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The Problem With Added Sugars

Sugar provides energy (i.e., calories) but no additional nutritional value. So, a little bit of sugar might be OK, but a lot of sugar leads to weight gain.

Some people believe high fructose corn syrup is worse for your health than regular sugar, but there isn’t enough credible scientific evidence to back that claim. They’re both made up of a similar combination of glucose and fructose, and both have the same effect on the body.

The problem with sugary foods is eating or drinking too much of it. When you eat too much sugar, there’s a good chance you’re going to gain weight because it’s high in calories. Plus, sugary foods aren’t usually nutritious.

They usually don’t have enough vitamins and minerals to make up for all the extra sugar.

Finding Added Sugars

Sugary soft drinks, pastries, cookies, candy bars, syrups, jams, jellies, and pre-sweetened breakfast cereals are all obvious sources of added sugars. But other foods such as salad dressings, flavored yogurts, instant oatmeal, and fruit smoothies can also contain added sugars.

Since there are several forms and types of sugars, it helps to know what you’re looking for. Grab your packaged food and look for the ingredients list. If you see any of these, you’ve got added sugars:

  • sugar
  • brown sugar
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • corn sugar
  • syrup
  • corn syrup
  • fructose
  • glucose
  • sucrose
  • raw sugar
  • turbinado sugar
  • honey

If any of these words appear on the ingredients list, be sure to look at the Nutrition Facts Label to determine how much of the added sugars are lurking in each serving. It may be just a small amount of sugar, or it might be a lot.

Reduce Your Added Sugar Intake

Start by reading labels and choosing the products that have the least added sugar. You don’t have to give up sweet foods altogether, just make healthier choices.

  • Fruits and berries are sweet and contain no added sugars.
  • Buy plain yogurt and add sliced fresh fruits or maybe just a little honey.
  • Skip the pre-sweetened breakfast cereals and add a little sprinkling of sugar, or use a zero-calorie sweetener like stevia or sucralose.

What About Natural Sugars?

Fruits and fruit juice are naturally sweet, so they don’t need any added sugar in most cases. They may be sweet, but they aren’t classified as having added sugar. Well, unless they’re turned into a fruit drink like most cranberry juice beverages that are a combination of fruit juices with sugar and water.

Here’s the thing with natural sugars. Fruits and 100-percent fruit juice are not sugary foods, but you may need to watch the calorie count. A glass of fruit juice may have as many calories as the same size glass of sugary soft drink. But that fruit juice also has vitamins and minerals that the soft drink doesn’t have.

Is Honey Any Better?

Honey is a natural sugar because bees make it, whereas regular sugar is made from beets, corn, or sugar cane. But honey is often used as an ingredient, so it’s a lot like an added sugar. Nutritionally, honey is about the same as sugar or high fructose corn syrup, so foods made with honey are still considered sugary. Technically, honey does contain some nutrients, but it’s just a tiny amount, which is not enough to improve your diet.

But I Love Sugar—What Do I Do?

Eat less of it. If you can’t do without your favorite sweets, just be sure to watch your intake. About 100 to 200 calories per day are about all you should consume.

Some foods don’t need the extra sugar or they can be sweetened naturally, like yogurt. So you can buy sweetened yogurt that’s full of sugar, or you can buy plain yogurt and add fresh fruits or berries. If that’s not sweet enough for you, you can add a little honey or sugar. But be careful—a tablespoon of honey has about 60 calories, and a tablespoon of sugar has about 50.

Same with breakfast cereals. The pre-sweetened varieties usually have lots of sugar. Look for brands that have less than 5 grams sugar per serving, and choose the brands with the most fiber. Or make your own oatmeal or plain unsweetened cereal and add fruits and berries, or just a little sugar on top.

Zero-calorie sweeteners can take the place of sugar in some foods and beverages, but they’ll alter the flavor a bit.

Kids with food allergies are about to have the best Halloween of their life, thanks to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE).

For most of us, the only consequence of shoveling handfuls of Halloween candy into our mouths late at night is a tummy ache. But, for kids with allergies, it could mean a trip to the hospital.

Too many parents understand the real fear that comes with Halloween; the risk of their children eating something with peanuts, gluten, or any other diet-restricted food. Seeing their kids miss out on this night of fun can be heartbreaking. That’s why FARE decided it was time to make Halloween more inclusive.

Thus, they created the Teal Pumpkin Project.

