A community for people who want to remain as healthy as possible as we age.

Clocks fall back Sunday as Daylight Saving Time ends

(Los Angeles Times) Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a person healthy, wealthy and wise, goes the popular wisdom. If you believe that, then this is your weekend as clocks change and most of the U.S. falls back an hour.
The change, officially the end of Daylight Saving Time, comes at 2 a.m. Sunday, when the clocks fall back to 1 a.m. In theory this should give everyone an extra hour of sleep…
Perhaps the biggest misconception about the whole process is that somehow by shifting the clock, people are changing the number of hours of daylight. Wrong. What is changing is how society organizes itself to take advantage of time…
Springing ahead in the spring and summer months allows more time to enjoy outdoor activities. Lights need not be use so energy can be saved, goes at least part of the argument. Tourism gets a boost as well.
By falling back in the autumn months, children get more daylight to travel to school in the morning and parents get to breathe easier in the evening when it is darker.
Community: Personally, I’d prefer to stay on daylight saving time all year round.
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Daylight Saving Time “fall back” doesn't equal sleep gain

(Anthony Komaroff, M.D., Harvard Health Publications) Winston Churchill once described Daylight Saving Time like this: “An extra yawn one morning in the springtime, an extra snooze one night in the autumn… We borrow an hour one night in April; we pay it back with golden interest five months later.”
That’s an overly optimistic view. In reality, many people don’t, or can’t, take advantage of this weekend’s extra hour of sleep. And the resulting shift in the body’s daily sleep-wake cycle can disrupt sleep for several days.
Research teams around the world have tried to determine if losing or gaining an hour of sleep because of Daylight Saving Time make a difference in health. This spring, Michigan researchers … showed a small increase in heart attacks on the first day (Sunday) of the spring transition to Daylight Saving Time, when we “lose” an hour of sleep. This echoed a Swedish study … showing a small increase in heart attacks after the start of Daylight Saving Time and a small decrease at its end.
Other researchers have looked at driving accidents, workplace safety, and even school performance, with mixed results.
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Time to Move On? The Case Against Daylight Saving Time

(National Geographic) From the early, humorous musings of Benjamin Franklin to the first widespread implementation of daylight savings during World War I and into the present day, observing DST has had a foundation in energy savings.
Lighter evenings mean lower demand for illumination and electricity, the theory goes. But studies question whether daylight saving time produces any gains at all—and some suggest it may have the opposite effect…
Environmental economist Hendrik Wolff, of the University of Washington, and colleagues found that the practice did indeed drop lighting and electricity use in the evenings—but that higher energy demands during darker mornings completely canceled out the evening gains.
Wolff found regional differences in DST energy impacts, but paints an overall picture that's not positive. "Everywhere there is air conditioning, our evidence suggests that daylight saving is a loser," Wolff said…
Till Roenneberg, a chronobiologist at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany, studies … cumulative and possibly critical impacts to our body's natural relationship with light and dark. His research suggests that the human body's circadian clock, kept in tune by light and darkness, never adjusts to the changing chronology of DST…
"The consequence of that is that the majority of the population has drastically decreased productivity, decreased quality of life, increasing susceptibility to illness, and is just plain tired," Roenneberg told National Geographic in 2010…
Our health may benefit, however, from a quantifiable boost in recreational activities that goes along with lighter evenings. Hendrik Wolff and colleagues were among several groups to document this phenomenon, in their case using data from a nationwide American time-use study.
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Time Change Disruption—and Countermeasures

(Michael Terman, Ph.D., Psychology Today) If the change to Standard Time hits you hard, ease your inner clock into it. If you’re waking up at 7 AM Daylight Saving Time, that corresponds to 6 AM Standard Time (ugh!). So on Saturday night, right before the change, set your alarm to 6:10 AM Standard Time, and your clock will be happy. Over the days that follow, set your alarm 10 minutes later each day—6:20…6:30…—and in less than a week you’ll be in sync with 7 AM Standard Time.
But what if the negative effects of the time change continue? What if you find yourself falling into the “winter blues,” even before winter sets in for real? In that case, you may find bright light therapy helpful, as described in our new paperback, Reset Your Inner Clock.  At a particular time in the morning (depending on your individual chronotype), you sit facing a therapeutic light box for between fifteen minutes and an hour—on average 30 minutes—usually occupied with a laptop or book. The light therapy signals your inner clock that daytime has begun, and shifts it into sync with the external day/night cycle.
And as for your chronotype? This term describes a person’s habitual activity-rest cycle. Some—the hummingbirds—stay smoothly in sync with the day/night cycle of the outside world. Others are larks. They wake up early, before most people’s alarms go off, and may start to fizzle by evening. Then there are the owls, who find waking up in time for work or school a constant struggle. Even when they do manage to get out, the brain fog may not lift for a few more hours. Most of us have a pretty good idea which group we belong to, but to find out in more detail, you can take the free online quiz called the Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire (AutoMEQ) offered by the Center for Environmental Therapeutics.
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How Daylight Savings Can Dim Your Diet

