Despite ‘Healthier’ Options, Fast Food Is Still High in Calories

A trip to your local drive-through may present you with more options than you would have had a decade ago. Salads, oatmeal, fruit smoothies – at a glance it’s easy to think that fast food restaurants have upgraded their typical fries and burger fare. However, a closer examination reveals that despite the explosion of ‘healthy’ options, fast food still will not do your waistline any favors.

Katherine W. Bauer of the Temple University Department of Public Health and Center for Obesity Research and Education led a study examining the calorie counts of offerings at eight popular fast food chains. The menu selections and average calorie counts of the last 14 years were tabulated and compared.

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Knowing the Difference Between Good and Bad Cholesterol

The word cholesterol is associated with mostly bad connotations, but what not everyone knows is that there are both good and bad types of cholesterol and getting the balance right is crucial to our well-being.

Good cholesterol, known also as HDL or “High-Density Lipo Protein”, is used by the body in order to clear other cholesterol and arterial plaques and carry them away from the major organs.

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Is Bradycardia Unhealthy?

Bradycardia is a condition where the heart beats slower than normal. This reduction in the heartbeat can lead to a number of health problems and most of them are related to supply less oxygen-rich blood to the various parts of the body. There are a number of reasons that can cause bradycardia and most of these reasons can be corrected without the help of surgery. The symptoms of bradycardia are related to the lack of oxygen.

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A Drug for What May Halt or Reverse Alzheimer’s Disease?

I should state at the outset that the research I’m reporting on was done on mice. Thus, it is preliminary, and no one who is concerned about Alzheimer’s should rush to the pharmacy to stock up on a drug called ustekinumab (marketed as Stelara), even though you would find it there. The authors of the study specifically caution against this, and against making too much of their findings until they are replicated on human subjects.

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Cure for HIV

HIV, or ‘human immunodeficiency virus’, is a serious virus that is most known for its role in causing AIDS – a condition that causes the progressive failure of the immune system and that leads to potentially threatening infections and cancers to occur. Often HIV and AIDS are used interchangeably for this reason, though technically the two are very different conditions. HIV is a very serious condition that is caused by blood transfusions, breast milk, and the exchange of sexual fluids where it is present as a free virus and a virus within infected immune cells.

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How to Have a Successful Family Mealtime?

Yeah, eating together. You picture a perfectly arranged table, delicious food, twinkling candles, and a warm glow of the room. Then finally reality strikes! You have one or two young children and a family meal is sometimes a stressful event. You need to juggle the desires and nutritional needs of everyone in the family and if you have children, you need to take into consideration about things that are appropriate for them. On the other hand, you don’t want to prepare too many meals, which can be both stressful and exhausting!

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Lower Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes (previously known as non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset diabetes) is a disorder that affects over 20 million people in the US. It is a chronic condition in which your body doesn’t produce enough insulin to metabolize sugar (glucose), and thus maintain normal glucose levels in the blood. It can be a precursor to Type 1 diabetes, and left untreated can be life threatening. Possibly the most dangerous aspect of the disease is that many people don’t know that they have it, and remain undiagnosed.

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The Top Health Benefits of Walking

Sometimes the best ways to improve your health and fitness are not the most intense or the most tiring workouts. Often in fact, these intensive forms of training can go overboard and end up causing damage if you’re someone with health problems or facing advanced years. Then there’s the fact that intensive exercise requires a lot of time and energy which we don’t always have available to us. Sometimes ‘little and often’ is better and certainly less taxing.

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Breast Cancer – The Best Way to Survive

To hear the diagnosis that you have breast cancer, or that someone you love has breast cancer, it can be devastating. It may have taken you by surprise, it may have been a suspicion or a possibility for some time. Either way, surviving cancer may seem like an impossible goal, and it can take a while for everything to sink in, and to come to terms with the diagnosis and plan the future treatment.

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How to Avoid Genetically Modified Foods

Although upwards of 80 percent of the food on US supermarket shelves contains some genetically modified organism (GMO), it is not likely that the consumer is aware of it. The biotechnology and chemical companies that engineer GM crops and the pesticides used to protect them, such as Monsanto and DuPont, want to be sure that you remain unaware of which products your local supermarket offers contain genetically modified foods.

These companies spent millions on a campaign to defeat a recent California proposition that would have required products containing GM ingredients to state so on the label. They used scaremongering tactics to convince the public that food prices would skyrocket due to the new labeling laws, and apparently did a good job of it. People voted against the proposition, apparently preferring to be part of a huge public health experiment to being informed consumers. The processed food industry was thrilled with the result, as they use a considerable amount of GM ingredients in their products and are aware that consumers would likely buy products from their organic competitors if they were aware of the GMO content.

Why Not Consume GMOs?

Based on a number of animal studies that showed fertility problems and changes to gut bacteria, The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) felt the need to issue an advisory to doctors, suggesting they “educate their patients, the medical community, and the public to avoid GM (genetically modified) foods when possible and provide educational materials concerning the dangers of genetically modified foods.” The Food and Drug Administration has thus far refused to require any type of labeling on genetically engineered foods, saying they are “substantially equivalent” to conventional crops.

What You Can Do

Despite the lack of labeling on GMO products, there are some things to be aware of that can help to reduce your likelihood of consuming foods that contain GMOs:

  • Make sure the label states that it is “100% organic”– Both U.S. and Canadian law requires that if a label states that the product is “100% organic,” it may not contain any genetically modified ingredient. This includes meat from animals that have eaten genetically modified feed. Keep in mind, however, that if the label states it is simply “organic” (not “100%”) it may still contain as much as 30% GMO ingredients.
  • Buy food with labels that specify the product is “non-GM” or “GMO-free”– Although it is still rare to find labels that state this, as the support for labeling increases, you will probably see it more often as manufacturers realize that informing consumers that their food is free of GMOs can give them an edge on the market.
  • Be aware of what the numbers on the stickers found on produce indicate:
  • Conventionally grown food is indicated by a 4-digit number.
  • Genetically modified food consists of a number with 5 digits that begins with an 8.
  • Organic food is indicated by a 5-digit number that begins with a 9.
  • Stay away from aspartame– NutraSweet® and Equal® are examples of artificial sweeteners that use aspartame, which is made from genetically modified microorganisms.
  • Discover the foods and products that most commonly result from genetic engineering.For example:

Soybeans – In addition to the popular tofu, soy milk, and edamame, products such as soy flour, soy protein, soy lecithin and isoflavones may be a result of genetic engineering unless they carry an organic label.

Corn – This is a product that is nearly impossible to avoid, as it is used in a staggering variety of processed foods, particularly those that use high fructose corn syrup. If a product has any type of corn in it, you may want to think twice about buying it unless it has been labeled as 100% organic. You are currently safe eating popcorn, however, as there is no genetically modified popcorn on the market at the moment. If you want that buttery taste, add some real melted butter yourself, as artificial “butter flavor” is usually a product of genetic engineering.

Canola (Rapeseed) – If you live outside the EU (which has strict restrictions on GM products), 95% of the canola oil sold is derived from genetically modified rapeseed. Instead, choose sunflower oil or grapeseed oil, which are unlikely to come from GM crops.

Dairy – Buy organic dairy products or those labeled as rBGH- or rBST-free. Conventionally raised dairy cows are routinely injected with these hormones of genetic engineering so as to boost milk production. They are also likely to eat genetically modified feed.

article written by Laurel Avery

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