The idea is simple. FARE is encouraging more homes to offer non-food Halloween treats for their more sensitive trick-or-treat’ers. And to let parents know that their home is allergy-safe, FARE is asking those homes to display a teal pumpkin on their porch.

The treats don’t have to be extravagant; crayons, toy rings, bouncy balls, bubbles, or stickers will all do!

FARE also provides free printable posters that homeowners can display to explain the significance of their teal pumpkin. But, if you don’t want to walk around guessing where the teal pumpkin houses will be, FARE created an interactive map.

The project was first launched in 2014, and they hope to see it expand to more and more neighborhoods. This is such an easy step to take that will put a smile on many kid’s faces who are used to spending Halloween indoors. We know we will be joining in on the Teal Pumpkin Project this year!

The research compared risk factors for cardiovascular disease—like blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol levels—in three groups of overweight volunteers who were all tasked with losing 7 percent of their body weight over a period of 12 to 14 weeks. One group did this by eating 20 percent fewer calories than usual, one group got 20 percent more physical activity than usual, and one group did both, eating 10 percent less and moving percent more.

In the end, all three groups showed similar improvements. In fact, each strategy was expected to reduce lifetime risk of developing cardiovascular disease from 46 percent to 36 percent.

The findings, published this week in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, surprised lead author Edward Weiss, Ph.D., associate professor of nutrition and dietetics at Saint Louis University. He expected to see positive changes in all groups, but thought that those who combined diet and exercise would reap even more benefits than those who did just one.

“When you think about it, the body’s responses to exercise and to calorie restriction are completely different,” says Weiss. “Exercise makes your heart rate go up, your metabolism go up; it’s quite a dramatic process. On the other hand, cutting calories really slows things down. In severe cases, it’s been described as quasi-hibernation.”

He suspected, then, that each process would provide different benefits for heart health—and that the group that diWant d both “would get the best of both worlds.”

While that didn’t happen, Weiss is quick to point out that a large part of cardiovascular disease risk can’t be accounted for by “traditional” risk factors. So it’s still possible, he says, that combining diet and exercise has additive effects that simply weren’t measured in this study. And even though his experiment couldn’t support the argument for a diet-plus-exercise approach to weight loss, other research certainly has—including a 2015 study he co-authored on diabetes risk factors.

In other words, these findings may be good news for people who are able to lose weight despite not eating as well as or exercising as much as they should—but they’re not an excuse to be lazy just because you’re on a diet, or to pig out on junk food just because you work out. Weiss still believes that combining a healthy diet and getting regular exercise is still best for overall health.

It may also be the easiest way to lose weight and keep it off. In the study, people in the combined-intervention group got to their target weights sooner than those in the other groups, despite the researchers’ attempts to keep them all evenly paced. And unlike the diet-only or exercise-only groups, no one in the combo group dropped out before the study’s end.

“We tend to focus on putting exercise and dietary interventions head-to-head, but really we should be using all the tools in the shed,” Weiss says. He does caution, though, that people should be mindful of their calorie consumption once they start working out: “You don’t need to start drinking Gatorade or eating nutrition bars, or rewarding yourself with cheesecake just because you’re exercising.”

Overall, Weiss says, this study should provide hope to anyone who’s overweight and wants to make a change. “The biggest message here is that people should use the approach that’s most amenable to them,” he says. “If they like healthy eating and a low-calorie diet and they hate exercise, get them going on the diet program; there are huge gains to be made no matter what.”

Find your zen

“I practice Vedic meditation twice a day for 20 minutes at a time, the first one right upon waking. Vedic is really accessible, it’s for everyone. You repeat a mantra to yourself (silently), and as thoughts drift into your mind, you gently bring yourself back to the mantra. Very simple! I used to feel really foggy in the morning, but meditation puts me in a calm, focused state of mind first thing, and makes me feel really energized.”

Get sweaty

“Well it may seem pretty simple, but I go work out! It instantly wakes me up and prepares me for a productive day. When I don’t exercise I feel very tired and my concentration is off.”

Stretch it out

“Even if I don’t have time to get a workout in, I take about 10 minutes to stretch. Nothing too complicated. I just stretch my calves one at a time, by pushing the ball of my foot against a wall with my heel on the ground. Then I stretch my quads by pulling my heel up behind me with a bent knee. I sometimes experience lower back pain, so to help alleviate that, I do some simple neck rolls and touch my toes to stretch my hamstrings. I also usually go through a round of child’s pose, laughing baby pose, and downward dog.”