(Appetite for Health) How do we deal with the dark mornings and evenings, and the urge to pick up our mood with food? You’ve got to eat, so eat foods that will lift your mood and nourish you.
Here are some tips on how to handle the time shift:
·         Complex carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, can help prevent sluggishness and provide long-lasting energy.
·         Eat omega-3s…
·         Eat breakfast…
·         Keep moving, even if it’s chilly…
·         If you’re sleep is off and you’re roaming around at night, don’t reach for junk food
·         Don’t isolate yourself.
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More Information and Recent Research on Sleep and the Body Clock

(Science Daily) Drivers are most vulnerable to drowsiness from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., when their circadian rhythm -- which regulates periods of sleepiness and wakefulness -- dips. The circadian rhythm also prompts people to feel drowsy in diminishing daylight… [Xue Ming, a sleep medicine doctor,] suggests a few tips to help enhance driving alertness for limited periods: a 20-minute nap, two cups of coffee or similar caffeinated beverage, brightening the dashboard or purchasing a visor light box that simulates morning light for the passenger side, since light boosts alertness. "But, if you are feeling really tired," Ming says, "the best thing to do is park your car and call a cab."
(Discover Magazine) If the early bird gets the worm, what does the night owl get? According to a recent study, “sleep disturbances, vulnerability to depression and higher consumption of nicotine and alcohol.” The study is the first to hint at what brain differences might underlie a person’s so-called chronotype—their natural tendencies toward sleeping and waking.
(Huffington Post) Michael Decker, Ph.D., a sleep specialist, … and Joe Ojile, M.D., founder and CEO of the Clayton Sleep Institute in St. Louis, Mo., shared some of the most common traits among the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. They don't sleep in… They check electronics at the bedroom door… They nap strategically… They move… They think about sleep before sleeping… They eat and drink the right stuff, at the right time… They appreciate the value of sleep… But they don't obsess about it.
(Andrew Weil, M.D.) It may sound far-fetched, but Swiss researchers have published a study demonstrating that the quality of sleep can change with lunar cycles… Of note, they found that around the time of a full moon, brain activity in areas related to deep sleep decreased by 30 percent and that participants took five minutes longer to fall asleep, and slept for 20 minutes less than usual. Tests also showed lower blood levels of the sleep regulating hormone melatonin when the moon was full.
(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Regular exercise can contribute to sound sleep, but if you start an exercise program don’t expect immediate results. A study at Northwestern University found that at first aerobic exercise may be no help at all for people with insomnia. In fact, if you exercise during the day and then don’t sleep that night, you’re likely to feel too exhausted to hop on the treadmill the next day, the investigators reported.
(Sci-News.com) A new animal study … suggests that nocturnal light exposure may induce depressive responses and alter neuronal structure… “Our findings suggest that if we could use red light when appropriate for night-shift workers, it may not have some of the negative effects on their health that white light does.”
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Lamb Chops and Cilantro Relish
Prechopped onion speeds prep for the relish in this restaurant-worthy lamb dish that is ready in 40 minutes.
Smoked Turkey, Kale & Rice Bake
This hearty one-skillet dinner is loaded with celery, kale, tomatoes and quick-cooking brown rice. It’s easy to make the recipe vegetarian by substituting smoked tofu for the turkey.
Washington Post:
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Food and Health

