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Skip breakfast, lose weight? Not so fast
July 25th, 2013
09:36 AM ET

Skip breakfast, lose weight? Not so fast

Skipping breakfast doesn’t mean you’ll consume more calories later in the day, according to a new report from Cornell University.

Researchers split 400 college-age students into two groups; they fed one group breakfast and the other no breakfast. They then tracked their eating habits throughout the day and measured the amount of calories they were consuming.

While the non-breakfast eating group reported feeling hungry by lunchtime, they didn’t consume larger lunches compared to the group who had eaten breakfast. In fact, the breakfast skippers had consumed roughly 400 fewer calories total at the end of the day.

“The problem in our culture is that we consume too many calories, and we have to look around at ways to help us consume less,” says David Levitsky, study author and professor of nutritional sciences and of psychology at Cornell.

“And we found that if you are trying to lose weight, then skipping breakfast isn’t necessarily the worst thing for you to do.”
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You're eating more calories than you think
May 23rd, 2013
06:31 PM ET

You're eating more calories than you think

Calorie counting has long been touted as an effective tool for losing pounds or maintaining a healthy weight. But new research published in the British Medical Journal shows many of us are underestimating the calories we're eating, especially when we visit fast food restaurants.

The study

Researchers interviewed more than 1,800 adults, 1,100 adolescents and 330 children at several fast food chains in New England. The interviews were done at McDonald's, Burger King, Subway, KFC, Dunkin' Donuts and Wendy's around dinnertime and lunchtime.

Study participants were asked to estimate their meal's calorie count. Researchers then collected the bill to later tally the correct amount of calories using nutrition info posted on the chain's website. FULL POST


Task force: Evidence for Vitamin D, calcium supplements lacking
The task force found evidence that Vitamin D and calcium supplements increase the risk of developing kidney stones.
February 26th, 2013
10:49 AM ET

Task force: Evidence for Vitamin D, calcium supplements lacking

You’ve seen it added to cereal boxes, gallons of milk and bottles of orange juice. Experts tout its benefits – from strong bones to a strong immune system – and warn of the dangers of Vitamin D deficiency.

The public relations push is working; between 2002 and 2011, sales of vitamin D supplements increased from $42 million to $605 million, according to the Nutrition Business Journal.

New recommendations from the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force could bump those sales even higher, or - if critics are right - confuse consumers as they head down the pharmacy aisle.

After completing a review of existing research, the USPSTF, an independent panel of doctors and experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine, is advising against taking moderate amounts of Vitamin D and calcium supplements because there is not enough evidence to prove the supplements reduce the risk of bone fractures.
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We're eating less fast food - but not by much
February 21st, 2013
12:01 AM ET

We're eating less fast food - but not by much

Americans are eating less fast food daily than they used to, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  But it's not much less.

Using data from 2007 to 2010, the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics determined adults eat, on average, 11.3% of their daily calories from fast food. That number was 12.8% in 2006– a one and half point difference.

As you would expect, younger adults tend to eat more fast food than seniors. People older than 60 eat approximately 6% of their daily calories from fast food. Among the younger age groups, non-Hispanic black adults eat the most fast food - using more than one-fifth of their daily calories at fast food establishments.

The CDC did not see a significant difference in fast food consumption based on income, according to the report. Only in the 20-to-39 age group did fast food consumption drop as income increased.

Fast food has been linked to the obesity epidemic in the United States. Not surprisingly, obese adults in each age group ate more of their calories from fast food.

Photos: Worst fast-food meals for sodium


Overeating in children may be linked to drug use
December 10th, 2012
02:49 PM ET

Overeating in children may be linked to drug use

Do bad nutrition habits like overeating or binge eating lead to smoking pot? Some health experts think they might, according to a study published Monday.

Habits like overeating have always been known to affect our health, nutritionists say.  In some cases, people say they lose control and just can’t stop. Now scientists are finding that both habits and that feeling of lacking control may lead to other health issues.

Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital studied a group of 16,882 boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 15 who participated in the Growing Up Today Study, beginning in 1996. From that time to 2005, investigators sent out questionnaires every 12 to 24 months, asking if these children were overeating or binge eating. Binge eating was defined as eating an amount of food that is larger than most people would eat in the same time span under similar circumstances and feeling a lack of control over eating during that time. Overeating did not have to be connected to loss of control.

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How to buy healthy food on a tight budget
August 21st, 2012
11:18 AM ET

How to buy healthy food on a tight budget

It’s hard to argue with a $1 double cheeseburger. Perhaps that’s why so many believe that eating healthy is expensive.

The myth has become so pervasive that everyone from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to health care providers is attempting to dispel it. Now the Environmental Working Group is joining in.

The EWG has combined forces with anti-hunger group Share Our Strength to create a healthy shopping guide for low-income households: “Good Food on a Tight Budget.”

The guide contains lists of “best buys” – those that pack the most nutrition for the lowest cost – in each food group, cooking/shopping tips, recipes, a meal planner and a price tracker.
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Two cups of coffee may help protect your heart
June 26th, 2012
05:11 PM ET

Two cups of coffee may help protect your heart

That morning cup o' joe or mid-afternoon coffee pick-me-up may play a role in keeping your heart healthy, depending on how much you drink.

A meta-analysis of five previously completed prospective studies finds that drinking two 8-ounce cups of coffee a day gives people an 11% lower risk of developing heart failure, compared to people who don't consume any coffee.

The analysis, published in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation: Heart Failure, reviewed five studies conducted between 2001 and 2011 and included a total of 140,220 patients.

"Heart failure shares risk factors with other cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes are particularly strong risk factors for heart failure," explains Elizabeth Mostofsky, the first author of the analysis and a post doctoral research fellow at the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
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June 20th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

Report: Consumers demand drug-free meat

If you prefer your meat without antibiotics, you're not alone, according to a new study from Consumers Union – the group that publishes Consumer Reports magazine.

In a nationwide survey of more than a thousand people, Consumers Union found that 86% of people said they would like to see more antibiotic-free meat on store shelves, and more than 60% said they'd be willing to pay more for it.

"If we are going to tackle this problem, we have to reduce the use in animals," said Jean Halloran, the Director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union. "The government seems unable to take this step, so we're looking at the marketplace. It's supermarkets who stock these products, and consumers who buy them."

FULL POST


Sleepy brains drawn to junk food
June 10th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Sleepy brains drawn to junk food

As any college student or shift worker will tell you, staying up all night or even just skimping on sleep can lead a person to seek out satisfying, calorie-packed foods.

An emerging body of research suggests that sleep-related hunger and food cravings, which may contribute to weight gain, are fueled in part by certain gut hormones involved in appetite. But our brain, and not just our belly, may play a role as well.

According to two small studies presented today at a meeting of sleep researchers in Boston, sleep deprivation appears to increase activity in areas of the brain that seek out pleasure - including that provided by junk food. To make matters worse, sleepiness also may dampen activity in other brain regions that usually serve as a brake on this type of craving.
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1 in 3 is obese - even the homeless
May 25th, 2012
11:46 AM ET

1 in 3 is obese - even the homeless

Obesity is a widespread epidemic, even among the homeless.

While the popularized image of a homeless individual is one of skin and bones, a new study shows the reality is not so. One in three (32.3%) homeless individuals in the United States is obese, highlighting a hunger-obesity paradox.

The paradox is that hunger and obesity can exist in the same person. And although a person may be overweight or obese, he or she can lack proper nutrition.

Nutrition is a daily challenge for homeless people, as the foods they manage to get are often full of preservatives and high in sodium, fats and sugars.  They may not have access to healthier options like fresh fruits and vegetables.
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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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