Check in with family

“Every weekday morning I walk my daughter the one mile to her school. Rain or shine, cold or hot, that brisk walk (some days brisker than others, depending on whether we overslept!) helps to clear my brain and get my blood moving first thing. I know that I’ve gotten in a little activity, even if I don’t make it to the gym that day. And it’s also my time to check in with my daughter, which is good for both of our mental health.”

Fuel up

“I will not leave the house in the morning without having breakfast. If I don’t eat something, then I’m miserable by the time I get to work. I also tend to eat extra junk throughout the day when I haven’t had a morning meal. My go-to breakfasts are two eggs and a slice of whole-grain toast; a quarter of an avocado smashed onto a slice of whole-grain toast and topped with an over-easy egg; or a smoothie consisting of kale or spinach, blueberries, Greek yogurt, banana, water, and chia seeds.”

Stick with what works

“There are two specific things I do. First, I eat the same breakfast every day: 1/2 cup of oatmeal, topped with a handful of walnuts and a handful of frozen wild blueberries, add 3/4 cup milk, and microwave the whole thing for 3 minutes. I eat that with a tall glass of seltzer water and orange juice, mixed 50/50. Then, if I have time, I also try to take a quick nap right after I wake up before I get going!”

Inattention

You might not notice it until a child goes to school. In adults, it may be easier to notice at work or in social situations.

The person might procrastinate, not complete tasks like homework or chores, or frequently move from one uncompleted activity to another.

They might also:

  • Be disorganized
  • Lack focus
  • Have a hard time paying attention to details and a tendency to make careless mistakes. Their work might be messy and seem careless.
  • Have trouble staying on topic while talking, not listening to others, and not following social rules
  • Be forgetful about daily activities (for example, missing appointments, forgetting to bring lunch)
  • Be easily distracted by things like trivial noises or events that are usually ignored by others.

Hyperactivity

It may vary with age. You might be able to notice it in preschoolers.  ADHD symptoms nearly always show up before middle school.

Kids with hyperactivity may:

  • Fidget and squirm when seated.
  • Get up frequently to walk or run around.
  • Run or climb a lot when it’s not appropriate. (In teens this may seem like restlessness.)
  • Have trouble playing quietly or doing quiet hobbies
  • Always be “on the go”
  • Talk excessively

Toddlers and preschoolers with ADHD tend to be constantly in motion, jumping on furniture and having trouble participating in group activities that call for them to sit still. For instance, they may have a hard time listening to a story.

School-age children have similar habits, but you may notice those less often. They are unable to stay seated, squirm a lot, fidget, or talk a lot.

Hyperactivity can show up as feelings of restlessness in teens and adults. They may also have a hard time doing quiet activities where you sit still.

Impulsivity

Symptoms of this include:

  • Impatience
  • Having a hard time waiting to talk or react
  • The person might:
    • Have a hard time waiting for their turn.
    • Blurt out answers before someone finishes asking them a question.
    • Frequently interrupt or intrude on others. This often happens so much that it causes problems in social or work settings.
    • Start conversations at inappropriate times.

    Impulsivity can lead to accidents, like knocking over objects or banging into people. Children with ADHD may also do risky things without stopping to think about the consequences. For instance, they may climb and put themselves in danger.

    Many of these symptoms happen from time to time in all youngsters. But in children with the disorder they happen a lot — at home and school, or when visiting with friends. They also mess with the child’s ability to function like other children who are the same age or developmental level.