(Reuters Health) Eating a bit of flaxseed each day might help lower high blood pressure, a new study suggests. Researchers said it's too early to swap out blood pressure medication for the fiber-filled seeds just yet. But if future studies confirm the new results, flax might be a cheap way to treat high blood pressure, they added. Flaxseed is well known as a plant source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and lignans, a type of antioxidants.
(Mark Hyman, MD) A recent study out of Harvard found a lack of data proving that eating dairy leads to better bones, weight loss, or improved health. The researchers found, instead, a number of serious health risks, including cancer, tied to dairy consumption.
(UPI) Kraft plans to remove Yellow No. 5 and No. 6 food dye from pasta shaped like SpongeBob SquarePants, Halloween and winter shapes, the U.S. food maker says.
(USA Today) Americans may be finally getting with the nutrition program. They're eating more fruit and yogurt and downing more bottled water instead of guzzling carbonated soft drinks and fruit juice, according to data out today from the NPD Group, a market research firm. Fruit is now the second most popular food consumed in the U.S., up from No. 5 a decade ago, says Harry Balzer, NPD's chief industry analyst and author of the annual Eating Patterns in America report on food habits… The payoff from recent healthy eating: The obesity epidemic shows signs of leveling off in recent years, Balzer says.
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U.S. flu activity remains, but spreading in the South

(UPI) Influenza activity remained low in the United States into late October, but was spreading in the South, federal health officials say.
Of the 3,241 specimens tested during the week ending Oct. 26, 4.5 percent were positive for influenza, the U.S. World Health Organization and National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System collaborating laboratories found.
Nationwide, 1.2 percent of patient visits to doctors were due to influenza-like illness. Influenza-like illness is defined as fever, or a temperature of 100 degrees F or greater, cough and/or sore throat.
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Treating Gum Disease by Bringing Needed Immune Cells to Inflamed Tissue

(Science Daily) The red, swollen and painful gums and bone destruction of periodontal disease could be effectively treated by beckoning the right kind of immune system cells to the inflamed tissues, according to a new animal study… [The] findings … offer a new therapeutic paradigm for a condition that afflicts 78 million people in the U.S. alone…
"Currently, we try to control the build-up of bacteria so it doesn't trigger severe inflammation, which could eventually damage the bone and tissue that hold the teeth in place," [co-author and co-investigator Dr. Charles] Sfeir said. "But that strategy doesn't address the real cause of the problem, which is an overreaction of the immune system that causes a needlessly aggressive response to the presence of oral bacteria. There is a real need to design new approaches to treat periodontal disease."
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High blood pressure often not diagnosed, not controlled, CDC says

(Consumer Reports) The CDC's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that about a third of men and women have hypertension, dubbed the "silent killer" because it often causes no noticeable symptoms. About 75 percent of people with high blood pressure were taking medication to control it, but only about a half were able to get their levels under control. That means they were able to get their systolic blood pressure (the top number) under 140 and their diastolic blood pressure (bottom number) under 90.
That's a problem. High blood pressure causes more heart attacks and strokes in the U.S. than any other cause. Simple lifestyle changes, such as eating less sodium, exercising, losing weight if necessary, and quitting smoking often lower blood pressure significantly. Home testing with the best blood pressure monitor to track your levels can actually be more accurate than the results you get at a doctor's office.
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Louisiana AG Sues Pfizer Over A "Fraudulent Zoloft Scheme"

(Pharmalot) Citing allegedly deceptive studies and a surreptitious marketing campaign, the Louisiana Attorney General has filed a lawsuit claiming that Pfizer fraudulently marketed its Zoloft antidepressant and caused the state Medicaid program to unnecessarily issue reimbursements for the drug.
The lawsuit accuses the drugmaker of knowing there were “serious issues” with Zoloft efficacy and that early clinical studies demonstrated its pill was no better than a placebo. But Pfizer allegedly concealed this from regulators, physicians and patients with an elaborate scheme that included ghostwritten articles that were published in medical journals and a deceptive advertising initiative, according to the lawsuit…
Pfizer is currently facing numerous personal injury lawsuits in state and federal courts that allege Zoloft was responsible for birth defects, among other things. However, this appears to be the first case filed by a state attorney general charging that the drugmaker committed fraud that affected a Medicaid program.
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Massachusetts senate OK’s bill on drug mixing

