Winter Is Dangerous For Your Heart

It isn't too surprising that death rates rise during the winter in frigid climates. But who would expect the same increase in mortality during Los Angeles winters? New research shows that winter, no matter how balmy, is a dangerous time for your heart.

The Dangers of Exercise

Most of us wish that we exercised more. If you’re like me, your wishing doesn't make it happen, though. Now there is new research that points out that too much exercise can be as dangerous as too little. How can the right balance be struck?

Chocolate Cures the Chronic Cough

More great news from the forefront of medicine: chocolate is a wonderful cough suppressant. Move over, yucky cough syrup that makes my tongue feel like it is varnished, here comes some effective relief! Always knew that getting my own Godiva club card would turn out to be a healthy move!

Drink Coffee and Cut Oral Cancer Risk by Half

Regular readers of this blog will know that we are fans of coffee. Daily, we rededicate ourselves to the enjoyment of this nectar. Not that we need it, but you might be interested to know that yet another research study has found positive reasons to enjoy coffee. The latest benefit: it cuts your risk of developing oral cancer by nearly half!

The Oatmeal Diet

Oatmeal is a staple for many of us. It makes cold winter mornings easier to take. Those empty Quaker Oats boxes are used by children everywhere to prepare for their future career as a rock star drummer. Plus, oatmeal makes a great cookie, if blended with the proper amount of raisins and cinnamon. But have you considered oatmeal as a diet? Here’s how it works.

Dr. Oz Speaks Out on Cholesterol

The good doctor has had it with misunderstandings about cholesterol and cholesterol treatment. That is why he is promoting a new book by doctors Bowden and Sinatra called The Great Cholesterol Myth. He has selected a few of the most egregious misunderstandings for particular scorn.

The Tony Horton 3 Step Diet

Tony Horton is the fitness guru who invented the amazingly successful P90X workout. Now the "personal trainer to the stars" has released a diet plan for the rest of us. Best feature? The diet has cheating built right into it!

Climate Change Threatens Coffee Production

News that brings terror to early risers and Seattle economists alike, climate change may be on the verge of eliminating the primary source of a great cup of coffee. Coffee is wonderful! It is a diet aid, a cancer preventer and a longevity enhancer. Oh, yeah, it really tastes good, too, as it restores the will to live every morning. But how is climate change impacting my daily cup of joe?

How To Win The Lottery

Recently, the Powerball jackpot broke through the half-billion dollar mark. This seems to be a trigger point for many “fair weather” lottery players. But how can you be assured of winning? At first glance, the odds do seem to be stacked against you. Any math major can tell you that your chances of winning are about 175 million to one. Clearly this is not the way to look at the situation, is it?

The Raspberry Diet in the News

After Dr. Oz called raspberry ketones a miracle fat burner, bottles of the supplement have been flying off the shelves. As we previously reported, raspberry ketones have been linked with weight loss in laboratory mice. The effect on humans is not so certain.

The Virgin Diet

First off, the virgin diet is named after its creator, J J Virgin, not some chastity vow that leads to weight loss. A self-titled fitness and nutrition expert, Dr. Virgin believes that most diets are doomed and that our bodies have very individual reactions to everyday foods. Only by discovering, through trial and error, the foods that are right for our body can we achieve true health and achieve our perfect body weight.

Green Tea – Cancer Fighter

Green tea gets a lot of positive press. It is a delicious beverage, a fad diet and a staple in many households. A recent research study has shown that women who drink green tea have a measurably lower risk of cancer. What’s not to like about that?

The Science of Black Friday

The huge sales on the day after Thanksgiving are a tradition that seems to overshadow the holiday itself for many people. Staying up all night, standing in lines, fighting through throngs of crazed shoppers; these are all intrinsic parts of the Black Friday experience. Why do we put ourselves through this torture? Scientists may have some answers.

The Hormone Diet

Dr. Oz is at it again. He recently hosted Dr. Natasha Turner, who discussed the impact of hormones on belly fat. Dr. Turner has written several books on the subject, and she shared some of her insights on how adjusting our hormone levels can safely and easily melt away that nasty belly fat.

Dr. Oz 3-Day Detox Cleanse

We are in a constant hurry. We want instant rice, 7 minute abs and overnight success. It is no wonder that we crave quick-hitting solutions to our weight issues.  Dr. Oz has a new 3 day detox, or cleanse, that promises to get us on the path to losing that spare tire around our middle.

Praise for Diet Soda

It is rare to find anyone in the health community saying something nice about soda. Even diet soda has a bad reputation with the health-conscious. But given the massive amount of soda consumed every year, doesn't it make sense to encourage people to drink diet soda?

This Is Your Brain Multitasking

Do you think you study better when music is playing? Are you a great multi-tasker? Or do you shut out all external distractions and focus in on the matter at hand, ignoring everything around you? New research on brain activity and our response to distractions might surprise you.

