In the News: Interesting Vegetable Names Make Them More Appealing, One in Ten People Obese Worldwide, Drug Can Create a Tan Without the Sun

Interesting vegetable names make them more appealing. It turns out that the key to getting people to eat their vegetables has more to do with the marketing than the vegetable itself. Stanford University researchers discovered that students were consuming more vegetables in the cafeteria when the names were given an upgrade. The experiment, which lasted throughout the fall semester, involved tracking how many of the 600 diners chose a given vegetable dish. The vegetables were given four different labels: Basic (simply naming the vegetable), Healthy Restrictive (vegetable with sugar-free dressing), Healthy Positive (vitamin C packed vegetable), and Indulgent (citrus-glazed twisted vegetable). As it turns out, 25% more students chose the vegetable with the indulgent name versus the basic one, 41% more people chose the healthy restrictive ones, and 35% more people chose the healthy positive labels. Want to add more vegetables to your diet? Start with these. (BBC)

One in ten people on Earth is obese.  According to a report out of the New England Journal of Medicine, one in 10 people across the globe were labeled obese in 2015, which amounts to 604 million adults and 108 million children. The country with the highest rate of child obesity was the United States coming in at 12.7%, while the country with the highest rate of obese adults was in Egypt at 35.3%. When analyzing these numbers, many point to a change in employment as an explanation. Many countries have switched from physical labor to more sedentary office jobs. Obesity accounted for four million deaths around the world, 70% of which were linked to heart disease. Even scarier, 39% of deaths were from individuals who were overweight, not obese. Want to lose weight? Try the 21-Day Weight Loss Breakthrough diet. (CBS)

Drug that creates a tan may prevent cancer. Love having a sun-kissed look but hate exposing yourself to dangerous rays? It looks like science is now on your side. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital  have found that a drug can fool the skin into producing melanin, even working on redheads, who typically only get sunburnt. When the drug is rubbed on the skin it causes the skin to darken, the way it would normally when exposed to the sun. When examined up close, scientists found that the melanin production was genuine, which is an exciting development in the world of sunless tanning. While many rely on spray tans, airbrush tans, and tan towels to achieve a summer glow, these services have also come into question, thanks to the potentially harmful ingredients inside them. While further research will be required to determine that there are no harmful side-effects, so far this drug is showing a lot of promise. Want to learn how to make your skin look its best? Try this seven second skin care routine. (BBC)

In the News: New Exercise Pill Won’t Replace Gym Time, Social Interaction Critical for Overall Health, Diet May Be Linked to Depression

New exercise pill won’t replace gym time. A drug known as GW501516 has been getting a lot of attention lately, with articles stating that this exercise pill might eliminate the need for the gym. However, this drug was never intended to be a substitute for healthy lifestyle choices, but rather to supplement exercise instead. Often referred to as “Endurobol”, many marketing companies may still try to convince consumers that this magic pill can help them achieve all their weight loss and fitness goals but it is simply not the case. Researchers are currently looking at the effect of this drug on animals before they move on to testing on humans, though that won’t be happening for some time. Want to start a exercise routine? Get all your fitness info here. (ABC)

Social interaction critical for overall health. While we all know that socializing and maintaining friendships is an important part of the human experience, it turns out scientific studies have spent decades proving this very same truth. Social interaction is not just linked to improved mental health, but is linked to longevity too. In a study of 7,000 participants which began in 1965, researchers found that those who were disconnected from society were three times more likely to pass away than the participants with strong connections. As it turns out, the key to living a long and healthy life may have more to it than simply exercising and eating your fruits and vegetables.  (NYT)

Diet may be linked to depression. Recent findings suggest that roughly 300 million people around the world are suffering from depression. While factors like finances, relationships, and work can lead to depression, experts are now taking a closer look at the influence of diet as well. Researchers at Deakin University in Victoria, Australia conducted a 12-week study where they observed 67 individuals with varying degrees of depression. One group was given social support and one group was given dietary guidance, with an emphasis on the Mediterranean diet. The findings were remarkable: 30% of the patients given diet guidelines saw improvement in their symptoms, as opposed to only 8% of the group that only received social support. Want to learn how to eat the Mediterranean way? Check out this shopping list (FOX)