(Boston Globe) The state Senate passed a bill Wednesday requiring compounding pharmacies that custom mix sterile drugs to obtain a special license from the state pharmacy board, submit to annual inspections, and report more information about their operations. But, unlike the plan approved last month by the House, it temporarily exempts a large segment of the industry: hospital pharmacies.
Instead, the bill would create a commission to review oversight of hospital pharmacies and make recommendations by July 2015. If no change is made by then, the hospitals would become subject to the same rules as other compounding pharmacies.
“A hospital is a very different setting from a manufacturer's setting,” said Anuj Goel, vice president of legal and regulatory affairs at the Massachusetts Hospital Association. He noted that hospitals monitor their drug quality and are subject to outside reviews conducted by accreditation boards and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, reviews not done at wholesale drugmakers. “Hospitals have always been and continue to be regulated.”
But federal visits to hospital pharmacies occur irregularly, and state inspections are done as part of overall hospital licensing. The state pharmacy board now has no role in inspecting hospital pharmacies, though it does license their pharmacists.
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New Obama order aims to prepare communities for severe weather

(Reuters) In another move to address the impact of climate change, President Barack Obama ordered a bipartisan task force on Friday to help U.S. communities brace for longer heat waves, heavier downpours, more severe wildfires and worse droughts.
Friday's executive order set up a panel of governors, mayors, county officials and tribal leaders to advise the White House on how the federal government can respond to communities hit by the effects of a changing climate.
Federal agencies were also directed to modernize their programs in ways that will support investments that will help cities and towns gird against extreme weather. More than two dozen agencies will form a council on climate preparedness.
Because no federal legislation to curb climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions is likely to get through Congress due to widespread Republican opposition, the president has been using his executive authority as an alternative to new laws.
Community: I’ll bet the Republicans will be sorry when the planet burns up.
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Another Obamacare horror story debunked

(Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times) Deborah Cavallaro is a hard-working real estate agent in the Westchester suburb of Los Angeles who has been featured prominently on a round of news shows lately, talking about how badly Obamacare is going to cost her when her existing plan gets canceled and she has to find a replacement…
Here's what I found. I won't divulge her current income, which is personal, but this year it qualifies her for a hefty federal premium subsidy.
At her age, she's eligible for a good "silver" plan for $333 a month after the subsidy -- $40 a month more than she's paying now. But the plan is much better than her current plan -- the deductible is $2,000, not $5,000. The maximum out-of-pocket expense is $6,350, not $8,500. Her co-pays would be $45 for a primary care visit and $65 for a specialty visit -- but all visits would be covered, not just two. 
Is that better than her current plan? Yes, by a mile.
If she wanted to pay less, Cavallaro could opt for lesser coverage in a "bronze" plan. She could buy one from the California exchange for as little as $194 a month. From Anthem, it's $256, or $444 a year less than she's paying now. That buys her a $5,000 deductible (the same as she's paying today) but the out-of-pocket limit is lower, $6,350. Office visits would be $60 for primary care and $70 for specialties, but again with no limit on the number of visits. Factor in the premium savings, and it's hard to deny that she's still ahead…
The sad truth is that Cavallaro has been very poorly served by the health insurance industry and the news media. It seems that Anthem didn't adequately explain her options for 2014 when it disclosed that her current plan is being canceled. If her insurance brokers told her what she says they did, they failed her. And the reporters who interviewed her without getting all the facts produced inexcusably shoddy work -- from Maria Bartiromo on down. They not only did her a disservice, but failed the rest of us too.
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More Affordable Care Act News

