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Diet Cola Aging Effects: Making You Fat and Age Faster

Diet cola aging effects counter the fact that they have long been regarded as the dieter’s friend – but one-calorie fizzy drinks may actually be the reason you can’t shift that stubborn spare tyre.

Some health experts now believe the chemicals in the drink could actually be causing your body to lay down fat deposits around your middle – dubbed ‘diet cola belly’.

And that’s not all: some experts also believe diet cola’s mix of carbonated water, colourings and sweeteners such as aspartame and acesulfame K could also speed up the ageing process, and have disastrous health consequences.

Diet cola is NOT going to help you lose weight, say health experts - and it could even cause wrinkles

Diet cola is NOT going to help you lose weight, say health experts – and it could even cause wrinkles

Hoards of nutritionists and scientists now claim diet cola’s image as a ‘healthy’ alternative to the nine-teaspoons-of sugar, regular variety of the fizzy drink is wholly misplaced.

WEIGHT

The fructose, artificial sweeteners, and sugar alcohols (another type of low-calorie sweetener) present in diet colas can all interfere with natural gut bacteria, according to Amanda Payne of Switzerland’s Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health which published a paper in the journal Obesity Reviews.

Diet cola could be causing fat deposits around your middle, say health experts

Diet cola could be causing fat deposits around your middle, say health experts.

This messes up your metabolism and disrupts the body’s way of signaling to you that you’re full and satisfied.

As a consequence, the body pumps out insulin, the hormone that controls sugar levels and fat storage, so that you lay down what Toribio-Mateas calls ‘diet cola belly in the form of more fat around the midriff’ – just where you wanted to shed fat.

In addition to this: ‘The fake sugars in the drink are hundreds of times sweeter than sugar and trick your brain into thinking real sugar is on the way,’ says Toribio-Mateas. ‘When the calories don’t arrive, it triggers a cascading effect that interferes with hunger signals, blood sugar levels and satiety.’

AGEING

Amanda Griggs, director of health and nutrition at the Balance Clinic in London, says: ‘phosphoric acid, the ingredient that gives diet cola its appealing tangy taste and the tingle you get when it is swallowed, can cause a host of problems’.

According to one, study, published in a 2010 issue of the FASEB Journal, it can even accelerate the ageing process.

It found that the excessive phosphate levels found in sodas caused lab rats to die a full five weeks earlier than the rats whose diets had more normal phosphate levels.

Diet cola no healthier than sugary alternatives, say some health experts
The chemicals in diet cola could be responsible for your spare tyre, say some experts

The excessive phosphate levels found in sodas caused lab rats to die a full five weeks earlier than the rats whose diets had more normal phosphate levels

Phosphoric acid has also been linked to lower bone density in some studies, including a discussion in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

In experiments at Harvard University, the mineral was found to make skin and muscles wither and to damage the heart and kidneys over time.

However, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a consumer watchdog group not affiliated with the food industry, only a small fraction of the phosphate in diets comes from additives in soft drinks. Most comes from meat and dairy products.

TEETH

The phosphoric acid in cola drinks erodes away tooth enamel, and the coloring makes the root go dark brown

The phosphoric acid in cola drinks erodes away tooth enamel, and the coloring makes the root go dark brown

Sian Porter, spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association says diet colas may lack sugar, but the acidic nature of artificially sweetened fizzy varieties means they still attack tooth enamel.

‘It’s not just the sugary drinks that are causing teeth problems,’ says Porter. ‘Sugar raises the risk of decay, but diet drinks are equally acidic and can cause erosion in the same way.’

HEALTH

It has also been shown to raise the risk of type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure by some researchers. To add to the dire news for diet cola fans, results of a ten-year study found a link with cardiovascular disease among those who drank it every day; cola drinkers were found to be 43 per cent more likely to suffer a stroke or heart attack during a ten-year period than those who abstained.

Other studies have shown that the phosphorus released from phosphoric acid in just two fizzy drinks a week can cause calcium to be leached from bones, raising the risk of osteoporosis.

Cola (both diet and regular varieties) seems particularly damaging to the skeleton. Typically, a can of diet cola contains 44-62mg of phosphoric acid – more than in many other soft drinks – and researchers at Tufts University in Boston showed that women who regularly drank three or more cans a day had four per cent lower bone mineral density in their hips compared to those who preferred other soft drinks.

