Sharecare Top 5: Curb Your Sugar Addiction, Foods That Fuel Weight Loss and White Lies That Can Harm Your Health

Two Women Eating Meal Together At Home

On Sharecare we’re helping you control your sweet tooth, sharing how to keep your love life alive and revealing why it pays to tell the truth at your doctor appointments.

1. A tasty treat here and there is fine, but overindulging in sweets can lead to a wider waistline and a number of health problems. Check out this video to create a plan to control cravings, and learn how to recognize foods with added sugars.

2. It’s easy to let your love life fizzle when you’re busy raising a family, but there are ways to keep the fire burning. Find out how with tips from sex therapist Ian Kerner.

3. Celery and carrots may be classic weight-loss foods, but you don’t have to sacrifice great taste for a slim waistline. Try these delicious fat-burning foods in addition to lots of fresh veggies.

4. Being completely honest with your physician about your habits may feel awkward, but it’s the only way to ensure that you get the care you need. Dr. Keith Roach shares the most common fibs people tell at the doctor’s office – and why it’s best to come clean.

5. Technology, work and stress can all lead to sleep disorders. Test your health IQ and see what you know about sound sleep – and how to get it – with our quiz.

Spring Forward: Basic Running Tips

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Clocks have moved forward! As we impatiently wait for the first signs of spring to appear, some of us may be eager to throw on a pair of running shoes and spring into action. According to the 2014 State of the Sport – Running Industry Report from Running USA, there are record numbers of people participating in running with 70% overall growth over the past decade. With so many more people running, the number of injuries has also increased. Unfortunately, the enormous amount of information out there can be overwhelming when you’re trying to find a fix for a sore knee or aching foot. Here are a few basic tips for beginner runners to help prevent injury. Read more  »

How Insomnia Could Accidentally Kill You

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We talk a lot about the dangers of poor sleep. It can impact health risks, mental and physical well-being, performance and quality of life. But one other serious consequence of poor sleep that’s often overlooked is accidental death.

A recent study emphasized that danger for unintended fatal injury. Researchers in Norway undertook a large-scale evaluation of the relationship between symptoms of insomnia and the risk of fatal accidental injury. Their study included 54,399 men and women between 20 and 89. Researchers collected data over a 14-year period about the presence of insomnia symptoms including problems falling asleep, trouble staying asleep and experiencing poor quality sleep. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: Plastic Surgery, Arts and Crafts, and Being Short

Plastic surgery may change the way people think about you. Going under the knife to perk up your facial features has become a popular way to try to fight the appearance of aging, but new research is indicating it may also influence how others judge your personality. “In the study, the researchers asked people to rate either before or after photos of women who had had cosmetic procedures. Not only did they ask them to evaluate how attractive and how feminine she was, they also had people make guesses about her personality based on the photos. Why the personality traits? Previous studies have shown that physical features have a strong correlation to certain personality types. They found that people consistently rated the post-op photos as higher on things like social skills, likability, femininity and overall attractiveness.” But some have pointed to several problems with the way the study was done. “Asking people to rate faces on these characteristics is a bit artificial to begin with. The personality traits people were asked to assess have biased terms–like ‘aggressiveness.’ Raters might be saying that faces have certain traits only because they’re forced to make a choice when they might not if they weren’t in a study setting.” (TIME)

Sticking to hobbies, arts and crafts as you age can help your brain. While it can be easy to scoff at the arts-and-crafts activities offered in many community and senior centers, it seems these social pastimes can stave off some forms of brain disease. “256 people ages 85 to 89 with normal cognitive function filled out questionnaires about their typical activities at age 50 and also during the year prior to study enrollment. Every 15 months for roughly the next four years, the participants completed in-person mental status checkups with tests of memory, language, visual-spatial skills and executive function, which include abilities like reasoning and problem solving. Those who said they engaged in things like painting, quilting or book clubs during middle age were less likely to develop memory impairments that may precede dementia.” The study indicates that these sorts of activities could help to keep a person’s mind active and help stave off diseases associated with aging. “As you use your brain for these activities, we believe that you preserve or maintain function of the brain cells; you may also develop new neurons or neuronal connections that preserve memory and thinking skills.” (Reuters)