Multivitamins and Cancer

A previous article discussed the surprising research that tied supplement use to increased mortality in older women. Science rarely follows a straight line, so it shouldn't be too surprising the new research shows that multivitamins may help to prevent cancer in men. Here are the details.

Psychopaths and CEOs

Many times a business leader is said to have a “killer instinct.” But does he really? Does climbing to the top of that slippery pole really take ruthlessness and a cold-blooded urge to win? After generations of muttering and whispers, some scientific research has shown that you don’t need to be Jack the Ripper to run a billion-dollar enterprise, but you will share much of his personality.

10 Fat Fighting Foods

We usually think of food as causing fat. But did you know that some foods can fight fat? It is true; some foods can actually help you lose weight and burn through fat, just by eating them. Who knew? Here are ten of the best fat fighting foods.

The Bulletproof Diet

It isn’t fair to judge a diet by its marketing. It is even more unfair to judge a diet by the graphics used on promotion web sites. But the Bulletproof Diet sets a new standard for both of these measures. The marketing and graphics have the delicacy of a sledge hammer. Is there anything behind the hype?

Is Gluten Free the Latest Fad?

The phrase “Gluten Free” seems to be popping up everywhere. Many supermarkets have entire isles dedicated to gluten free foods. Before long, someone will be marketing gluten free water. What is this all about, and why should we care?

Chances are, you’ve never actually seen gluten, but you eat it every day. Gluten is a protein that is in wheat, rye, barley, oats and hops. It is the sticky bit that makes bread hold together. It gives pasta that silky smoothness. So what’s not to like?

The Acid Reflux Diet

Sour stomach? Eat something that didn’t agree with you? Really yearning for some Tums? These symptoms could be clues that you are suffering from acid reflux. At best, acid reflux can take the joy out of a good meal. At worst, it can deliver all the pain and panic of a heart attack. What can be done to minimize this scourge of modern life?

The Belly Melt Diet

There is a time for everything, and everything in its time. This old chestnut is making the rounds again, this time as the basis for a new diet. The Belly Melt Diet promised quick weight loss without starvation, just by sensing and resetting our internal rhythms.  Claims like “Lose 19 pounds in only 35 days” are being tossed about. Could our body clock be the secret to a flat belly?

The Fresh Diet

Many people eat poorly because they don’t have time to cook. Others say that they don’t know how. Fast food is their easy alternative, but that leads to poor health and weight gain. What can we do? The people at The Fresh Diet have one answer: delicious food delivered to your door that can help you lose weight! What’s not to like about that?

The Amino Diet

Amino acids are the building blocks of our bodies. Twenty (or so) amino acids come together to create the proteins that form our tissues, muscles, hair and skin.. Logically, proteins that we eat are digested and reduced to their amino acid components. Makes sense, right? So it isn’t too surprising that someone has created a diet named after these hard working molecules: the amino diet.

Is Organic Food More Nutritious?

Organic foods are grown without artificial chemicals. They are not treated with synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Since organic farmers do not use chemicals on their crops, the water that runs off their fields is also free of artificial pollutants. This is all good! But are organic foods necessarily better for you than foods grown with synthetic chemicals? Possibly not, it turns out.

Kiddy Crossfit?

Crossfit training is a nationwide success. Hundreds of gyms and thousands of personal trainers are focused on delivering this unique style of circuit training to people interested in getting in shape and losing weight. Can you guess their newest market? Crossfit for children!

The Obesity Paradox

For more than a decade, medical researchers have been quietly trying to unravel a mystery. Contrary to common belief, being overweight can actually increase your chances of surviving many diseases. A recent study based in Sweden further indicates that overweight people actually live longer when confronting coronary issues. Why are they outliving their skinny brethren?

The Brain Diet

Diets are usually aimed at our midriff. A recent episode of the Dr. Oz show revealed a new diet that is aimed at our head. The good doctor featured a guest, Dr. Majid Fotuhi, who discussed a Brain Diet. This diet is all about avoiding Alzheimer’s and keeping your memory sharp. Oh, and the diet is good for the rest of your body, too!

Better Relationships Without Your Cell Phone

Today’s “always connected” lifestyle makes it easy to keep in touch with everyone in your circle of friends. But did you know that it is damaging relationships at the same time? New research indicates that just having a cell phone near you is bad for your one-on-one relationships.

The Green Coffee Bean Extract Diet

Nearly everyone enjoys a good cup of coffee, so coffee beans don’t need a lot more support in the marketplace. A cup of coffee before a workout has long been known to  increase your calorie burn. Exciting new research indicates that the humble coffee bean may directly help with weight loss, too. No workout required!