As originally published in the Mail Online.

Is Facebook Making Us All Fat?

Two months ago, Facebook hit its one billionth user. Is it coincidence that 1.4 billion adults are considered overweight by the World Health Organization?  Now that roughly 1/6th of the WORLD is eeriely connected through social media, what kind of toll is it taking on the physical and emotional health of our society?

It’s ironic, actually. Many of us venture into this virtual world every day because it gives us a sense of belonging, but new research shows that all this computer time we’re logging is actually making us feel more alienated and self-conscious. An article recently published in Psychology Today says this new fascination with constantly posting photos, videos and webcams is prompting an increase in self awareness, and that’s not great for any of us.

“These objects [photos, videos] cause us to view ourselves as we think others are viewing us.” Instead of living life, we’re becoming our own documentarians, but we’re skewing our own stories. By only posting flattering pictures, some with celebrities or influential people, or from fascinating places that make our “friends” green with envy, it’s only natural to start comparing our lives to society’s new standards, rather than focusing on our own, authentic selves. This is especially true for women, who, according to a new Swedish study, tend to feel less happy and content with their lives after prolonged Facebook usage.

Spending between 3-7 hours a day not only on Facebook, but Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, when we could be working out or interacting with real human beings about the reality of the lives we are living, is a growing problem. A new study of 350 students from the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland found that the more time they spent on Facebook, the less time they spent exercising, with an increasing tendency to opt out of team sports.

A study out of the Michigan Cardiovascular Center (and countless others) goes so far as to blame the growing epidemic of obesity in young people on this new sedentary lifestyle. Duh. As the Internet gets even more mobile, there is a surge in the demand for treadmill desks, designed to get people out of their chairs and moving without missing even a Facebook post. But that still doesn’t do anything to alter the way we look at, or project ourselves. Whether you’re sitting or walking your way into cyber-space on any of the number of growing social media platforms, we’re starting to see that being voyeurs into other people’s more glamorous, fun and exciting lives is actually preventing us from living our own.

So, is it possible to keep your sanity and your Facebook profile? Here are 3 things to remember as you live more and more of your life online.

1. Pretending your life is perfect does not make it perfect. When you change your profile picture to the one that makes you look 15 pounds lighter, it does not make you 15 pounds lighter. Comments about how attractive you are do not make you more attractive. A study by the University of Stamford  found that when teen girls carefully select overly thin images of themselves to post on Facebook (or worse, many are even photoshopping their own pictures), it helps to perpetuate unhealthy and unrealistic appearance goals.

2. A Profile is Never the Whole Truth. College students who scroll through their Facebook feeds often are convinced their friends are leading far better lives than they are. That’s the bottom line from a new study titled “Misery has more company than people think”, which found that most people do not post the real truth about the lives they are living on their news feeds. Facebook has become more of a highlight reel when, in reality, life is more like a series of bloopers we don’t want anyone to know about! Remember that there is always more to the story than a picture from the beach or a check-in at a fancy club. While most of us have at least one over-sharer in our repertoire of “friends”, let’s not forget that these are the folks who are peeking enviously at your life, and not really living their own.

3. Social Media Breaks are Imperative for Good Health. As someone who loves social media and posts daily updates for many of my 20,000+ friends I haven’t yet met, shutting off the computer and getting out in nature helps me see the insanity that has become my busy life. Sometimes, you just need a weekend off from Facebook and Twitter to check in with your true self and stop thinking everyone else has it better than you do. Take Tammi Fuller: She’s an Emmy Award winning TV producer who created Campowerment, a weekend camp for stressed-out power people to “run away from home”, where computers and cellphones are banned and playing outside is required.

“An amazing thing happens when we can totally unplug and talk face to face, and come to realize that no one’s life is any easier than ours” says Fuller. “Most of our ‘campers’ tell us they didn’t think they could live without technology, or leave their families for 3 days, but something very strange happens when they do. As they unwind, they become calmer, more patient, and grateful for the lives they are living, warts and all.” Create your own “social rehab” for 48 hours once a month. Go to the park without sharing pictures of your kids, go out to dinner without snapping an Instagram of your meal. You may just find yourself living in the moment and enjoying every moment of it!

Here’s to a prosperous and fulfilling 2014!!

 

Originally published on Forbes

Are Grocery Store Chains Making You Fat?

