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FDA Rules Require Calorie Info on Popcorn, Pizza

by Bob Curley on November 26, 2014

popcornNorwichnutsFlikrYou probably suspected that movie popcorn is not a guilt-free snack, but soon the damning evidence — some of it, anyway — will be up there in lights at the snack stand.

NBC News reports that new rules from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will require calorie information to be posted on popcorn, pizza, and salad bars, although no other information — like fat content — will need to be posted.

“Covered establishments will list calorie information for standard menu items on menus and menu boards and a succinct statement about suggested daily caloric intake,” according to the FDA. “Other nutrient information — total calories, calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, fiber, sugars, and protein — will have to be made available in writing on request.”

The FDA said the intent is to help consumers make better dietary choices and prompt food companies to make healthier products. The final rules were released after intensive lobbying by the food industry.

(Photo © Norwichnuts/CC by 2.0)

Obesity Costs $2 Trillion Annually, Report Says

by Bob Curley on November 28, 2014

mckinseyThe worldwide cost of obesity rivals that of smoking and wars, according to a new report from the McKinsey Global Institute.

The Associated Press reported Nov. 20 that the report estimated the cost of obesity at $2 trillion annually, noting that 2.1 billion people — about 30 percent of the population — is overweight or obese.

That could rise to half the population of the planet if current trends continue, experts said.

Smoking costs are estimated at $2.1 trillion, about the same as the cost of armed conflict globally. Obesity comes in right after that and ahead of the estimated cost of alcoholism, $1.4 trillion.

Tea May Protect Against Ovarian Cancer

by Bob Curley on November 28, 2014

https://www.flickr.com/photos/modomatic/2724923829/in/photolist-ea4sG3-762fRH-fHVnbb-7dzbwo-ms39M-8eDdn8-fJU3Xj-7KaFcC-59MWVk-jEumfX-5yMGES-5KXXeS-646udh-4ENDQV-2dP3L-6QWVET-7dweuQ-a8gS5k-5HehY-9mwStV-2CEho8-oZkaiw-8fAiiy-4VgrVP-4ET6RS-6afKj3-4HYBJr-8mbY4-4Eddyn-dPntXF-aodfYt-aruoRt-8Ayed2-7TXaQY-dmWPr1-5aEWQn-jyLxPw-iRt4Bu-7vRpFh-4FjjTo-mf1P3-7iYUog-5WkKwk-8bzEHn-fEc4r1-hWUtN-shKZo-du6ATR-xCywX-duFF7LWomen who regularly drink black tea enjoyed a 31-percent reduction in risk for deadly endothelial ovarian cancer, Prevention reported Nov. 21.

Researchers said the protective effects of tea can be traced to its high levels of antioxidant flavonoids. The findings were based on a study of 170,000 women over more than three decades.

Apples, grapes, blueberries, red wine, dark chocolate, citrus fruits, and onions are other foods rich in flavonoids.

The research was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

(Photo © Mo Riza via Flickr)

Hand Dryers May Spread Germs, Study Says

by Bob Curley on November 28, 2014

https://www.flickr.com/photos/icanchangethisright/2533512654/in/photolist-4RSV3E-4LhW9f-7d7htP-4h2L29-8jUL8G-7Z6b4Q-5NRFZs-anfgRY-68bBNp-9FgUmx-7yEtoo-5Y32gw-4XKt7K-h3NrwA-5yT1Xp-qN35R-7koSU3-6w9uzm-6Cc7qH-6nQThi---p37FUh-7wxWg9-ck78rS-7RTXoe-6zwHGJ-auWGgb-65zvbN-aEsUhx-9QgBkg-dpBLWP-5acSkW-5SzGLP-2Lunw-4z3CEG-iKrUr5-dyq9ip-71fLEj-8SNJoY-71bLPi-g4P8w-hd7pM-7eQ92y-9qG8Rx-5mbCwy-7oRoEC-4dgMja-6g8gz9-kg8yPqThe next time you’re in a public restroom, you may want to consider using paper towels to dry your hands rather than a powered hand-dryer.

Newser reported Nov. 21 that researchers who airborne measured germ levels in bathrooms found levels 27 times higher around jet-air dryers than in the air near paper-towel dispensers, and 4.5 times higher among the older, warm-air type dryers. Bacteria tend to linger in the air around such devices, as well.

“Next time you dry your hands in a public toilet using an electric hand dryer … you may be splattered with bugs from other people’s hands,” researchers said.

Dyson, which manufactures jet-drying devices, said the study was flawed and funded by makers of paper towels.