Being short may up your risk of heart disease. It seems like there’s another reason to resent being a few inches shorter than everyone else. New research out this week has found that being short may relate to heart disease risk. “After gathering genetic data from nearly 200,000 men and women worldwide, the investigators found that each extra 2.5 inches of height brings a 13.5 percent reduction in heart disease risk. The relationship is present throughout the range of adult heights. A person who is five feet tall has a 30 percent greater chance of developing heart disease than someone who is 5 feet 6, said a lead author of the new study. Experts have noted that shorter people are more likely to get heart disease in a variety of populations and ethnic groups, even after accounting for such risk factors as smoking and cholesterol, diabetes and obesity. But few researchers took the finding seriously.” The researchers don’t know what the reason is for the association, but think it may have something to do the genetics of height. (NY Times)

Getting Some Exercise Drops Your Risk of Liver Disease

jogging running coupleIt used to be that people with liver disease were mostly heavy drinkers. But as waistlines began to expand in the ’80s and ’90s, doctors noticed an increasing number of overweight and obese patients who seemed to have liver disease but who didn’t drink. Further research found that it was their weight, not their alcohol consumption that was causing problems for their liver function. Past guidelines had suggested that exercise might help stave off liver disease, but new research has shown that exercise is better than most realized. Read more  »

Food Recalls: Why They Happen and Why We Should Care

food rotten smells badIt’s a fact of life that bacteria are everywhere around us. They’re on our clothes, in our guts and all over the food we eat. Most of those bacteria don’t do any harm. In fact, many of them help us. But occasionally we come across a few bad apples that can do us some serious damage. On the show, I’ve covered several cases of food-borne illness and Sabra’s recent hummus recall is just one more in a very long list that just seem to keep getting longer. I think it’s important we all know how our food is made, tested and kept safe, which is why I want to take a few moments to talk a little about the food safety.

Who regulates food production?

The modern food industry has mostly shifted production away from local making of food to industrial production of food that then gets shipped to locations across the nation. While farmer’s markets are making a comeback in a big way, they don’t come anywhere near competing. When this move to industrial food production took place, factories weren’t always the cleanest of facilities. You might have read Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle at some point in school, which talked in part about the unsanitary practices of meat preparation. Read more  »

Yolanda Foster on Her Battle With Lyme Disease

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Written by Yolanda Foster

Thank you so much for the extraordinary kindness and empathy. Knowing that you care and that you are now aware of this confusing disease is all I could ask for as I work my way through the darkness of this maze. I will try to address some of the most common questions I get asked here. As I write, I’m currently flying 18 hours to get home from Singapore, where I just spent two weeks in a clinic in Seoul, Korea, with a doctor that believes that rebuilding the immune system and healthy cells are the key to my recovery. Read more  »

Why Talking About Race Is Still Important in Health Care

women weights exercise happyOne of the things I’ve been most proud of about my show is the way it reaches people from all different backgrounds. I’m always amazed by the way my audience cuts across all racial groups, social groups and economic classes. That broad interest has shown me time and again that all Americans, no matter where they come from, want to improve their health and are ready to take steps toward a healthier, fitter version of themselves.

Unfortunately, we’re not all given the same opportunities to do that. Study after study has shown that race still plays an enormous role in your risk for several diseases and in your ability to access services that will keep you healthy. Medicine is still lagging behind in treating everyone equally and ensuring that all people, regardless of their race, status or resources, get what they need to get the most out of their health. It’s National Minority Health Month, and I want to take a moment to talk about why this is an important topic. Read more  »

Preventing Ovarian Cancer: What Would You Do?

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Two years ago Angelina Jolie revealed her decision to have a preventive double mastectomy. She made this choice after learning that she has a mutation in the BRCA1 gene, giving her an estimated 87% risk of breast cancer. It also gave her a 50% risk of developing ovarian cancer, which claimed her mother’s life. More recently, Jolie has written about a new medical decision she’s had to face. Given her increased risk of ovarian cancer–and the fact that she was 10 years younger than the age at which her mother was diagnosed, she elected to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed as a preventive measure. She has emphasized that her highly personal decision is not the only option for a woman under these circumstances. But it does give us cause to revisit the question: How far should we go to reduce our risk of cancer? Read more  »