With over 20 years of experience as a fitness trainer working with thousands of clients, and educating over 1000 trainers in the Houston area, I came to a simple conclusion that food companies and grocery store chains are one of the main reasons why America is obese and has a population that is over 70% overweight. They are contributing to over 500,000 deaths annually which are directly correlated with obesity and unhealthy lifestyle. I’m not trying to be dramatic, but I cannot help myself but to call this a crime against humanity. In many countries around the world, we accuse governments for killing far fewer people than our own food production and distribution at home.

Grocery stores and food companies are manipulating our foods so that our tasting palettes and our brains become addicted to them. Food designers are encouraged by food companies to produce food with a perfect blend to create a dependence on their product – in simple words, they’re turning us into food junkies! To top it off, grocery stores are encouraging us to buy unhealthy foods by whetting our appetites with samples; a study published in 2008 found that sampling food that tastes good enhances consumption of similar foods and may prompt people to seek other rewarding foods such as chocolate or other junk foods.

Every time I go to the grocery store, I notice something: there seems to be more and more processed foods and less and less natural foods. In 1970, there were about 700 unique food products to over 40,000 today, with processed foods accounting for most of the increase. Another observation I have is that the natural, healthy foods are hidden, unlike the processed, colorful junk food at the front of every aisle. Product placement is big money to grocery stores; studies have shown that unhealthy sweets and snack foods are commonly placed in checkout lines with the hope that they will buy impulsively, when are brains are most susceptible to it. And it works! Analysis shows that the average American woman eats more than 14,300 calories per year as a result of impulse purchases alone, while men consume 28,350 calories per year from impulse purchases. Which brings me to ask: Are grocery stores purposely making us fat? Consider this fact: 80% of all food items sold in grocery stores today did not exist ten years ago. Over the past 10 years, close to 10,000 new items have been introduced into supermarkets, with the majority of these items being packaged junk foods lacking nutrients due to over-processing.

If you do a simple google search for coupons right now, you would most likely see coupons solely for unhealthy, processed junk foods, which have the highest profit margin in stores. In an independent study of 1000 coupons from 6 national grocery chains, analysts found that 25% were for processed snack foods, candies, and desserts, 14% were for prepared meals, 12% were for beverages (half of which were high in sugar), 11% were for cereals, and only 3% offered discounts on fruit, 1% on unprocessed meats and <1% for fruits. John Hopkins School of Public Health founds that store sales and specials were usually directed towards food high in fats, sodium, carbohydrates, or a combination, This research is significant given that food prices are an important driver of what people eat.

Very often, grocery stores donate food to schools and students – and guess what – on multiple occasions, I personally witnessed the junk food they gave kids. But that’s not all – grocery store purposely market junk food to kids by placing them at their eye-level and using fictional media characters, which hold a strong influence on children, on the packaging of junk food. Researchers who examined nutrition labels of child-targeted products available at a U.S. grocer over the course of two years found that only 18% of products met the Institute of Medicine’s standards for nutritional quality of school foods, which is already fairly low.

Now let’s talk about the socio-economic impact of food buying. The location of the store heavily determines the quality of food found within – this applies to the amount of organic and natural food available to consumers. Regardless of the neighborhood, buyers are still paying a pretty penny for unhealthy products that could easily be replaced with more wholesome options – but the truth is, the profit margin on produce is significantly less than that of processed foods, and the grocery stores are more concerned with their bottom line than the health of their consumers.

But I’m not just here to criticize, I truly believe there are easy solutions to these issues so that big grocery store chains can play an important part in making the general population healthier. It would help if grocery stores not only promoted healthy, natural foods with more coupons, but also made these items more visible in store. They should begin showcasing healthier food companies and allow them to be more accessible, in addition to discriminating against foods that are making our children ill longterm. Grocery store chains are powerful companies with many employees, and I think that they should spend some of their resources to educate their employees on healthy lifestyle through seminars and educational materials so they can be enthusiastic about being healthy and more knowledgable for the customer. In my experience, big companies benefit from health challenges for both the employees and the customers – they create synergy between the grocery stores and the clients, making them more loyal to the brand or chain. Socially, these big supermarket chains could donate more to health and fitness non-profit organizations as support to healthy living. Health stores are the future of the 21st century, and the sooner grocery store chains realize this, the sooner they will gain new customers that are health oriented – a population that is growing as we speak. By combining all these basic points, grocery store chains’ net profit will grow in addition to contributing to a healthier and fitter American society today and tomorrow.

