Misleading Menus: Making Mindful Decisions During Your Next Night Out

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New York is one of the food capitals of the world, and I’m always amazed by all the options available when I’m on my lunch break or out with my family for dinner. While these meals can be delicious, they can also do some serious damage to your diet. We’ve talked in the past about how to identify the healthiest foods when eating out. But even when we make choices with the best intentions, menus can lead us astray. A new study out this week reveals some of the subtle cues that are influencing the dishes you decide on. Here are some helpful findings from that study along with some tips about how to make the right choices when you next walk into a restaurant.

Don’t Be Fooled by Flashy Fonts

Restaurants know that your attention is drawn to anything that stands out on a menu, be it boldface choices, highlighted chef specials, or using a box to set off certain items. Researchers have found that doing this makes us more likely to buy those items and one study even found we eat more if we order house specialties or the chef’s recommendations. Beware: these items may be some of the least healthy on the menu. Think about it, how often do you see salads as the centerpiece of the menu at your local diner? Restaurants use these techniques to shift your attention to the food they want you to buy. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: Fist Bumps, Cleaning Your Plate, and Running

New research shows that fist bumps may be more hygienic than other ways of saying hello. “Dr. Dave Whitworth, of Aberystwyth University in Wales, tested the germ-carrying potential of various greetings by high-fiving, fist-bumping, and shaking hands with a PhD student…They found that handshakes transferred the most germs, with high-fives transferring only half as many and fist-bumps transferring 90% less, which means that fist-bumping instead of shaking hands could help limit the spread of illness.” (Time)

It turns out most of us feel the need to clean our plates before leaving the table. A new study has found that “the average adult eats 92% of the food on his or her plate. The reasons have yet to be hashed out, but the reality is clear: ‘If you put it on your plate, it’s going into your stomach.’…The findings hold across diners in the US, Canada, France, Taiwan, Korea, Finland, and the Netherlands,” with similar results regardless of location or gender. (Fox)

A new study indicates that both slow and fast runners have similar decreases in the risk of death. “Researchers found that running, no matter the duration or speed, will reduce mortality risk by about 30% compared with non-runners…[P]eople who run less than an hour a week have the same health benefits as people who run more, regardless of sex, age, body mass index, health conditions or smoking status.” The findings are somewhat counter to the 150 minutes of moderate exercise or the 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, but supports the need for regular physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle regardless of speed or intensity. (USA Today)

5 Tips for Healthy, Shiny Summer Hair

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Summer is a great time to shine. Picture walking on the beach or around the pool with brightly painted toes, radiant skin (thanks to a sunless tanner) and a wide smile because the weather could not be better. Unfortunately, summer is also often the shine-killer for hair. Sun, wind, saltwater and chlorine can damage and weaken hair leaving it dry and with the consistency of straw. And since up to 85% of women in the US use some type of chemical processing on their hair such as color, a straightener or other type of treatment, excessive sun exposure and chemical processing is a double whammy of damage to hair during the summer season. Here are a few practical tips to keep your strands strong and shiny. Read more  »

The Ebola Outbreak: What You Need to Know

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Ebola has taken hold of the news recently, both because of the size of the outbreak and because of the terrifying nature of the disease. The outbreak is believed to have started in February in southeast Guinea, but has since spread to Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Liberia. So far it has infected 1,100 people and has killed 660 of those infected. Among those now believed to be infected are two American physicians working with a relief organization to treat those infected in Western Africa. Read more  »

Sharecare Top 5: Surprising Benefits of Ice Cream

There’s nothing like a refreshing scoop of rocky road or very berry strawberry on a hot summer day – but if you’re very health conscious, you might pass on ice cream no matter the season. Well, what if we told you it isn’t so bad for you after all? In fact, if eaten in moderation, ice cream has some surprising health benefits. We’ve got the scoop on five reasons to treat yourself.

1. It may help you lose weight.
If you avoid ice cream because you don’t want to gain weight, this might just change your mind: A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who ate at least one daily serving of full-fat dairy products, such as ice cream, gained less weight than those who didn’t. Now, that doesn’t mean you can sit down with a tub of ice cream every night and expect to lose weight. But a half-cup serving of vanilla or chocolate ice cream – which has about 140 calories, 7g fat and 14g sugar – can be a reasonable part of your diet. (Slow-churned is a bit healthier.) Wondering if frozen yogurt is a smarter choice than regular ice cream? Watch this video with registered dietitian Samantha Heller to find out.

Read more  »

In Case You Missed It: July 21 Through July 25

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If you missed a segment or forgot to jot down a tip this week, we’ve got you covered. Check out these helpful hints and take-aways and click to read more on DoctorOz.com!

1. Dr. Oz shares his secrets to longevity. Get his full checklist and find out the habits that can help you live longer. Plus, find out seven surprising uses for apple cider vinegar.

2. Dr. Andrew Weil weighs in on the biggest health controversies and what’s safe for your family. Take this quiz to find out what your aura color is.

3. The truth about cellulite and the easy ways to fight it, including six at-home cellulite solutions. Find out which simple food swaps can save you 100 calories or more.

4. What you need to know about fibroids, and when it’s time to get them removed. Learn what the most common symptoms are and how to treat fibroids.

5. Nutritionist Nora Gedgaudas explains the link between food sensitivities and weight gain and mood swings. Use this symptom checker to see if you have a hidden food allergy and get Dr. Oz’s weight-loss plan one-sheet.

Today’s Headlines: Tylenol, Brown Fat, Sleep Patterns

Tylenol may not work for acute back pain: Acetaminophen has long been the first drug of choice for sudden (acute) back pain, but an Australian study is calling this into question. More than 1,600 people with acute lower-back pain either took acetaminophen tablets regularly three times a day, took acetaminophen only as needed or took placebo tablets for up to four weeks. “People in all three groups took about the same number of days to become pain-free: 17 days in the regular-dose group and the as-needed group, and 16 days in the placebo group. Participants also kept track of their daily pain (on a scale of 1 to 10), and pain scores across the three groups were about the same throughout the study.” (Fox)

Keeping brown fat may help control diabetes: Brown fat is the furnace of our bodies and uses energy to regulate our body temperature. This is especially important as baby’s, but as we get older and become better at regulating our temperature, we lose brown fat.  Researchers have known for some time that brown fat is also involved in regulation of body weight, but new research is showing it may also play a role in diabetes. “[A] report published in the journal Diabetes…[by researchers] at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston found for the first time that adults who retained more amounts of brown fat were better able to keep blood sugar under control and burn off fat stores.” As of yet, researchers haven’t found a way to turn our natural stores of brown fat “on” or “off.” (Time)

What time you wake up may reflect your personality: It appears night owls may have a rougher time than early risers according to a new study from a group of researchers in Spain. “They found that morning people tend to be more persistent. Morning types are also more resistant to fatigue, frustration and difficulties, which often translates into lower levels of anxiety and lower rates of depression, higher life satisfaction and less likelihood of substance abuse. On the other hand, evening people tend to be more extravagant, temperamental, impulsive and novelty- seeking, ‘with a higher tendency to explore the unknown.’ They are more likely to suffer from insomnia and ADHD. They also appear to be more likely to develop addictive behaviors, mental disorders and antisocial tendencies, and even to attempt suicide.” Researchers think both social and genetic factors underlie these differences. (CBS)