In the News: Expert Reveals How to Slash Calories, Fitness Trackers May Not Be Accurate, Company Pays Employees to Adopt Cats

Expert reveals how to slash calories. Nutritionist Kristin Kirkpatrick has come up with seven ways to cut calories effectively. She recommends cutting out sugars and creamers from your daily coffee, not getting carried away with healthy fats, de-graining your favorite grain dishes, cooking more as opposed to eating takeout, choosing a healthy breakfast instead of pastries and cereal, give up alcohol for six weeks, and swap starchy sides for greens. Want to know your calorie type? Take this quiz to find out. (TODAY)

Fitness trackers may not be accurate. Fitness trackers of all kinds have become extremely popular in recent years, allowing users to track calories, fat burn, steps taken, and more. While many people assume this data is 100% accurate, as it turns out the measurements are often slightly off. Cardiologist Euan Ashley, an associate professor of medicine at the Stanford University Medical Center set out to analyze this data and determine how trustworthy it really is. Tracking heart rate and calories burned, they found that the former was very accurate, and only off by around 5% if at all. When measuring the calorie burn however, they found that the trackers were off 20-93% of the time. These findings go to show that you should reference your calorie burn numbers but avoid using them to determine how much you eat. (NPR)

Company pays employees to adopt cats. Ferray, an IT firm in Tokyo, is encouraging employees to bring their own cats to the office and also offering an incentive to those who rescue one. The head of Ferray, Hidenobu Fukuda has promised to give 5,000 yen (around $45) a month to employees who rescue a cat. Since 2000, Fukuda has been allowing employees to bring their cats in, with nine cats currently hanging out in the office on a regular basis. As cute as this story is, it turns out that there is a practical reason for this policy as well. The hope is that a cat-friendly workplace will help lower stress, improve mood, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and fight loneliness. (HUFFPO)

In the News: Alec Baldwin Talks Lyme Disease Diagnosis, Fruit Juice Not Recommended for Kids Under One, Certain Factors Make You Eat More When Full

Alec Baldwin opens up about having Lyme disease. In a recent interview, Alec Baldwin has revealed his Lyme disease diagnosis and subsequent struggles. After being bitten 17 years ago, he started having flu-like symptoms that left him bed-ridden during the summer months. Caused by deer ticks and often unidentifiable, many people don’t even realize that there is anything wrong until they notice red rashes appearing after the fact. After enduring this disease for many years, Baldwin and his wife Hilaria make it a priority to always check their children for bites when they spend time outdoors. To learn more about Lyme disease in time for summer, check out this fact sheet. (USA TODAY)

Fruit juice not recommended for kids under one. According to new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should not drink fruit juice before they are at least 12 months old. In the past, they advised parents to hold off on giving juice to children until they were six months old, but with growing concern about obesity and dental problems, they have strengthened their recommendations. While some juices may have vitamins that are beneficial, the rest are full of empty calories and sugars. If you are looking to cut back on sugar once and for all, give Dr. Oz’s 14-day plan a try. (CNN)

Certain factors may make you eat more even when full. Ever wondered why one minute you’re fine and the next minute you’re starving? As it turns out, there a few key factors that can fool you into believing you’re hungry. The main culprits are cooking shows, orange-and-red colored foods, food packages left on the kitchen counter, seeing other people eat around you, or being served a meal on a large plate. To take control of your hunger and avoid being reeled in by these tricky things, it’s important to eat healthy fats that will keep you satisfied for longer. Check out these delicious recipes to turn off the hunger switch and avoid mindless snacking. (PEOPLE)

Nutrients You Need to Support Bone Health

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Written By Austin Winegar, AsktheScientists.com

Even though a variety of nutrients support and maintain bone health, calcium usually gets the most attention. Calcium is essential, but the health of your bones don’t depend on it alone. In fact, magnesium and vitamin D help your body absorb calcium better so it can actually use what you’re taking in. The combination of magnesium and calcium also provides benefits to the body beyond bone health—supporting your heart, muscles, healthy energy metabolism, and more.

Let’s take a look at each of these important nutrients.

