Childrens Health

Tanning Beds Now Carry Moderate-Risk Label from FDA

Plenty of women (and men) turn to tanning beds not only in the winter to maintain their summer tans, but also in the beginning of summer to get a “base tan.” We’ve all heard the risks associated with tanning beds, and now the FDA has changed its label of tanning beds to reflect those serious concerns.

tanning bed

In a final decision, the FDA has labeled sunlamp products and ultraviolet (UV) lamps used in tanning salons as moderate-risk devices. This is a change from the previous label of low-risk.

In addition to the label change, the FDA is now requiring all sun and UV lamp products to have a black box consumers can see that states the products are unsuitable for use by people under the age of 18. A black box is the strongest warning from the FDA, though it does not outlaw or restrict the products for minors.

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New Documentary “Fed Up” Shows Skinny Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Healthy

There is a new documentary in the works, and it has certainly captured my attention. Executive produced by Katie Couric and directed by Stephanie Soechtig, the film  “Fed Up” explores the American obesity epidemic, specifically focusing on sugar. However, the film differentiates itself from other books, movies, television specials that focus on sugar in one big way: In addition to railing on sugar as the cause of obesity, “Fed Up” focuses on the fact that skinny is not a sign of healthy.

It’s about time.

I’m so glad that we are finally having a conversation around the fact that someone can thin but still have as much internal body fat as a morbidly obese person. In recent years, emerging research has shown that just because a person is skinny it does not mean that they are healthy. People of average weight can suffer from type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions once thought to be associated with only obese individuals. Weight may not be the driver behind this, but body fat that comes from foods loaded with sugar most certainly is, according to “Fed Up”.

The film attacks sugar pretty seriously, even referring to it as the “new tobacco,” and blaming the food industry and the government as the biggest pushers of the substance. Fed Up focuses on the importance of not blaming children for the fact that they are obese, but rather the marketing that has pushed our country into a sugar induced epidemic. (more…)

The Best (and Worst!) Condiments for Your Waistline

condiments

By Team Best Life

You may use only a small amount of sugar in your coffee, butter on your toast, or ketchup on your burger, but those calories add up. Just how quickly? Here are the calorie counts of various condiments, organized from least calories to most, per the amount listed as a serving size on the packaging.

Warning: What you’re about to read may shock you!

Calories in Condiments:

Horseradish……………….…….0 calories per teaspoon

Lemon juice………………….….0 calories per teaspoon

Tabasco/Hot sauce……….….0 calories per tablespoon

Vinegar………………….………..0 calories per tablespoon

Mustard……………….………….5 calories per teaspoon

Salsa……………………….………10 calories per 2 tablespoons (more…)

Don’t Do The Vending Machine Walk of Shame – We’ve Got Your Best Choices

Last week I told you about some of the wacky vending machine items that clever entrepreneurs are offering up. And while some of them had potential, like the fresh salad machines in Chicago, others were completely impractical, like the caviar kiosk in Los Angeles.

For those of us who just need a little afternoon pick-me-up, the typical vending machine offers a convenient choice of snacks to grab and go, but which item is the best choice?

healthy vending machine snacks

When hunger pangs hit and you slide your dollar into the machine, remember to choose a snack that has a healthy balance of protein and fiber. This will keep your blood sugar from spiking, combat the dreaded foggy brain, and keep you feeling satiated for a longer period of time. When it’s time to push the button, keep these healthier options in mind.

Salty Snacks

Planters Sunflower Kernels – 160 calories, 4g fiber

Triscuit Original Snack Crackers – 240 calories, 6g fiber

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We’re Not Making Grades, and Our Kids are Paying for It

A report card was just released on physical activity for kids in the United States. Sadly, if the U.S. were a student, it would definitely be going to summer school.

active kids

The first-ever United States Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth was devised as a way to evaluate the levels of physical and sedentary activity in American kids. Those who created the card hope it can be used to demonstrate how important physical activity is, and why people need to do what they can to make sure kids get more of it.

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The Book “I Quit Sugar” Makes Giving Up Your Habit Feel as Easy as it Sounds

You know the phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? Well, I definitely judged “I Quit Sugar: Your Complete 8-Week Detox Program and Cookbook” but its cover, or at least its title. Give up sugar? For 8 weeks? Eek! That sounds like a lot of work and not a lot of good (or at least tasty) eating. But even the World Health Organization has joined the sugar reduction trend so when Crown Publishing sent me a copy I tried to keep an open mind.