In the News: iPhone Will Soon Block Texts for Drivers, Staying Up Late on Weekends May Be Harmful, Dancing is Good for the Brain

iPhone will soon block texts for drivers. If you are one of so many people who are guilty of checking their texts while driving, this habit may soon become a thing of the past. As part of iOS 11, Apple will release a “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature. When your car is moving or your phone is plugged in via cable or connected via Bluetooth, text messages and other updates will be blocked and your phone screen will be locked. If someone reaches out to you while you’re on the road, the phone can send an automated message to let them know you’re driving and can’t get back to them at the moment. With so many fatalities taking place due to distracted drivers, this new feature should greatly improve the safety of everyone on the road.  (CNN)

Staying up late on weekends may be harmful. For so many of us, the weekend is the time to catch up on socializing and postpone our usual bedtimes. This tendency to stay up late and wake up later than usual is known as “social jet lag”, and researchers have found that it may negatively impact our health. A new study, conducted by Michael A. Grandner, PH.D., director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona in Tucson, found that social jet lag was linked to bad mood, fatigue, sleepiness, and overall worsening health. Most alarmingly, researchers found that with each passing hour, there was an 11.1% increased chance of heart disease. Want to improve your sleep routine? Try these five simple steps. (MN)

Dancing is good for the brain. We already know that dancing is a great form of exercise, but it turns out the benefits extend far beyond just the physical. Research has shown that dancing can improve memory in adults ranging from 60-80 years old, provide a mental escape where the brain can power down and relax, improve cognitive flexibility (something that normally declines with age), increase balance and coordination skills, and even promote creativity as well. Want to find out how to dance off the pounds? Watch this video. (CNN)

In the News: Babies Sleep Longer Independently, Treadmill Workouts Not as Effective as Running Outdoors, Pets Boost Health in Six Ways

Babies sleep longer independently. A new study that took 230 first-time mothers’ accounts into consideration, has found that babies sleep better when they’re in their own rooms, and sleep for shorter periods when sharing a room with their parents.  At four months in particular, babies who slept by themselves had around 45 minutes of uninterrupted sleep, and at nine months, they slept 40 minutes more during the night and around 20 minutes more throughout the whole day. By 12 months these differences were less noticeable but when researchers revisited these children at 2 1/2 years of age, they found that the ones who were independently sleeping at nine months were now sleeping 45 minutes more every night. Dealing with a fussy little one at home? Here is the best way to hold a crying baby. (CNN)

Treadmill workouts not as effective as running outside. While using a treadmill offers so much convenience and ease, studies have found that it may not be as effective as running outdoors. French and Italian researchers studied 15 males in their early 20s who did interval training on the treadmill and the track and they found that the track group exerted themselves more and that the treadmill group would have to run 15% harder to match the track runners. Wondering why this is the case? The team suggests that the treadmill belt actually gives users a boost in energy and they don’t have the same assist when running on natural terrain.  Ready to jump back into a workout routine? Give these exercises a try. (MH)

Pets boost health in six ways. It’s no surprise that pets are a great addition to any home, but it turns out there are actually six key reasons why. Studies have shown that pet owners have a lowered risk of allergies (since exposure to animals can build up a tolerance), reduced anxiety and stress, better heart health (thanks to lowered blood pressure and cholesterol levels), stronger relationships and social skills, improved mental health, and even better sleep quality (due to the relaxation, security, and comfort of sharing a bed with your pet). Recently brought home a pet? Here is what you need to know about their food. (MN)

In the News: Chocolate May Benefit the Heart, Five Reasons Your Sunburn is Getting Worse, Thirdhand Smoke Harmful to Health