The research was published in the Journal of Hospital Infection.

(Photo © Bradley Gordon via Flickr)

Snow Shoveling Safety Tips

by Bob Curley on November 28, 2014

https://www.flickr.com/photos/oakleyoriginals/5434719323/in/photolist-9hfmHi-99Nfo8-7CbnYQ-4b9oWG-dJYw1E-7B7kA7-7piUhg-7p9Gx2-7B7hSd-9fry2n-dX2K9A-jMHtFQ-7B4ajm-9REVT4-9REVT6-7iw4Ki-5LgbFU-9fb2Qq-942TAx-k3K7wR-5GYq1c-7p6av6-91cSc-dTx9Cn-k3yG92-iZEQwQ-9fZvvb-4s6RDq-7B52ZF-9fWoVn-9fZvbb-9faFHH-Br8G4-ieK9Bx-akgbVH-ysXFQ-7p9uoX-7Bkwpk-9dEZ6k-4qt2u6-99a2zT-9yJt82-93hnn-dUfoec-dUm1mh-dUm14A-dUfoNP-dUkZQ5-mof9nB-dUkZUbHaving a heart attack while shoveling snow is common enough to be a stereotype; Newser reported Nov. 20 on some some ways to prevent a winter-cleanup tragedy, including:

  • Breathe while you shovel.
  • Push the snow, don’t lift it.
  • Dress warmly.
  • Take regular breaks.
  • Avoid shoveling between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., when hormone levels make heart attacks more likely.
  • Don’t eat a big meal right before or after shoveling.
  • Don’t drink alcohol.
  • Use a smaller shovel for less strain.
  • If you are over 55, habitually sedentary, smoke, or have coronary artery disease, consider paying someone else to do the shoveling.

(Photo © Oakley Originals via Flickr)


Chinese Crackdown on Smoking

by Bob Curley on November 26, 2014

https://www.flickr.com/photos/kouchi/2506410025/in/photolist-4Pu1nX-8fRPET-9qZTkW-3LC1sU-8YD2oD-8noEs-ayxwPn-79vosf-6Nvytx-3SwfNh-4xaMp1-3ZZKpW-7hfntU-7hfnF7-dN8ud4-ihDSwS-iYrqbE-cCsUUS-daFUfG-dxA1Qg-j4snnR-56imjE-8J9eS8-7Yv32W-4U6BD7-5Ks3r-9UTpAh-9UQwsc-4bt7S3-fWC5Nx-5j8AkU-6rDAC-dAVXWt-4NrYoh-7eT945-7hthCC-7htisb-7hthpu-8r2PgP-bK5nQB-7TTHsU-dcc24c-pwyVm2-7BV7ZH-oenSf2-efBPN5-5V791m-daGTD5-8jKsw7-6bHm4China, which has more smokers than any other country on earth, may finally be taking some serious steps to counter the deadly addiction.

Reuters reported Nov. 25 that the Chinese government is considering new laws to ban indoor smoking, limit outdoor smoking, and prohibit tobacco advertising. Smoking scenes on TV and in movies also would be restricted.

About 300 million Chinese citizens smoke, and the government collects $310 billion in taxes from the tobacco industry each year. The industry has lobbied heavily against restrictions on tobacco sales and use.

(Photo © Ernie/CC by 2.0)

Warning Signs of Overwork

Chances are your boss won’t tell you when you’re working too much, and often it’s hard to make the diagnosis for yourself, too. Men’s Health reported Nov. 23 on five signs that you may be overworked, including: You feel guilty while engaging in non-work activities. You are being unproductive at work. You are starting to […]

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Eating Yogurt May Protect Against Diabetes

Eating yogurt can reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes by 18 percent — a benefit not associated with consumption of other dairy products — the New York Times reported Nov. 24. Researchers who studied about 200,000 men and women ages 25 to 75 for up to 30 years found that those who ate 12 ounces of […]

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How to Find Healthier Fast Food

Going out for fast food doesn’t have to mean indulging in gut-busting, unhealthy food. Live Science reported Nov. 20 that using publicly available nutrition information, the website Grellin ranked the restaurants that have the highest proportion of healthy offerings. The top three restaurants on the list all had menus where more than half of items […]

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Be Careful With You Use of Nutmeg

Nutmeg is a favorite cold-weather and holiday spice, but overuse can cause some significant health problems, the New York Times reported Nov. 25. The positive benefits of nutmeg (besides its flavor) include use to fight infections. But the spice has long been used to induce abortions, and eating as little as two tablespoons can have […]

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