly—as a sleep aid. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: Your Genes Might Be Responsible for Hot Flashes, Getting Surgery on Friday is Probably Safe After All, and How to Maintain a Strong Sexual Bond in Long-Term Relationships

A study published this week in the journal of Menopause suggests that a woman’s susceptibility to hot flashes may be determined by her genes. As part of the U.S. government’s Women’s Health Initiative, researchers studied the DNA of more than 17,000 women. Among these women, those most sensitive to hot flashes shared a variation of genetic code that plays a role in estrogen production. One of the doctors involved in the study, JoAnn Manson, speculated that “there may be something among women with these variants that influence estrogen receptors.” That’s why this research marks progress, says Carolyn Crandall, the study’s leader: “It may have therapeutic options if we can understand the role of this (genetic) pathway.” (CNN)

New findings challenge a medical care phenomenon referred to as “the weekday effect”–that surgeons who perform operations on Fridays are less experienced, and therefore, patients receive lower-quality care. In the study, patients who had an operation on Friday had the same risk of death within 30 days of their procedure as patients who had operations on any other weekday. The lead author of the study, Dr. Luc Dubois, an assistant professor at Western University in Ontario, said the findings indicate “that people are getting consistent care across the week.” The takeaway, Dubois says, is that patients should rest assured they’re going to be receiving good care if they show up on Friday. (CBS)

According to new research in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, if partners in long-term relationships are responsive to each other, then both are more likely to maintain a strong sexual desire. Partners are responsive by taking care to understand what each other is saying, offering validation for the other’s beliefs and most prized goals, and expressing warm feelings toward them. Gurit Birnbaum, a social psychologist who led the small study, said that “responsiveness creates a deep feeling that someone really knows and understands you. It makes you feel unique and special, and that is very, very sexy.” (WSJ)


Is There Finally a Solution for Your Insomnia? These Real Women Put a New At-Home Treatment to the Test


Do you have trouble sleeping? If so, you are definitely not alone. Insomnia is an epidemic and in our survey of more than 1,000 women this summer, we discovered that 42 percent of them sleep less than six hours per night. That’s a big problem, because the average adult needs around seven or eight hours for a good night’s rest. We all know that sleep is important for our mood and our productivity, but it’s also important for the health of our brains, hearts, and even skin.   Read more  »

Improve Your Health and #ConnectInRealLife


This summer, my team and I conducted the largest study we’ve ever done on women’s health, asking women across the United States about the issues that affected them the most, touching on issues surrounding their health, relationships, and thoughts about the future. The story of women today is multifaceted and complicated but one of the main takeaways we learned is that strong social connections make a positive impact both in the short-term and in the long run.

In The Dr. Oz Show Health Report, an estimated 60 percent of survey respondents admitted to feeling lonely or isolated frequently. Scientific research has shown that loneliness and a lack of social interaction and community can be just as harmful to one’s health as smoking. One study even estimated that loneliness could cut your life expectancy by nearly eight years. To bring awareness to this important issue and to encourage you – my outspoken readers and viewers – we’re launching the #ConnectInRealLife social media campaign to spread the word about adult loneliness.

If you’re not already on The Regimen and planning out your weekly get-togethers with family and friends, it’s time to reach out to the people in your community who you care about and want to keep in touch with. Set aside time to catch up, try a new activity, exercise, or share a meal together and devote at least 10 minutes every day to improve both your health and the health of your family member or friend. It’s a win-win situation that will increase longevity and boost your happiness simultaneously. Snap a photo of you and your friends and share on social media. Post it on my Facebook page, on Twitter, or Instagram and hashtag it #ConnectInRealLife and soon, we’ll be building a happier, more involved community and inspire others to do the same.

Watch: How to Make Meaningful Connections

Today’s Headlines: CDC Warns of Infection Risk During Heart Operations, Benefits of Mammograms Overstated, And Scientists Detail New Method To Prevent Harmful Drug Combinations

The CDC has asked doctors to warn patients set to undergo open-heart surgery that devices commonly used to regulate the temperature of a patient’s blood and organs throughout the procedure, might have been contaminated during manufacturing. Health officials are concerned about mycobacteria, usually found in soil and water, and they worry that the number of patients who’ve been exposed to this bacteria is larger than initially estimated. For patients with a weakened immune system, the bacteria could lead to a potentially deadly infection. The CDC noted that, while some patients in the investigation died, “it is unclear whether the infection was a direct cause of death.” Dr. Michael Bell, who directs the CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, urged “clinicians and their patients to be aware of this risk so that patients can be evaluated and treated quickly.” (CBS)

A new study suggests that, in the US, more than half of women newly diagnosed with breast cancer after a mammogram were misdiagnosed. Published in The New England Journal of Medicine, the study concludes that, contrary to the belief that widespread screening has played a primary role in the lowering of mortality rates for those diagnosed, such advances are due primarily to improvements in treatment. Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, a professor at Dartmouth University who led the study, said that the medical community and the media “quite simply have overstated the value” of widespread screening. Still, the researchers note that mammography can be lifesaving. In 20% of cases in which a small tumor was detected by a mammogram, those small tumors were dangerous, and would’ve grown had they gone undetected. (LATimes)

Scientists at Columbia University have successfully used a data-oriented approach to identify dangerous drug combinations. Using this method, the scientists found that Rocephin, a common antibiotic, and Prevacid, a common heartburn medication, can be deadly when taken together. Nicholas Tatonetti, who led the project, explained why this methodology marks a step forward for the medical community. “What’s most surprising,” Tatonetti said, “is that you can go from a database of billions of data points to making a prediction that two molecules together can change the function of a protein in a single heart cell.” Tal Lorberbaum, the lead author, hopes that this data-centric approach will preclude researchers from having to “evaluate every possible combination of drugs,” and thereby save them time and money. (FOX)