  1.  As soon as you wake up, drink a glass of warm water with fresh lemon squeezed in. “It will provide your body with hydrating electrolytes in the form of potassium, calcium, and magnesium,” Dr. Lipman says. “We get dehydrated overnight as the body takes care of its detoxification processes, so it’s important to hydrate and replenish first thing.” Lemon juice also helps your liver produce more enzymes, which aid digestion and prompt the liver to purge toxinsThe vitamin C in lemon juice, a powerful antioxidant, protects against free radicals, strengthening the immune system.
  2. Twisting yoga poses—think, a Seated Spinal (or Torso) Twist—helps with the detox process by stimulating digestion and elimination. A lot of digestive discomforts come from stress,” Dr. Lipman says, “so by releasing gripping and holding in the belly and taking deep calming breaths, we can relax the muscles and diaphragm, allowing the GI system to do a better job.”
  3. Reduce chronic inflammation—which has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer—by filling your plate with sulfur-rich foods, such as onions, garlic, and cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, kale, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower. “These foods are high in antioxidants, which support the body’s ability to fight off toxins,” Dr. Lipman says. A 2014 study revealed that women who ate the most cruciferous vegetables had substantially less inflammation than those who ate the fewest.
  4. A few days a week before your bath or shower, dry brush your skin with a soft-bristled brush. Dry brushing has two main benefits: “It helps your skin slough off old cells and debris, unclogging pores and enabling the skin to perspire freely,” Dr. Lipman explains. “It also stimulates the circulation beneath your skin, which helps promotes cellular renewal and vitality.”
  5. Teas containing dandelion or milk thistle may boost liver function, helping to decrease the build-up of toxins in the tissues. In a study review on milk thistle commissioned by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers found that the herb may help enhance liver function, possibly by protecting against cell damage and stimulating repair of liver tissue. And cancer studies suggest that milk thistle may strengthen cell walls to prevent toxins from getting in, stimulate enzymes that make toxins less harmful, and block free radicals from attacking cells. A word of warning though: Avoid “detoxing” teas that also promise to curb appetite or rev metabalism because they can be laced with herbs delivering unwanted side effects such as agitation and headache.
  6. And add about two cups of Epsom salts, available at any drug store. Then soak for 20 minutes. “Epsom salts contain magnesium, as well as other minerals and nutrients that are absorbed into your skin during the bath, and can help with detoxification processes,” Dr. Lipman says. The mineral specifically helps kick up action in the colon, prompting the body to eliminate backed up waste (read: poo), which can otherwise get reabsorbed into the bloodstream if it sticks around long enough. If you always feel constipated, Dr. Lipman adds, talk to your doctor about trying a 1,000 mg magnesium citrate supplement at night to keep things moving.

Follow these steps to stop a nosebleed:

  • Sit up straight and tip your head slightly forward.
    Note: Do not tilt your head back. This may cause blood to run down the back of your throat, and you may swallow it. Swallowed blood can irritate your stomach and cause vomiting. And vomiting may make the bleeding worse or cause it to start again. Spit out any blood that gathers in your mouth and throat rather than swallowing it.
  • Use your thumb and forefinger to firmly pinch the soft part of your nose shut. The nose consists of a hard, bony part and a softer part made of cartilage. Nosebleeds usually occur in the soft part of the nose. Spraying the nose with a medicated nasal spray (such as Afrin) before applying pressure may help stop a nosebleed. You will have to breathe through your mouth.
  • Apply an ice pack to your nose and cheeks. Cold will constrict the blood vessels and help stop the bleeding.
  • Keep pinching for a full 10 minutes. Use a clock to time the 10 minutes. It can seem like a long time. Resist the urge to peek after a few minutes to see if your nose has stopped bleeding.
  • Check to see if your nose is still bleeding after 10 minutes. If it is, hold it for 10 more minutes. Most nosebleeds will stop after 10 to 20 minutes of direct pressure.
  • Put a thin layer of a saline- or water-based nasal gel, such as NasoGel, or an antiseptic nasal cream inside your nose. Do not blow your nose or put anything else inside your nose for at least 12 hours after the bleeding has stopped.
  • Rest quietly for a few hours.

1. YOUR CLUTTER

Sure, you’re resting up by not cleaning, but that might be causing you to feel even more fatigued: A Princeton University Neuroscience Institute study found that a messy, unorganized environment causes you to expend mental energy on stress, which increases your exhaustion.

2. YOUR BLUE WALLS

A study by Travelodge investigated bedroom colors in 2,000 homes and found that blue walls help slow down your heart rate, reduce your blood pressure, and make you feel sleepy. Good for your bedroom, bad for everywhere else in your home.

3. YOUR TV

And your tablet screen. Both exude blue wavelengths that suppress your brain’s production of melatonin (the chemical that makes you feel tired and helps you fall asleep), meaning you’re more likely to have shorter disrupted sleep, causing you to be tired the next day.

4. YOUR COFFEE MAKER

Even though this gadget is a life-saver in the mornings, come the afternoon or evening it might be the reason you’re dozing off during dinner. While caffeine is a stimulant and it does increase your energy, that effect wears off over time and leaves you feeling worse later. Or, you might have just (not) won the genetic lottery — depending on your metabolism, caffeine might actually just make you sleepy.