Read more  »

In the News: Women With Advanced Cancer Are Living Longer, Social Networks Ranked in Terms of Mental Health, Five Critical Things to Look for on a Nutrition Label

Women with advanced cancer are living longer. In a study conducted between 1992-1994, and 2005 and 2012, the survival rate for women with advanced breast cancer has gone from 18 percent to 36 percent. For women aged 50-64 the survival time went up from 19 months to 30 months. Experts describe the findings as positive and speculate that they are due to better treatment offerings. One drug in particular, Herceptin, may be responsible for lengthening lives. To learn more about breast cancer check out this fact sheet. (WP)

Social networks ranked in terms of mental health. The Royal Society of Public Health and Young Health Movement released a report that scored various social networks in terms of mental health. What they discovered was that Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram all had a potentially negative impact on users. Participants stated that these platforms actually increased feelings of anxiety and depression, while YouTube came in first, having a positive impact on users. It’s not clear exactly what causes these negative feelings but some speculate that it’s due to how image focused these platforms are, leading to feelings of inadequacy. (MASH)

Five critical things to look for on a nutritional label to prevent diabetes. If you or a loved one are predisposed to developing diabetes, it’s important to know how to prevent this condition before it’s too late. Experts suggest checking for the following things when reading a nutrition label: fiber, sugar, calories, carbs, and fats. Fiber is linked to decreased blood sugar spikes which is why it’s important to monitor, watching your sugar is a key component of diabetes management, calorie counting is valuable because being overweight or obese can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, certain types of carbs can also lead to type 2 diabetes, and saturated or trans fats can raise cholesterol which can lead to diabetes too. If you have diabetes and want to manage it better, here are four easy ways to take control of your condition. (RD)

 

Melanoma Awareness Month: Top Prevention Tips

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Written by: Dr. Zeena Al-Dujaili

On average, one American dies from melanoma every hour. This disease claims the lives of 10,000 Americans every year, but when it is caught early, survival rates can be more than 90 percent. Although the risk of melanoma increases with age, it is also the most common cancer in young women in their 20s and 30s. Melanoma is a cancer of the skin that results from blistering sunburns in childhood and regular, unprotected sun exposure. Melanoma accounts for only about 1% of skin cancers, but results in a large majority of skin cancer-related deaths, according to the American Cancer Society.

May is Melanoma Awareness Month, so, this is the perfect time to go over the key points in detecting and preventing melanoma.

It is important that you have a dermatologist check your skin once a year and that you perform monthly self–skin checks. Make sure to check for a funny-looking spot or a change in your skin. When performing a skin check, it is useful to follow the ABCDEs of mole evaluation, looking for Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Color variation, change in Diameter larger than 6mm, and Evolution or change in appearance. Melanoma is most likely to present itself on the backs of men and the legs of women, but it can also occur in non-sun-exposed areas, such as the scalp, on the bottoms of the feet or in the eye.

Those with fair skin and a family history of melanoma are most at risk for the disease. It is important to protect yourself by wearing sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, sunglasses, and protective clothing. Also, avoiding peak sun hours (10 AM–2 PM) and UV tanning beds is important in the prevention of melanoma. Studies have demonstrated that women younger than 30 are six times more likely to develop melanoma if they tan indoors. Research has also demonstrated that even people who do not burn after indoor tanning or sun exposure are at an increased risk of melanoma if they tan indoors. While you can’t turn back time, you can take preventative measures from here on out and help spread the message for raising melanoma awareness.

Dr. Zeena Al-Dujaili received her medical degree at Tulane University School of Medicine where she was elected to the national medical honor society, Alpha Omega Alpha. Following medical school, Dr. Al-Dujaili completed a dermatology residency at Tulane University. Dr. Al-Dujaili then completed a fellowship in Mohs surgery, lasers, liposuction and vein treatments. She also has extensive training and experience in cosmetic dermatology — including neurotoxins, injectable fillers, and chemical peels. A board-certified dermatologist, she is licensed in New Jersey, New York, and Louisiana. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, American Society of Dermatologic Surgery and American College of Mohs Surgery.

In the News: Fresh Fruit Linked to Lowered Diabetes Risk, Flying Associated With High Calorie Consumption, More States Allow Sunscreen at School

Fresh fruit linked to lowered diabetes risk. Love snacking on fruit? You may have another reason to bite into that Granny Smith. For diabetics, eating too much sugar can pose a slew of health issues, which is why fruit often came under scrutiny for those with this condition. But in a recent study that tracked the diets of 512,891 Chinese people, they found that those who eat fresh fruit daily had a 12% lowered risk of developing diabetes compared to the group that didn’t add any fruit to their diet. For those participants who had diabetes, they had a 17% lowered risk of mortality and disease-related complications. While the explanation for this effect is not yet uncovered, it seems to indicate that fructose is treated differently in the body than regular white sugar and that the other nutrients in these items may have related benefits as well. As it turns out, certain fruits may actually support weight loss too. Find out which ones here. (NYT)

