Tag Archives: Health News

Vitamins and Supplements Not as Safe as We Think, Study Finds

Vitamins and supplements have long been tied to health benefits and disease prevention, but a new study from Consumer Reports would suggests otherwise, saying there’s a dark side to natural supplements we may not realize. The study highlights supplement-related incidents including adverse reactions, misleading advertising, and even an increase in diseases that some pills claim to treat.

Some of the most worrisome news is that not only are some supplements not all-natural as they claim to be, but they could also be laced with prescription drugs. These prescriptions can interfere with other drugs and cause kidney failure, a stroke, or even death.

Most supplements recalled had the same ingredients as prescriptions marketed for weight loss, bodybuilding, and sexual enhancement. Consumers wanting a natural alternative to Viagra, for example, may be buying an herbal remedy that’s spiked with the same active ingredient used in Viagra – sildenafil.

This problem recently showed up in the 2012 Olympic games when bodybuilder Hysen Palaku was barred from competing after testing positive for steroids. The Albanian said he only took herbal supplements and was unaware they contained a drug.

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HealthBuzz July 6: GSK Settles for $3 Billion, Aspirin May Prevent Skin Cancer, and Patriotic Recipes

I know, this week feels short because of our one day off on Wednesday! Don’t run for the real weekend just yet though! Check out some healthy news from DIR and our friends. Plus, we have great recipes to keep on celebrating the patriotic holiday because that one day didn’t do us justice!

Getting Old Doesn’t Have to Suck! 5 Ways to Feel Great as You Age

Here are five tips for Americans 65 and older who don’t want their age to define them. Our registered dietitian, Mary Hartley RD, offers great advice for those who want to feel great as they age.

GlaxoSmithKline Will Pay $3 Billion in Fraud Settlement; Largest Ever

GlaxoSmithKline is ordered to pay up to $3 billion dollars for wrongfully promoting prescription drugs and not properly reporting important clinical data. The company marketed drugs to children and a weight-loss aid that was never approved by the FDA.

Brandi Laughlin Lost 60 Pounds after Baby with Weight Watchers and Running

Brandi Laughlin is a mother of two boys who only temporarily struggled with her postpartum weight. After several months of battling her weight, Brandi lost 60 pounds. A few months later she was pregnant with her second son, and today she is a mere five pounds shy of her goal weight. Check out her true weight loss story! (more…)

Body Dysmorphic Disorder: Double the Risk of Suicide with Poor Body Image

Another risk for dieters has shown itself with body dysmorphic disorder. Researched published this spring shows that the chance for suicide in those with the disorder increase by 50 percent. The study, published in the journal Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, theorizes that because it takes a high pain tolerance to essentially starve oneself, that person also has the pain tolerance to undergo a painful suicide attempt. Researchers also reported that 25 percent of people with the disorder have attempted suicide and 75 percent thought their lives were not worth living.

To have body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) means to have an obsession with a real or imagined flaw in one’s body image. This condition has long been known to be dangerous and life threatening. It’s also known as “broken mirror syndrome,” a reference to BDD sufferers’ tendency to stare at themselves in the mirror for hours agonizing over a small defect in their appearance. They often become somewhat delusional, for instance seeing great amounts of fat on their body where there is not.

Although gender stereotypes suggest that women are more likely to have this disorder, the gender ratio is fairly equal. Both men and women with BDD commonly see flaws with their facial features, skin, or weight. Patients sometimes seek to improve their appearance by extreme dieting, cosmetic surgery, or excessive amounts of exercise. (more…)

Health Buzz May 25: Skechers Lawsuit, Glow in the Dark 5K, and a Memorial Weekend Feast

Before you start your Memorial festivities, take some healthy news and Memorial dishes from DIR and our friends.

Mike Crooks Joined a Gym and Lost 133 Pounds 

Mike Crooks is a 24-year-old nurse in Florida. Mike had been overweight most of his life, and weighed 377 pounds. He signed up for a membership at a local gym and seven months later Mike dropped down to 204 pounds.

The Glow Run 5K Will Light up the Plains this Summer 

The Glow Run 5K is making its way to the plains. The run will take place at night and runners are encouraged to wear as many glow-in-the-dark items as they want. The event is described as running through a sixty-foot black light tunnel and laser light shows. DIR friends in the Midwest sign up fast, Glow Run 5K will take place in Kansas City, Wichita, and Omaha.

How to Get Your Refund From the $40 Million Skechers Lawsuit 

Looks like Skechers made some false claims about its Shape-Ups. If you purchased Skechers Shape-Ups after August 1, 2008 you may be entitled to a refund from the company. Skechers agreed to pay $40 million to settle the lawsuit. The amount you’ll receive from Skechers depends on the type of shoe and amount of shoes you’ve purchased. (more…)

FDA Requires More Testing of Weight Loss Drugs

An advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration decided that obesity drugs must undergo clinical trials to ensure they do not cause heart attacks. The 17 to 6 vote now requires studies for all obesity drugs even if no apparent cardiovascular risk exist.

The track record of weight loss drugs has not been stellar. Though the new testing requirement will require much more time and money and ultimately impede drug production, the majority felt strongly about their decision.

