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More Weight Loss Myths
The following are not true:
- High-fat diets are good for you.
- Exercise makes you hungry.
- Weigh yourself every day to make sure you are
- Combining protein and carbohydrates in the same meal leads to weight gain.
- Fasting is a good, quick way to lose unwanted fat.
- Diet pills are all you need to lose weight.
- Crash diets are best because you see results quickly.
- Snacking between meals is bad.
- The older I get, the more I need to eat.
- Lifting weights will give women big, bulky muscles and keep them from reducing.
- White bread is more fattening than wheat bread.
- Butter has more calories than oil.
- If you parents were fat, you will be too - and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Feed a Cold, Starve a
Fever—And Other Half Truths
There is no truth to the saying, "Feed a cold, starve a fever."
Your body needs nutrients to recover from both
Here is the straight dope on some other health
- Being cold will not give you a cold. A cold is a
virus, and the only way you can get it is coming in
contact with the virus.
- Don't leave wounds exposed to air. They won't heal
faster. Bandages protect wounds from drying out,
from dirt, and from bacteria.
- Don't repeatedly pour antiseptics like iodine or
hydrogen peroxide into a wound. Continuous presence
of antiseptics will kill white blood cells and slow
- Don't heat a wound. It dries out the wound and
- Vitamins do not provide energy.
- Margarine is not healthier than butter.
- Fasting does not flush out toxins.
- Eating gelatin does not make your fingernails
- White bread does not have fewer calories when
Food allergies are pretty rare in adults—only 1 to 2
percent of adults suffer from food allergies. The
symptoms include nausea, itchy hives,
breathing difficulty, and swelling. These symptoms can
appear within minutes of eating, but almost always occur
within two hours.
Any food can cause a food allergy, but the most
common culprits are tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish
(especially shrimp), milk, eggs, and whitefish.
Most people who think they suffer from food allergies
really suffer from food intolerance. Food intolerances
are adverse reactions to foods, so they appear to be
allergies. The most common symptoms are vomiting,
nausea, diarrhea, and cramping.
With a food allergy, even a small amount of the
offending food will cause an adverse reaction, as
opposed to a food intolerance where small quantities may
cause no problems at all.
Common causes of food intolerances include:
- Lactose intolerance - As they age, most
adults' produce less and less lactase, the enzyme
needed to digest lactose. Nearly 70% of the adult
population is thought to be lactose intolerant. Lactose is the main sugar
in milk products. Symptoms include bloating,
cramping, diarrhea, and excess gas. Over-the-counter
products such as Lactaid and Dairy Ease may prevent
- Food additives - Asthma can be worsened by
sulfites which are often used as
preservatives for fruits and vegetables. Monosodium glutamate and coloring agents can
also cause adverse reactions. Fortunately,
sensitivity to additives makes up only three to five
percent of all food intolerances.
- Food poisoning - Self explanatory.
Measles Kills 900 in March
That got your attention. A measles outbreak in
Afghanistan killed 900 people in March, 2000. In May of
this year, 2000 people were infected with measles in the
Central African Republic, killing 300. Nearly 1 million
children die of measles worldwide each year.
According to the Center for Disease Control and
Prevention, the United States had only 100 confirmed
cases of measles reported in 1999, the same number as
1998. Compare this to the 3 year period of 1989-1991
which had 55,000 cases of measles reported in the U.S.
You cannot get measles from the measles vaccine. If
you or your children have not been vaccinated for this
deadly disease, talk to your physician. That's right,
adults get the measles also, and they should be
vaccinated. Of the 100 cases reported in 1998, 32 were
people over 20 years old.
Measles is contagious from four days before to four
days after the rash appears.
Cleanliness and Asthma
A study at Bristol
University in England found that children who bathed
twice a day and washed their hands more than five times
a day had a 1-in-4 chance of developing asthma. For
those who bathed every other day, the odds decreased to
1-in-7. Source: Dallas Morning News, June
Eat at Night: Gain Weight?
People often eat heavily at night to help relieve the
stress of their day, especially since the contents of
the refrigerator seem to provide a solace. But calorie
for calorie, those eaten at night don't add any more
weight than those eaten at any other time of day.
When dietician Nancy Keim, PhD, RD, studied the
effect of food eaten at various times, she found that
those who ate 70% of their daily calories in the evening
gained no more weight than those who ate 70% of their
calories before noon. Source: Tufts
University Health & Nutrition Letter, October 1999
Back Pain: Who Do You Trust?
If you experience low-back pain, who is going to get you
better quicker: a primary-care doctor, an orthopedist,
or a chiropractor? A study of 900 patients over a period
of 22 months found that the recovery time is virtually
the same for each, as is the recurrence of low-back
pain. One difference is that chiropractic treatment
usually costs more because more visits are usually
involved. Source: Medical Care, Vol. 37,
Because you become immune to each different cold virus
when you have it, the older you get, the less likely you
are to have a head cold. Adults, on the average, get two
to four colds a year; the average kid gets up to eight.