Green coffee beans aren’t green at all; they are red. Only the tiny seeds inside the bean are green. The green label refers to their unroasted state, not their color. Even so, web sites have sprung up with beautiful pictures of green coffee beans, so keep that in mind when evaluating the credibility of the site before purchasing their products.

Work Out Less To Lose More Weight

Losing weight is simple, right? You eat fewer calories than you burn so that your body converts excess fat into energy. Voila! You lose weight. So obviously, working out longer must mean that you lose more weight. Oh, yeah, about that. It may not necessarily be true!

The Wheat Belly Diet

Think all carbs are the same? Not so, says Dr. William Davis. Dr. Davis believes that wheat, in particular, is responsible for obesity, digestive disorders and auto-immune diseases. What could be wrong with our amber waves of grain?

Kim Lyons’ Ultimate 10-Day Plan to Trim Fat

If you have watched the TV show The Biggest Loser, you already know Kim Lyons. She is a fitness guru and author of numerous books and DVDs on diet and exercise. Her latest plan has four steps to better health in only ten days.

Kim Lyons believes that weight loss is a mental as well as physical challenge. Most diets fail because people don’t believe that they can successfully lose weight and find reasons to quit. She counters that behavior by instituting small, step-by-step changes to daily life. Before you  know it, you’re losing weight!

Are Antibiotics Making Us Fat?

We take antibiotics to treat bacteriological problems of all types. It may be surprising to learn that ranchers use antibiotics to stimulate rapid growth in farm animals. Could antibiotics be stimulating unwanted growth in our bodies too?

The Miley Cyrus Workout

Transitioning from a teen to an adult is not easy for anyone. Add the pressures of being constantly in the public eye, and that transition becomes nearly overwhelming. Miley Cyrus is no stranger to paparazzi flashbulbs and constant attacks on her body image. How does she cope? With a personal trainer and a serious dedication to keeping in shape.

Dying To Try That Supplement?

Everyone would like to find an easy cure. Especially if it didn't require a trip to the doctor. The Internet has opened a vast 24-hour pharmacy that offers a pill for every ill; cheap, anonymous and without the need for those pesky prescriptions. Too good to be true? Maybe so.

Can You Be Too Thin With Diabetes?

Most of us associate type II diabetes with obesity.  That’s not surprising, given that 85% of people with type II diabetes are overweight. Surprisingly, though, being thin with diabetes is far more dangerous than being fat.

The Dr. Oz Ultimate Diet

The always-popular Dr. Oz has endorsed a diet that can “reboot” your body and put you on the path to better health. With the “Dr. Oz’s Ultimate Diet” you change far more than your meal plan. Here is what you need to know.

The Hunter Farmer Diet Versus The Digest Diet

Two of the most popular diets in mainstream America today are the Hunter Farmer diet and the Digest diet. These two diets have more differences than similarities. What drives their popularity?

Sleeping Your Way To A Longer Life

Ask anyone who has lived a long life about their secret, and you are sure to get an interesting story. The answers can cover a broad range, from “drink a scotch every day” to “sleep with a silver dollar under your pillow.” Finally, someone has tallied up these secrets to a long life and reported on some common factors.

The medical insurance provider UnitedHealthcare interviewed 100 people who were at least 100 years old. They asked a wide range of questions, trying to find common themes among their answers. Here are a few tips for making it to your golden years.

First, get more sleep. Nearly three quarters of the centenarians said that they regularly got eight hours or more of sack time. This was incredibly consistent, yet our modern life makes that ideal pretty hard to achieve. In fact, less than half of working age adults get eight hours of sleep on any sort of a regular basis.

The second theme was also expected yet equally challenging: eat a good diet. 80% of the golden-agers reported that they ate a balanced diet. That is a full dozen percentage points better than the working population.

The third key to a longer life? Staying connected. Nearly 90% of the centenarians said that they were in touch with friends and family every day. Two thirds pray or meditate daily and half exercise daily. That is a lot of interaction and stimulation, with time reserved for reflection and introspection.

It seems that treating your body like a fine automobile may be the secret to achieving high mileage. OK, sorry, that wasn’t very good. But taking time for rest, eating the right food, and keeping in touch with family, friends and our spiritual life all seem to come together to yield a long and happy life. Sounds like a pretty reasonable recipe!

Think Skinny Is Healthier? Maybe Not!

It seems that we are bombarded by exhortations to lose weight. Everything will be better if we can just lose some weight. Surprise! It turns out that being too skinny is far more unhealthy than being to fat.

A recent medical study, published in the American Board of Family Medicine, looked at over 50,000 adult Americans and their health over a period of six years. The research correlated each person’s Body Mass Index (BMI) with their likelihood of death. Adjustments were made for health factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes as well as smoking and socioeconomic factors.