IQuitSugar-880x1024

The book, written by Australian television personality Sarah Wilson, is a guide to slowly giving up sugar, welcoming in fat, and finding a place of balance in your body. Over 8 weeks you start to cut back on sugar then quit it all together, spend a couple of weeks without any sweetness to help reset your tastebuds and your cravings, then slowly add in a little natural sweetness as you’d like. The idea is that a little natural sugar (such as those found in fruits and brown rice syrup) goes a long ways, so long as you break your body’s processed sugar habit.

I read through the book and it sounded plausible, if not actually appealing. But when I got to the recipe section—108 healthy, inspiring meals, snacks, and desserts—I was convinced that “I Quit Sugar” deserved a place on my bookshelf. The recipes are absolutely divine. So far I’ve made two soups—a warm one with sweet potato, lentils, onion, and a blend of spices and a cool one with avocado, cucumbers, scallions, and cilantro. And I have the ingredients for a few more: fluffy squash and chia muffins, cashews chia pudding, and coconut curry meatballs, to name a few. These aren’t necessarily items I would expect to have sugar in them, but it is a good reminder that by focusing on eating good stuff I might naturally start to eat less sugar, which is a concept that’s a lot easier to digest then simply going cold-turkey on sweets. (more…)

Yelp Helps Find Places to Eat and Avoid

“Oh, my friend said the last time she ate there she got sick.” If I had a dollar for every time I heard that, well, I’d have a few more dollars.

food poisoning

Hearsay is one way (if not the only way) I learn about potential food poisoning breakouts. It leaves me wondering if there’s a better way to get that information.

According to new research, there just might be.

It was found that restaurant review sites like Yelp can help health inspectors track down outbreaks of food poisoning that have not been reported. This means the problem can be solved faster, and you’ll likely know about it sooner.

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Sports Drinks: Bad for Kids’ Health and Behavior

sports drinks

Scientists recently discovered an unsettling connection between sports and energy drinks and teenagers. There appears to be a pretty strong link between consumption of the beverage to bad behavior, according to a recent research study published in the Journal of Nutritional Education and Behavior. And while it may not be a surprise that kids hopped up on caffeine might misbehave more than those who stay clear of Redbull and the like, the same trend applies to sports drinks, which were used by about 33-percent of the teens polled.

What, exactly, are kids who drink these beverages up to?  The researchers concluded that both male and female teenagers who consume a high number of sports and energy drinks each week are more likely to smoke, drink other worse-for-you beverages, and actually spend more time in front of the computer or television.

Could Gatorade be the gateway drug for more bad behavior? (more…)

U.N. Officials Propose Taxes on Unhealthy Foods; Want to Improve Global Health

“Unhealthy diets are now a greater threat to global health than tobacco.”

That’s what Belgian professor Olivier de Schutter of the World Health Organization (WHO) told the organization’s annual summit. It’s also a pretty bold statement considering tobacco has been held as one of the highest risks to global health for years.

unhealthy food

He went on to say, “Just as the world came together to regulate the risks of tobacco, a bold framework convention on adequate diets must now be agreed.”

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The No-Helmet Bicycling Movement is Harmful to Your Health

Every sport has its own built-in factions: If you’re a runner do you wear minimal shoes or full-support ones? If you do yoga, do you like traditional yoga or hot yoga? When I started cycling I was pretty surprised to find that the point of division was whether or not your wore a helmet.

bike helmet

“Who doesn’t wear a helmet?” was my initial thought when I saw fellow cyclists pedaling without any protection on their heads. Hadn’t they seen the stats showing that helmet save lives? I’m squarely in the helmet-wearing camp, using science (and common sense) to back-up my position. Because of that, I continue to be surprised that people on the no-helmet side of the argument also use science to support their claims. But it shouldn’t be too unexpected: The interesting thing with numbers is that you can spin them to support just about anything you want. (For a good example, see this tongue-in-cheek article on why seat belts and child restraints are hazardous.)

But back to bicycling. Yesterday, via Facebook, I was directed to yet another anti-helmet argument, this one written by a student at Yale. He had all sorts of supporting documents, pie charts, etc., that claimed to show: A.) that cycling is less dangerous than walking down the street, among other things; and B.) that helmets may actually be harmful.

I read the piece. Then I checked his math. And he was spinning the statistics to make his case. Here’s the beginning, and cornerstone, of his argument: (more…)