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.


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

Analyzing the Presidential Debate: What the Candidates’ Voices Said That They Didn’t

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Co-written by Erik Feingold, chief innovation officer of Sharecare

The presidential election is only two months away and the race continues to heat up. More than 80 million people watched Monday night’s debate, more than any debate in television history. While there has been significant analysis of what both candidates said, what it meant, and how accurate it was, there has been little discussion of the way they said it.   Read more  »

7 Experts Share Their Secrets to a Long, Healthy Life

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Today The Dr. Oz Show was excited to host a conference on longevity sponsored by USANA Health Sciences. An amazing group of speakers shared their unique insights into how to live the longest and best quality life possible; including visionary Arianna Huffington, Olympian Alev Kelter, sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus, and chef Marcus Samuelson. Each of our guests shared tips from their own experiences to help all of us live our best lives. Read more  »

Your #MyRegimen Resource Guide


This week, I am excited to announce The Regimen, a seven-step checklist that guides you every day toward your healthiest self. It’s a comprehensive approach that’s based on the latest research in areas such as nutrition, mental health, and fitness. Including information from the best foods to eat to maintain a healthy gut to the most important activity to keep your brain young, The Regimen is designed for you now and in the future.


Why We Need More Funding to Fight the Zika Virus

Congress came back from its summer break this week and once again, failed to pass funding for the fight against the Zika virus. The situation is getting more urgent, with mosquitoes on the U.S. mainland now carrying the disease. Florida has seen 56 infections from local mosquitoes and thousands have gotten Zika from traveling abroad. There have already been 16 infants born in the continental U.S. with Zika, a number that will only rise from here.

The debate over Zika funding has been raging since March, when the White House called for $1.9 billion to help fight the spread of the virus. Congress whittled that down to a $1.1 billion bill that’s gone nowhere due to a political stalemate. Republicans tacked a rider onto the bill that would block Puerto Rico’s Planned Parenthood from getting any of the funding to help stop sexual transmission of the virus, and Democrats won’t vote the bill through with this rider attached. Puerto Rico has been the hardest hit U.S. territory, with almost 14,000 cases so far.

With the current bill looking unlikely to pass, Congress has until the end of the month to figure out another way to fund the fight against Zika before it breaks for election season. In the meantime, the Zika crisis continues and the agencies’ funds are dwindling.

Public health agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health, are currently running on fumes to fight the growing Zika crisis. The CDC has moved $38 million over from Ebola funding and $44 million from emergency response funds. Of the total $222 million the agency had allocated for Zika, it’s already spent $200 million of that, according to CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden.

I spoke with Dr. Frieden today about the consequences if the CDC doesn’t receive the funding it urgently needs.

“If we don’t get the money we need from Congress it means we won’t be able to support state and local governments to test women and others for Zika virus,” he told me. “We won’t be able to learn more about the disease. We won’t be able to control mosquitoes more effectively.”

So far the CDC has been trying to track every pregnant woman with Zika, which it estimates is up to 584 in the U.S. states and 812 in the U.S. territories, with the majority in Puerto Rico.

CDC’s anti-Zika efforts aren’t the only programs that will suffer if Congress isn’t able to find money for the issue. The National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) will have to put efforts to develop a Zika vaccine on hold. The agency already has several promising candidates, including one that’s currently in Phase 1 of human trials. But if the agency doesn’t get funding by the end of September, it won’t be able to move on to Phase 2 of the trials, according to Anthony Fauci, director of NIAID.

Funding to fight Zika has broad support from the public, with a new survey from March of Dimes showing that 74 percent of Americans favor increased federal funding for research to prevent the spread of Zika. If you’re one of these people, don’t be afraid to let your representatives in Congress know that you support an urgent solution to Zika funding. I’ll be calling my representatives.

For more information on the virus and to find out who is at risk and how to protect yourself, visit the CDC’s Zika Virus page, which is updated daily.

Look out for our big show on Zika, with interviews with Dr. Frieden of the CDC, Anthony Fauci of NIAID, and all the information you need to know to stay safe, next week.

Should You Eat a Low-Sodium Diet?

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As a cardiothoracic surgeon, I know how heart disease can affect an individual and his or her loved ones. That’s why I’m a strong advocate when it comes to preventing disease in the first place. Prevention can be as simple as adopting healthier eating habits, illustrating how proper nutrition can make all the difference when it comes to your wellbeing.


3 Nutrients You Might Need More Of


One of the ongoing responsibilities of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is to keep track of and monitor Americans’ nutritional intake. Periodically, the CDC will release new research that indicate which vitamins and minerals we may need more of. The most recent findings are from their Second Nutrition Report based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1999-2006. The good news is that most Americans are consuming a sufficient amount of vitamins and minerals from a variety of food sources but there are some groups of people that may need to be more aware of certain nutrients.

In this week’s blog, I’m highlighting three of these essential nutrients and who might need to increase their intake of these nutrients. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies arise from multiple causes and are influenced by factors such as age, gender, and race or ethnicity. Before overhauling your diet or reaching for supplements, discuss your personal diet and lifestyle habits, along with any symptoms you may have with a physician to avoid any excess nutrient consumption, which can be just as harmful as a nutrient deficiency.


5 Ways to Fight Fatigue

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Whether you’re running endless errands or sidelined by illness, fatigue strikes all of us at one point or another. Oftentimes, an unhealthy lifestyle is to blame for this common health complaint but you can break out of this cycle of lethargy and weariness by making changes to your daily routine, diet, or sleep schedule.

If you’re experiencing sudden, unexplained fatigue, talk to your doctor about your symptoms since fatigue can also be triggered by medication or indicate a more serious issue, especially if it’s ongoing or long lasting.