The results of the study were surprising. People with BMIs below 20, considered to be “underweight” were the most likely to die. That's right: being too thin increases your risk of death. Their mortality rate was about double that of obese (BMIs over 35)  or overweight people (BMIs between 30 and 35) and 2.5 times that of people with “normal” BMIs of 25-30.

This is not an endorsement for overeating. Diabetes (type II) and high blood pressure can be brought on by being overweight. These diseases can shorten your life, but this study adjusted out their influence.

Other influences on mortality were noted. Not too surprisingly, it is healthier to be wealthy than poor. Wealthy people had a 30% lower mortality than poor people. 

People with public health insurance had higher mortality rates than people with private insurance, and even died more often than people with no insurance at all. The Midwest was the healthiest region in which to live and college graduates had 35% lower mortality than high school drop-outs.

What can be made of all of these statistics? Ideally you should become a college-educated, wealthy person of average or somewhat higher-than-average weight living in Iowa. Don’t smoke, watch your hypertension and blood sugar and have lots of friends. With this formula, science predicts a long and happy life!

The Military Diet

The Military Diet, sometimes called the 3 Day Diet, is a quick way to lose weight. Proponents claim that you can lose 10 pounds in only three days. The actual connection between this diet and any branch of the military is a bit sketchy, but hey, who doesn’t want to look like a Marine recruiting poster?

The military diet is a very low calorie plan. Too low, in the eyes of the government, in fact. Over the course of three days, you will eat about 2,800 calories. Safe dieting guidelines typically suggest eating at least 1,200 calories a day, so this plan falls short. This is definitely not an eating plan for the long term.

This is also a very prescriptive diet. You are told to eat very specific foods in very specific quantities.  Some people believe that these specific food combinations trigger chemical reactions in our bodies that help with weight loss. There is no science to support that hypothesis, though.

For day one, you get to eat a whopping 870 calories. For breakfast you get coffee or tea (unsweetened or sweetened with zero-calorie sweetener), half of a grapefruit (people taking blood pressure medication: beware!), and a slice of toast with peanut butter (1 tbsp). Boom! 220 calories or so, and your day has begun.

For lunch you get half a cup of tuna (or alternative low-fat protein less than 100 calories), another slice of toast (but no peanut butter this time) and coffee or tea again. This sumptuous meal weighs in at about 180 calories.

Brace yourself, because for dinner you are allowed 470 calories! These calories come from your choice of lean meat (as long as it’s under 100 calories), a cup of green beans, a cup of carrots, a cup of vanilla ice cream (finally something I can get behind!), an apple and the coffee or tea that we’ve seen all day. Congratulations, you’ve made it through day one. Day two should be easier.

The second day of the military diet balloons our intake to 1,150 calories! For breakfast you get one egg (any style, just watch the preparation to avoid any added fat), a slice of dry toast, a banana and that wonderful cup of coffee or tea. Nearly 50 calories more than yesterday’s breakfast. Feeling full?

For lunch you will eat a cup of low-fat cottage cheese, five saltines and a cup of coffee. Surprisingly, this is nearly 100 calories more than day one’s lunch, so you should really celebrate that cottage cheese!

Dinner features to hot dogs (do the military still love their hot dogs?), a half cup of carrots, a cup of broccoli, a banana, a half cup of vanilla ice cream (thank you!) and coffee or tea. This meal is a massive 150 calorie jump over yesterday’s dinner intake. Better let out your belt.

Day three is the hardest, with only 860 calories all day. The end is in sight though, so stay strong! For breakfast you get five crackers, a slice of cheddar cheese, a small apple (who buys small apples?) and a cup of coffee or tea. Tough? Yes, but just wait for lunch.

For lunch you will eat one hard boiled egg (which actually requires more calories to digest than it delivers), a slice of dry toast and coffee or tea. Take your time eating this meal. It claims to deliver 160 calories, but it won’t feel like it.

For dinner you get another cup of tuna or equivalent lean protean, a cup of carrots, a cup of cauliflower, a cup of melon, and a blessed half cup of vanilla ice cream. Plus, of course, your coffee or tea.  This is about the same calorie load as day one’s dinner, but by now you are biting your fingernails for nourishment, so who’s counting calories?

If your will power (or your diet buddy) will support you through this three day diet, you will lose weight. The military diet is so low calories; there is no doubt that pounds will be shed. Staying on the military diet for more than three days is not safe. After the rigors of following this diet, the next most difficult task will be keeping the weight off. That is the central flaw in the military diet (beyond the unsafe calorie restriction, that is), you have not learned any new skills for long-term healthy eating. You will probably snap back to your old eating habits and the weight will come back.

The military diet might work in some situation where you need to lose weight quickly for a special event. For most of us, though, there are many healthier options. Check out the Diet Picker at PickMyDiet to find the best diets for you and your lifestyle. The military diet is unlikely to be the best one for you.