Chocolate may be good for the heart. Chocolate lovers rejoice! A Danish study has discovered that chocolate consumption may reduce the likelihood of an irregular heartbeat, which can often lead to stroke, heart failure, and other serious conditions. The study, which explored the eating habits and health of 55,502 participants between 50-64 years of age, found that those who ate just one to three one-ounce servings monthly had a 10% lowered risk of an irregular heartbeat. The participants who ate chocolate once a week had a 17% lowered risk and the ones who ate two to six servings weekly had a 20% lowered risk. Before you run out and buy a stack of Hershey bars, remember: dark chocolate with the highest cocoa content is the most beneficial, so look for that component above ingredients like milk and sugar. While these findings are very exciting, it’s important to still practice moderation to avoid weight gain and other issues. Want to try some healthy and guilt-free chocolate recipes? Check these out. (NYT)

Five reasons your sunburn is getting worse. While you may think that applying sunscreen incorrectly is the main source of worsening sunburns, it turns out there are five other reasons to blame. Research has shown that citrus juice can thin your skin (thanks to the acid) and make you more likely to burn, spraying perfume or cologne may cause sun blisters (particularly if they are made with bergamot oil), certain antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and acne meds can make you more sensitive to the sun as well, not drinking enough water, and taking hot showers can all make your sunburn more intense, painful, and longer lasting. Want to avoid sunburns all summer long? Check out this simple guide to buying sunscreen. (MH)

Thirdhand smoke is also harmful to health. We’ve all heard of secondhand smoke before but did you know that thirdhand smoke exists as well? Known as the smoke that seeps into drapes, carpeting, bedspreads, tiles, and more, thirdhand smoke may be harmful to our health too. In an experiment conducted on mice, researchers found that newborn and adult mice exposed to thirdhand smoke had noticeable changes in blood cell counts tied to their immunity, which leads to allergic reactions and inflammatory conditions. It appears that the young mice were more affected than others, which may be because their immune systems are not fully developed yet. Scientists believe that these results have a human application, which is why it is so important to avoid not just secondhand smoke but thirdhand as well. If you or someone you know is ready to quit smoking, take a look at this fact sheet to learn more. (USA)

In the News: Exercise is the Key to Better Sleep, Seven Summer Injuries to Avoid, Calorie Obsession Goes Back 100 Years

Exercise is the key to better sleep. Recent studies have found that one-third of the U.S. population, (around 108 million people), are battling insomnia. Since it can be tricky determining which medication, diet, or habits are most helpful in curing sleeplessness, it’s comforting to note that exercise may be the solution. Rush University clinical psychologist Kelly Glazer Baron has found that patients with insomnia disorder not only slept better after a workout, but also had more energy in general, and felt less depressed. To get the full effect, you can try doing aerobic exercises for at least 2 1/2 hours a week and add strength training twice a week to target specific muscles. While scientists do acknowledge that exercise may not be exactly as effective as sleeping pills, it is still a much healthier alternative making it worth your while. Want more help? Here are five easy ways to sleep better. (CNN)

Seven summer injuries to avoid. In the summer months, it looks like a few injuries or illnesses are particularly common. When asked which conditions they treat most often, doctors have stated that heat-related illnesses, drowning, burns and cuts, food poisoning, sports injuries, skin irritation, insect bites, and sunburns take the cake. Luckily, by staying hydrated, having proper supervision at the pool and beach, taking precautions when cooking over an open flame, avoiding food that’s been out all day, being careful when playing sports, watching out for weird looking bug bites or hives, and regularly applying sunblock, you can avoid all of these issues and enjoy your summer pain-free. Want to learn more about summer wellness? Check out these debunked myths. (HUFFPO)

Calorie obsession dates back a century. Ever wondered where the whole calorie-counting craze got its roots? Turns out this trend dates back to 1918, the year “Diet and Health With a Key to the Calories” was published by physician Lulu Hunt Peters. While many advertisements in the early 1900s pushed women to take up smoking or wear strange rubber garments in order to lose weight, Peters was ahead of her time in understanding that metabolism and calories play a real role in weight loss. Nowadays however, scientists have come to realize that all calories are not created equal, and that the nutritional content of the food you’re eating (the protein, fiber, and fat), can play a role in fueling your muscles, keeping you full, and encouraging fat burn. Curious about your unique calorie type? Take this quiz. (BI)

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)

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)

 

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)