(Kaiser Health News) The Care Harbor L.A. event, in its fifth year, expects to treat about 3,750 people over four days.
(NPR) Many health plans being offered on the New York State insurance marketplace do not include some of New York City's biggest hospitals in their networks. And across the state, many doctors say they are not yet participating in exchange plans at all.
(NBC News) A team of tech experts tackling the glitch-ridden federal health insurance website has found a batch of problems affecting both the speed of the site and its reliability, the head of the rescue effort said Friday. But despite two “extremely frustrating” outages that slowed everyone down this past week, the site’s on track to be working smoothly by the end of November, management expert Jeff Zients told reporters.
(ThinkProgress) The latest smear against the health law claims that Obamacare will force employers to cancel millions of health plans for workers. One of the country's experts on the Affordable Care Act says that isn't true.
(McClatchy) Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has subpoenaed Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for documents that shed light on the ongoing problems with the Healthcare.gov website.
(ThinkProgress) “Folks, don’t be surprised if in 30 days, or 45 days, or 60 days, it’s not Republicans who are asking for a delay of Obamacare or a delay of the mandate, it’s Barack Obama and Mark Pryor coming to us, asking us to delay it for them,” Rep. Tom Cotton (R), the GOP nominee for Senate in Arkansas, said during an event for the Benton County Republican Women on Oct. 26. “And then the issue will be, what concessions are they willing to make, so we can delay their own disaster of a law,” he continued.
(Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star) "We're not in Kansas anymore," said the smirking congressman from Texas, pleased with his own witlessness… The putdowns Sebelius endured during her testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee were entirely predictable. The same yahoos in Congress who were content to force the United States into default unless Obamacare was repealed have pivoted to outrage that the Obama administration has failed to deliver Obamacare seamlessly to the American people.
In a functional democracy, Democrats and Republicans would work together to iron out the kinks and create a better health care system for America. We have a dysfunctional democracy, but there's a good chance the ACA will make health care in America better and fairer anyway.
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Doc Groups Urge Care in Release of Medicare Data

(MedPage Today) Physician groups advised Medicare program officials to cautiously approach making individual physician payments available to the public, warning of many unintended consequences of doing so.
Many medical societies in comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) questioned the impact that making the dollar amounts they receive from Medicare publicly available will have on consumer behavior, saying it could be mischaracterized or misunderstood.
To mitigate this potential, physician groups encouraged CMS to work with them to promote the reliable and effective use of payment data in a way that's fair and accurately presented.
Community: Free market, huh? They just want to protect their incomes by blowing smoke to obscure the fact that a price is just a price.
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Medicare Advantage is paying bills for dead people

(Modern Healthcare) On Halloween, HHS' Office of the Inspector General was shining a spotlight on the dead—specifically, people whose Medicare bills are paid after they pass away.
A new report from the watchdog agency says the federal government and the private companies that work for Medicare are not doing enough to stop the program from paying for health benefits for dead people. But that could change with the launch of a new anti-fraud program in 2014.
The Oct. 31 OIG report on the dead said Medicare paid out $23 million in benefits in 2011 for 17,403 people who were dead, the vast majority that sum through Medicare's private-insurance option, Medicare Advantage. While most of the amounts paid were less than $1,000 per person, some were sizable. Medicare paid more than $50,000 each for benefits for 12 people.
Those findings follow a report from the office earlier this year that criticized Medicare's private auditors for failing to notice examples of outright fraud that involve dead-beneficiary billing.
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Lose Weight, Find Health: As Easy as ABC, Just Not Easier

(David Katz, M.D., Yale Prevention Research Center) Learning to read was [an] arduous affair, occupying years of our childhood. There was, for starters, that whole darn alphabet from A to Z… But one thing that did NOT happen was a magical shortcut… We all learned the whole alphabet, and here we are. I'm writing, you are reading. It worked…
We went on to apply those ABCs to much of what followed, getting a job and making money salient among them. Here, we did encounter hucksters along the way, and every now and then someone among us managed to get swindled. But most of us knew, just as we knew our ABCs, that earning money took work and skill, and managing money took work and skill and time…
When it comes to losing weight and finding health, what happens to all that good common sense? Where does our solid core of pragmatic wisdom go?... Aren't we ready, at last, after subjecting ourselves and our families to a long litany of hyperbolic nonsense and exploitative boondoggles, for the ABCs of losing weight and finding health?...
You can lose weight, you can find health. But you need a skill set to do it, not magic. There is, of course, no magic. But skill power is practical magic.
I really want to help you get there from here and truly believe I can. But my guidance, born of nearly 30 years of study, research, teaching, publishing and patient care does come with an important proviso. Losing weight and finding health is as easy as ABC. It just isn't easier.
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8 Reasons the French are Slim

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) These eight tactics are the norm in the typical French diet - consider changing your approach toward eating by adopting these strategies and see if it makes a difference in your life:
1.    Eat smaller portions.
2.    Avoid snacking, and eat only at mealtimes.
3.    Eat a wide variety of food.
4.    Don't skip meals.
5.    Enjoy your food and focus on dishes made from fresh, locally grown, quality ingredients.
6.    Stick to your internal cues. When you no longer feel hungry, stop eating.
7.    Eat less sugar. The French eat less than half as much added sugar as do Americans.
8.    Eat meals with family and friends so that eating becomes a pleasurable experience as opposed to something to "fit into" a schedule or feel guilty about.
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Eating to Boost Willpower