“Given the checkered history of weight loss drugs, I think it is better to be prudent and err on the side of caution,” Dr. Sanjay Kaul, a cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Those who oppose the vote feel a much needed treatment will now be difficult to administer.

“If the F.D.A. follows through with this vote, you’ve just added another big disincentive for the drug companies to come up with obesity drugs, and we desperately need new drugs,” said Dr. Ed J. Hendricks, an obesity specialist in Sacramento.

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More Stores Stop Selling Ground Beef with Pink Slime

Ground beef that includes what the meat industry calls lean, finely textured beef, or pink slime, has been getting a lot of media coverage lately. Consumers have been avidly asking questions about which grocery stores sell it so that they can avoid it. As consumers continue to voice their concern, grocers are listening.

Safeway, SUPERVALU and Food Lion are the latest grocery stores to make the announcement that they will discontinue carrying ground beef that includes pink slime. Safeway released a statement saying, “While the USDA and food industry experts agree that lean, finely textured ground beef is safe and wholesome, recent news stories have caused considerable consumer concern about this product. Safeway will no longer purchase ground beef containing lean, finely textured beef.”

The list of grocers that are issuing statements regarding their ground beef and whether or not it contains pink slime is growing.

While Safeway is the second largest grocery chain in the country, SUPERVALU is the third largest chain. SUPERVALU controls various grocery stores including Albertson’s, Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Jewel-Osco, Hornbacher’s and others. Some other heavy hitters like Walmart and Sam’s Club have also made recent announcements that they would stop selling beef that includes pink slime. The nation’s largest grocery store chain is Kroger and they currently offer beef options with and without the product.

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Monsanto’s Genetically Modified Corn Crop Approved for Planting by Government

Monsanto, the multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation and the leading producer of engineered seed, just received government permission to test a large scale genetically modified (GMO) crop experiment. The engineered corn seed from Monsanto will be introduced throughout the country from South Dakota to Texas.

The project includes Monsanto testing their man-made corn variant. These crops are expected to thrive in dry and unfavorable conditions. The company feels their product could revitalize a large portion of the agriculture as many are experiencing abnormal climate conditions.

The first round of tests of the biotech crop are being done on farms owned by Monsanto. If the seed proves to be commercially viable it will be made for purchase in 2013.

This government approval marks a first. This is the first time the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services has allowed the testing of a genetically engineered product that has been tailored to weather conditions such as drought.

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Taiwan Trashes US Meat Over Livestock Drug

Ractopamine, ever heard of it? Probably not. However, this feed additive is rather controversial and is causing international waves.

Ractopamine is fed to American livestock in order to promote lean meat. Currently, it is fed to about 60 to 80 percent of the pigs in America and as a result, there have been numerous reports of dead and sickened pigs. No other livestock drug has caused such high numbers of death and illness according to an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Since the drug was introduced, over 218,000 pigs on ractopamine have been reported to show very adverse effects. Since March 2011, the drug has caused the majority of problems in pigs even though other livestock animals are on the drug. Pigs are suffering from hyperactivity, trembling, broken limbs, the inability to walk, and death.  These results were gathered from a FDA report that was released under a Freedom of Information Act request. Even though these disturbing things are happening to the livestock, the FDA says the data can’t determine that the drug caused these effects.

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A Convincing Argument For Fake Chicken

There are many reasons to be a vegetarian. Some do it purely for health, others maintain a meat-free diet because they feel that it protects animals from suffering. Regardless of the reasons, most vegetarians catch a lot of flak for their choices. A recent look into the world of poultry production and the options in a plant-based diet, may have even the most cynical among us ordering up faux chicken for our next meal.

New York Times, Op-Ed columnist Mark Bittman recently took an objective look into the world of fake meat, and poultry production in the U.S. He first looked at the facts about the chicken industry. The stats are a little unsettling. The U.S. raises and kills almost eight billion chickens a year. The growth is so rapid among industry chickens that the Veterinary Record has said that most of the chickens have bone disease and are in chronic pain. For a reflection, the University of Arkansas did a study and reported that if humans grew as fast as industry chickens, they would weigh nearly 350 pounds by age 2.

In addition to the animals being roughly manipulated, Bittman was clear to point out the other effects of raising meat in this manner. Not all are impacted by what some would call cruelty to animals, but the other factors effect many humans. When chickens are raised so quickly, producers are having difficulty dealing with the waste. Manure, waste water, and post-slaughter residue are all in excess and aren’t being disposed of efficiently at all facilities.

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Ag-Gag Bills Will Keep Food Preparation Methods Secret

Pink slime has been making headlines a lot lately. As most consumers are learning the truth about the food they’re putting in their mouths, the government is apparently getting nervous.

If you haven’t read the truth about this product called pink slime that is making up the majority of the meat served in this country, you should really inform yourself.

Microbiologist Carl Custer gives an excellent definition of pink slime. Custer explains how the substance is primarily connective tissue and gristle, the texture is simply manipulated mechanically and the flavor altered chemically to fool you into thinking it’s meat.

“It’s not meat. We call it Soylent Pink,” Custer said, who has worked with the Food Safety Inspection Service for 35 years.

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