Sugar Is Making Us Sick!

Sugar and sweets are delicious indulgences, but sugar is making us sick! Too much of it is bad for us and can cause devastating changes to our body and health. Dr. Robert Lustig has studied childhood obesity for 16 years and cross-analyzed numerous studies. He came to the conclusion that sugar should be thought of as an addiction like tobacco, cocaine or alcohol.

Dr. Robert Lustig is currently a member of a 12-scientist team working on “Sugar Science” at the University of California – San Francisco. This group of scientists hope to showcase reputable studies on added sugars and how they impact health. The group has already reviewed more than 8,000 papers and found evidence to support Dr. Lustig’s assertions. They have linked excess sugar consumption to chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, liver and heart disease.

The average Americans consumes 19.5 teaspoons of added sugar a day. This is significantly higher than what the American Heart Association recommends. They recommend 6 teaspoons for women, 9 teaspoons for men, and only 3 to 6 teaspoons for children.

Yet another reason to stay away from sugar!

Information gathered from FOX News.

The Keys To Making Exercise a Daily Habit

Now that you are well into the our healthy lifestyle, you might be finding that keeping those healthy exercise resolutions are more of a challenge than you initially thought. Busy daily schedules between work, school, errands, taking care of the kids and cooking meals for the family can leave you exhausted at the end of the day and feeling unmotivated to squeeze in a workout. But don’t worry, because not all hope is lost on your health and fitness goals. The keys to making exercise a daily habit are attainable!

By following a few simple guidelines, you can make exercise an easy incorporation into your daily or weekly routine.

  1. Set a realistic goal. If this is your first time to commit to regular exercise, start slow and easy. Rather than commit to five days a week, start with two. If you try for five days a week and find that you cannot make every day, your confidence and determination will start to wane, and you’ll eventually give up on the routine. Instead, start with something you can realistically accomplish. The same principle applies to your fitness and weight loss goals. Set small goals and gradually work your way up to bigger goals once you feel you are ready to step up.
  2. Pick a workout time that works for you. Everyone is different when it comes to exercise abilities and energy levels. If you’re not a morning person, or if you find that your energy is not high in the early hours, a morning workout is not ideal. Instead, hit the gym during your lunch break or in the evenings. Those who hate waking up early or do not feel motivated to exercise first thing in the morning likely won’t keep the routine.
  3. Plan ahead. Pack a gym bag the night before so you already have what you need ready to go the next day. That way, you cannot say, “Oh, I can’t workout today because I forgot my shoes.” Being prepared and ready is a key step to feeling motivated and not having an excuse not to go.
  4. Choose an activity you enjoy. Doing something you like is essential to staying motivated. Those who dislike their workout or feel that they are not getting the results they wanted are more likely to give up early no matter how much they want results.

Studies have shown that three weeks is all it takes to establish a long-term routine. So don’t give up just yet on your new workouts. Keep it up for just a couple more weeks and give your best effort in making exercise a part of your daily lifestyle.

Are Fitness Trackers Making Diet Programs Extinct?

In the past decade fitness trackers have made a monumental impact in the world of health and fitness. In fact, they have been so impactful that fitness trackers and apps — whether they are strapped to your chest, worn as a watch or placed inside your shoe — have now surpassed diet and nutrition companies like Weight Watchers in number of customers and popularity.

Revenue for Weight Watchers fell 10 percent to $327.8 million in the December quarter, declining for the eighth straight period as FitBit, Jawbone and other activity trackers lure dieters away.

Shares in the company, a pioneer in the weight-loss industry, slumped as much as 16 percent in extended trading after the results, on top of a 78 percent decline in the past three years.

This goes to show that Americans are paying more attention to how many calories they’re burning from exercise or everyday activities, causing a significant spike in fitness gadget popularity, with 51.2 million adults in America alone adults using applications to track their health, according to Nielsen.

With the population more digital than ever, free apps are now the go-to source for getting fit and losing weight rather than diet plans that operate on a monthly fee. Weight Watchers’ membership declined 15 percent in the past quarter, to 2.51 million active subscribers.

Information gathered from the Sydney Morning Herald