(Hara Estroff Marano, Psychology Today) Exercising the self-control needed for dieting, overriding urges, paying attention, or engaging in any effortful executive brain function imposes unusual nutritional demands on the brain. That makes a strong and steady supply of the mind's preferred energy source a nutritional requirement.
"Eating foods that provide stable and healthy glucose levels should help people muster their self-control," says Matthew Gailliot, professor of psychology at the University of Amsterdam. "It is sadly ironic that people might fail at dieting so often because dieting reduces the very energy source—glucose—needed to diet."
Which meals provide optimal energy for such uniquely human mental activities? "Focus on foods rich in lean protein and complex carbohydrates," says nutritionist Jeannie Gazzaniga Moloo… Such foods are metabolized at a steady rate and lead to stable blood-sugar levels. Think low-fat yogurt and fresh strawberries. Veggies with a hummus dip. Fish or grilled chicken.
In addition to the right foods, timing is everything in keen cuisine. "Eat every three to four hours and make sure the food choices are rich in complex carbs and lean protein to sustain glucose levels," says Moloo. And if you know you're facing a stressful situation, having a healthy snack beforehand—peanut butter on whole-grain crackers, say—could help your blood sugar rise to the occasion.
Otherwise, decision-making and effortful control of thoughts are impaired. The brain's supply of glucose gets quickly depleted by acts of self-control. Overriding automatic response tendencies consumes significant amounts of real energy.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to build willpower by improving impulse control.
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The Race to Redefine Calories: Iconoclasts, Start Your Engines!

(David Katz, M.D., Yale Prevention Research Center) The evidence that the quantity of calories counts, along with the quality, is incontrovertible -- beginning with the laws of thermodynamics first established by Sir Isaac Newton. There is a fixed relationship between matter and energy, bound by the laws of physics. Biological variation is important, but physics is the bedrock on which other sciences, including biology, must stand.
In addition, there are modern studies. Some have shown, quite decisively, that overfeeding of even very high-quality calories leads predictably to weight gain. Others have shown that restricting calories, even if those consumed are junk, leads to weight loss. The authors of such studies do not go on to say that the quality of calories, or variations in human metabolism are irrelevant. They simply say, correctly, that calories count.
Which leads to why I care, and why you should too. Misleading urban legends encourage us to miss out on real opportunity, and/or bog down in boondoggles.
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More Weight Loss Tips

(Huffington Post) If you can drop these harmful habits, you might just become a healthy eater for life. 7. Skipping breakfast… 6. Going on a juice cleanse… 5. Filling up on diet soda drinks… 4. Completely cutting out entire food groups… 3. Opting for low-fat versions… 2. Going hungry… 1. Thinking about it as a "diet" in the first place.
(Appetite for Health) In celebration of fall, we’ve put together our list of six super foods of autumn that will also help to slim down. We’ve included foods with a high fiber and/or water content that will keep you full for longer, helping you to reduce cravings. Apples… Pumpkin… Pomegranates… Dates… Butternut Squash… Oats.
(Appetite for Health) The majority of studies show that eating breakfast is good for helping you lose and maintain a healthy weight, but that’s only if you eat the right breakfast.  Here are three breakfast mistakes to avoid and some of our favorite breakfasts to help you lose lbs. Breakfast Mistake #1: Eating Dessert for Breakfast… Breakfast Mistake #2: Eating a Buffet Breakfast… Breakfast Mistake #3: Choosing Carb-Rich Breakfast.
(The Salt, NPR) According to the findings of fresh research…, people who added 1.5 ounces of almonds to their diet each day reported reduced hunger, and they compensated for the extra calories from nuts by eating less at other times of the day. "This research suggests that almonds may be a good snack option, especially for those concerned about weight," says Richard Mattes, a professor of nutrition science… "Despite adding 250 calories to the diet, there was no change in total energy intake."
(Appetite for Health) The original Grapefruit Diet dates back to the 1930s, but there’s a new and improved version of the diet that’s become popular again. Grapefruit may be the citrus fruit to whittle your middle, thanks to a new study that reported women who ate grapefruit where thinner and had smaller waistlines than those who didn’t eat the fruit. 
(Science Daily) New research shows that there are several effective strategies available to people wanting to avoid regaining weight after a successful diet. Anti-obesity drugs, meal replacements and a high protein diet can help weight loss maintenance, according to a meta-analysis… "Anti-obesity drugs unfortunately carry a risk of adverse events, so the most effective drugs were completely withdrawn a few years ago," says Dr [Erik] Hemmingsson. "Meal replacement products and high protein diets, on the other hand, are effective and available to everyone."
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More Information and Recent Research on Obesity and Weight Loss