5. YOUR BAR CART

That nightcap might help you fall asleep faster, but the quality of sleep you’ll get after a glass of red wine is sub par — expect a restless night and to wake up more often, which you’ll definitely feel the next morning when it’s nearly impossible to crawl out of bed.

6. YOUR LAVENDER CANDLE

Sure, this scent is super relaxing, but for that same reason it might be making you tired.  Psychologists at Wesleyan University found that people who sniffed this smell before bed slept more soundly — so you don’t have to ditch it entirely, but maybe stick to mint- or citrus-scented candles during the daytime and lavender as a pre-bedtime ritual.

7. YOUR FAVORITE JUNK FOOD

Put down the potato chips: Foods loaded with simple carbs and sugar result in frequent blood sugar spikes, followed by sharp drops that will make you feel tired over time.

8. YOUR LOW THERMOSTAT SETTING

Studies found that the optimal temperature for sleep is actually pretty cool at 60 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit — so if you keep your home chilly you might find yourself feeling ready for a nap during the day instead of your jam-packed schedule.

9. YOUR CELL PHONE

For the same reason this gadget is super addictive (constant communication!), it’s making you tired during the day: A study by the National Sleep Foundation found that 20 percent of people between ages 19 to 29 were woken up by a call, text, or email at least a few times a night. That interrupted sleep makes for a groggy day after.

10. YOUR DRAWN CURTAINS

One study about workers with offices with windows verses those without found that people who were exposed to natural light all day long on average slept 46 more minutes per night. The same goes for your home: More natural light will help you sleep better at night and feel more rested the next day.

Many parents have a hard time deciding if their kids are well enough to go to school. After all, what well-intentioned parent hasn’t sent a child off with tissues in hand, only to get that mid-morning “come get your child” phone call?

But making the right decision isn’t as tough as you might think. It basically boils down to one question: Can your child still participate in school activities? After all, having a sore throat, cough, or mild congestion does not necessarily mean a child can’t be active and participate in school activities.

So trust your instincts. If your son has the sniffles but hasn’t slowed down at home, chances are he’s well enough for the classroom. On the other hand, if he’s been coughing all night and needs to be woken up in the morning (if he typically wakes up on his own), he may need to take it easy at home.

Of course, never send a child to school who has a fever, is nauseated, vomiting, or has diarrhea. Kids who lose their appetite, are clingy or lethargic, complain of pain, or who just don’t seem to be acting “themselves” should also take a sick day.

If you decide that your child is well enough to go to school, check in first. Most childcares, preschools, and grade schools have rules about when to keep kids home. For example, pinkeye or strep throat usually necessitates a day home with appropriate treatment. Usually, kids can’t return to school or childcare until at least 24 hours after a fever has broken naturally (without fever-reducing medicines).

And remember, go with your gut. You know your kids best, and you know when they’re able to motor through the day — and when they’re not.

What are dietary supplements?

Dietary supplements include such ingredients as vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, and enzymes. Dietary supplements are marketed in forms such as tablets, capsules, softgels, gelcaps, powders, and liquids.

What are the benefits of dietary supplements?

Some supplements can help assure that you get enough of the vital substances the body needs to function; others may help reduce the risk of disease. But supplements should not replace complete meals which are necessary for a healthful diet – so, be sure you eat a variety of foods as well.

Unlike drugs, supplements are not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent, or cure diseases. That means supplements should not make claims, such as “reduces pain” or “treats heart disease.” Claims like these can only legitimately be made for drugs, not dietary supplements.

Are there any risks in taking supplements?

Yes. Many supplements contain active ingredients that have strong biological effects in the body. This could make them unsafe in some situations and hurt or complicate your health. For example, the following actions could lead to harmful – even life-threatening – consequences.

  • Combining supplements
  • Using supplements with medicines (whether prescription or over-the-counter)
  • Substituting supplements for prescription medicines
  • Taking too much of some supplements, such as vitamin A, vitamin D, or iron
    Some supplements can also have unwanted effects before, during, and after surgery. So, be sure to inform your healthcare provider, including your pharmacist about any supplements you are taking.

Some Common Dietary Supplements

  • Calcium
  • Echinacea
  • Fish Oil
  • Ginseng
  • Glucosamine and/or
  • Chondroitin Sulphate
  • Garlic
  • Vitamin D
  • St. John’s Wort
  • Saw Palmetto
  • Ginkgo
  • Green Tea

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