If you do get a cold, the treatment hasn't changed
much over the years: rest, drink fluids and take aspirin
if you are over 18 (an aspirin substitute if you are 18
or younger) to treat fever and discomfort. Source:
Hope Health Letter, September, 1999
Just what does it mean when a label says "low
fat" or "may reduce cholesterol?" Here
are the FDA guidelines on decoding
than 5 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, and 95 mg
cholesterol per serving
than 10 g fat, 4.5 g saturated fat, and 95 mg
cholesterol per serving
than .5 g fat per serving
fat than the regular food version
fat of the regular version, which doesn't
necessarily mean it's healthy for you
than 40 calories per serving
than 20 mg per serving
than 3 g fat per serving
than 140 mg per serving
Another Reason to Drink
A 10-year study of 48,000 men found that those who drank
six 8-ounce glasses of water a day had half the bladder
cancer rate as those who drank much less. And those at
least risk were those who drank 10 or more 8-ounce
glasses of water.
Water, it turns out, is the best of the liquids to
offer this protection. Milk, tea, juice, beer, and the
like, helped to a lesser degree.
Though the study included only men, researchers think
the protection is afforded to both sexes. They theorize
that water helps in two ways: 1) by increasing the
frequency of urination, speeding potential carcinogens
in your urine through your bladder; 2) by further
diluting the urine, lowering the odds that carcinogens
will come in contact with the bladder wall. Source:
New England Journal of Medicine, May 6, 1999.
About 450,000 babies are born prematurely in the U.S.
each year, and about 25,000 of them are considered extremely
pre-mature—27 weeks of gestation or less. In the past
10 years, the edge of viability hasn't changed much;
it's still between 23 and 24 weeks. But more of these micropreemies
are surviving. Source: Life, May 2000
A personal note: Our baby daughter, Grace Caroline,
was born at 22 weeks of gestation and lived only 15
minutes. She was a 10 ¾-inches long and weighed 13
Her sister, Mary Margaret, was born at 29 weeks of
gestation and weighed a whopping 2 ½ pounds. Mary
Margaret is a healthy adult today.
Uncross Those Legs
You've probably suspected that crossing your legs can
contribute to the development of varicose veins. Well,
you were right. Studies have shown that the habit, which
most of us are guilty of, does, in fact, speed up the
process of the formation of spider veins. Source:
Health, September 1999
Hyponatremia means low levels of salt in the
bloodstream. If you exercise for three hours at a time,
as marathoners do, you run the risk of depleting the
body of salt through perspiration.
If you exercise for three hours and replace
perspiration with plain water, the level of salt in the
blood can drop to the point that it becomes disastrous.
Symptoms of hyponatremia include malaise, confusion,
nausea, and fatigue...with the possibility of
progressing to seizures, coma, and death. Often the
symptoms are mistaken for dehydration and the victim is
given more water which further dilutes the salt
concentration in the body.
One culprit is the current fad of replacing lost
fluid with bottle after bottle of spring water. (If you
are female, the risk of hyponatremia is higher than if
you're a male.)
So when your total activity level will exceed three
hours, plan to replace fluids with sports drinks and
also maintain salt concentrations in your body by eating
10 pretzels about every half hour or so. Source:
Medicine and Science in Sports
Here's the latest on cholesterol and triglyceride levels
from James Cleeman, M.D., coordinator of the National
Cholesterol Education Program in Bethesda, MD:
||less than 200 mg/dL
||200 mg/dL to 239 mg/dL
||240 mg/dL or above
||less than 130 mg/dL
||130 mg/dL to 159 mg/dL
||160 mg/dL or above
||60 mg/dL and above
||35 mg/dL to 59 mg/dL
||less than 35 mg/dL
||less than 200 mg/dL
||200 mg/dL to 399 mg/dL
||400 mg/dL or above
Copyright 2000 by Harvey W Watt & Co.
Destined to Be Fat?
Think it's in your genes to be fat? Just because members
of your family are overweight is no indication that you
need to be.
Studies at St. Vincent's Hospital weighed and
measured the body fat of 970 middle-aged twin sisters.
Focusing on the pairs where one of the twins was
overweight, researchers compared the activity levels and
eating habits of each twin.
The study found that being active overcame any
genetic tendency to be fat. The twin who consistently
exercised at a moderate rate weighed on average six
pounds less than her inactive sister. Vigorous
exercisers were 12 pounds lighter. Source:
Health, September 1999
Weight Loss Myths
Here are some demythologized weight-loss myths.
- Celery takes more calories to chew and digest than
it contains. Nope! All foods contain calories that
count. Some just contain less than others.
- Fat makes you fat. You don't have to give up fat
to lose weight. In fact, dieters who cut back on
portion size, keeping fat to 35% of calories
consumed, actually do better at maintaining their
weight loss than those who rely on very low-fat
diets to lose.
- High-protein diets help you shed pounds fast. In
the short term, high-protein diets appear to give
you a quick weight loss, but most of the loss is in
the form of water. There are two reasons for this:
when carbohydrate intake is low, the body uses its
stored carbo supply (known as glycogen) for energy.
These molecules are bound with water, which is
released as fuel when the glycogen is burned.
Second, when excess protein in the diet is burned as
fuel, it—unlike carbos—is flushed out by the
kidneys, which requires additional water form body
"There is no evidence that protein diets are
any better in the long run," says David
Levitsky, Ph.D., professor of nutrition and
psychology at Cornell University. "In
fact," he says, "high-protein diets can be
dangerous" because they contain animal protein
which has been linked to higher incidences of colon
cancer, kidney disease and heart disease.
- To lose weight, do aerobic exercise. While aerobic
exercise— walking, jogging, cycling, and
swimming—burns calories, you shouldn't forego
strength training. Lean muscle tissue, developed
through strength training, will burn fat even when
the body is at rest.
Source: American Health, September 1999
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