Flying associated with higher consumption of calories. Ever noticed how much likelier you are to snack on junk food when flying? Turns out you’re not alone. Professor and author Charles Spence studied British flying habits and determined that people tend to eat around 3,400 calories from the time they set off to the time they arrive. He speculates that this phenomenon could be the product of stress-eating, since flyers tend to be anxious and are more likely to snack as a means of comfort or avoidance. Another reason could be linked to the noisy plane engines since loud sounds can block our sweet and salty sensors. As a result, 15-20% more sugar and salt is added to these foods to restore their flavors, which leads to extra calories consumed. Want to learn more about eating mindfully? Check out this clip to find out why it’s so important. (BI)

More states allowing sunscreen use at school without a doctor’s note. Many school systems throughout the U.S. consider sunscreen an over-the-counter medication, which means that children who need to take it with them have to have a special doctor’s note on hand. In recent years, many states have been pushing back on this law, stating that now allowing sunscreen use increases the odds of skin cancer. While many assume this problem is limited to the sunny regions, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that some of the highest melanoma rates are seen in New England and the Pacific Northwest. For children that tend to burn easily, not being apply to reapply throughout the day can have grave consequences. With summer fast approaching, read up on this sunscreen guide to stay safe outdoors all season long. (ABC)

In the News: The Health Benefits of Kefir Revealed, DASH Diet Linked to Lowered Risk of Gout, Candy Will Soon Be Repackaged With Less Calories

The health benefits of kefir revealed. Studies have shown that eating probiotic foods is key for a healthy gut. Kefir is a great example, this the fermented milk beverage has been found to help digestive health, manage IBS, prevent yeast infections, protect the body from harmful bacteria, and reduce bloating. Research also shows that eating probiotic foods can help with mental health as well – particularly in terms of curbing social anxiety. You can drink it straight, add fruits and dark chocolate, or blend it into a smoothie. Want to learn more about probiotic foods? Take a look at this shopping list. (HEALTH)

DASH diet linked to lowered risk of gout. In a study 26 years in the making, the diets of 44,000 men were reviewed and the findings show that a plant-based diet, compared to a Western style diet, is more effective in lowering blood pressure, preventing heart disease, and lowering the risk of gout, a painful condition that impacts the joints. Gout occurs when there is too much uric acid in the blood, which leads to the release of these acidic crystals. Along with eating plant-based foods, the DASH diet has been found to lower the amount of uric acid in the body, making it an appealing option for men wanting to prevent this painful condition. Learn more about the DASH diet here. (MEDNEWS)

Candy might soon come in smaller packages. Several candy companies have promised to cut sugar and calories in their popular treats. Mars Chocolate North America, Ferrara Candy Company, Ghirardelli, Russell Stover Candies and others have agreed to make big changes to their candy packaging and content over the next few years. By 2022, at least 50% of sweets from these companies will have 200 calories or less in each package. In another move to improve consumers’ health, calorie information will be printed on the front of candy wrappers to make the amount more readily visible. According to the American Heart Association, they suggest that candy should have no more than six teaspoons of sugar for women and nine teaspoons of sugar for men, while some candies currently have 240 calories per pack. This initiative will hopefully help consumers make more informed choices and improve their health. (USATODAY)

In the News: Late Retirement Has Pros and Cons, Instagram Launches #HereForYou Campaign, Summer Activities With Highest Calorie Burn Revealed

Late retirement has pros and cons. While conventional wisdom states that we should slow down and prepare for retirement once we hit our 60s-70s, research seems to point to an opposite trend. As it turns out, it may actually be benefit our mental and physical health to adhere to a routine and continue going to the office. At the start of a retirement, studies have found that people experience a “honeymoon phase” where they go off on vacation, spend time with loved ones, and soak up the opportunity to sleep in and kick back. However after some time that feeling dissipates and restlessness sets in. The study points out that the benefits of working late in life are visible in those who choose to rather than those who are forced to for financial reasons. To ensure you can retire comfortably when the time comes, give your finances an annual check up. (CNN)

Instagram launches #HereForYou campaign. Since social media platforms are all too often treated as highlight reels for users who want to show off the best aspects of their day, it’s important to also leave room for the less glamorous aspects of life and address issues like depression, eating disorders, anxiety and other health problems that plague so many users daily. To that end, Instagram has launched the #HereForYou campaign which encourages users to share their struggles with others, start a meaningful conversation, and support one another. Learn more about mental health here. (ABC)

Summer activities with the highest calorie burn revealed. If you are looking forward to getting active now that the summer weather is here, there are specific workouts that can benefit you more than others. Reader’s Digest has rounded up their top picks for major calorie burn activities, and they include: rock climbing, walking or running on the beach, canoeing, biking, ultimate frisbee, scuba diving, horseback riding, paddle-boarding, hiking, skating, kayaking, and surfing. The best part about all these workouts: they are so fun you won’t even notice you’re breaking a sweat. For more inspiration, check out Dr. Oz’s favorite summer workouts. (RD)