(Science Daily) Men who are overweight or obese when they are diagnosed with prostate cancer are more likely to die from the disease than men who are of healthy weight, according to a Kaiser Permanente study… In patients with more aggressive forms of prostate cancer, the researchers also found an even stronger correlation between obesity and mortality.
(Science Daily) New results from a prospective study … show that patients with a body mass index (BMI) in the obese range live on average two to three months less after a pancreatic cancer diagnosis, compared with healthy weight patients, even after adjusting for factors that are known to predict survival for patients with this disease, such as age and disease stage. This association was statistically strongest for people who were overweight two decades before their diagnosis.
(MedPage Today) Obesity might be a risk factor for community-acquired Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), results of a small retrospective study suggested. Patients who developed CDI in the community were more likely to be obese than the general population, 34% compared with 23%, according to Nahid Bhadelia, MD, … and colleagues.
(BBC News) The mocked "obesity excuse" of being born with a slow metabolism is actually true for some people, say researchers… Scientists at the Institute of Metabolic Science, in Cambridge, knew that mice born without a section of DNA, a gene called KSR2, gained weight more easily. But they did not know what effect it may be having in people, so they analysed the DNA of 2,101 severely obese patients. Some had mutated versions of KSR2. It had a twin effect of increasing their appetite while their slowing metabolism.
(Scientific American) After billions of years of evolution, since the beginning of life itself, the most important thing for our existence–getting food–is no longer an issue of survival (for most people).  We did and are doing exactly what our physiology, our psychology, our society, drive us to do: Eat a lot, and eat often. What’s a species to do? We’re encouraged to do this every day through billions of dollars worth of advertising and marketing of foods specifically engineered to push our physiological and emotional buttons. Of course we’re gaining weight.
(Los Angeles Times) Scientists injected pregnant rats with DDT and found no change in their levels of obesity or their offspring. But by the third generation, more than half of the rats (think of them as the great-grandchildren) showed dramatically higher levels of fat and weight gain, even though they were never exposed to the pesticide themselves.
(Medical News Today) New research from the Universities of Oxford and Reading in the UK suggests that introducing a 20% tax on sugar-sweetened drinks could help in the battle against obesity. .. The researchers estimate that the tax would reduce the number of UK adults who are obese by 180,000 (1.3%) and reduce the number of people who are overweight by 285,000 (0.9%)… The overwhelming evidence linking sugary drinks to weight gain prompted the researchers to determine whether a sugar-sweetened drinks tax in the UK could reduce the problem.
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Grilled Tilapia and Parmesan Polenta
Discover the wonders of smoked paprika with this easy and economical fish dinner. Creamy polenta complements the full-flavored fish.
Salmon Chowder
The flavor of this salmon chowder is greatly enhanced by adding either fresh dill or dried tarragon: each herb lends its own distinctively different and appealing character to the soup. Even if you don’t keep instant mashed potatoes in your pantry, it’s worth picking some up for this soup. They give the soup a thick, chowder texture without any heavy cream or butter. Leftover mashed potatoes work too, but give a slightly less-velvety texture.
Irresistible Ways to Enjoy Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a major player in the world of superfoods. An outstanding source of carotenoids (including beta-carotene), as well as vitamin C, calcium, and potassium, sweet potatoes can help reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, lower high blood pressure and combat a host of other ailments from colds to cataracts…  Here are a few ideas for enjoying this versatile vegetable.
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Food and Health

(UPI) High levels of chocolate consumption might be associated with a decreased risk of developing heart disease, researchers in Britain say.
(The People’s Pharmacy) Chocolate and cocoa have been found to relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure. Now researchers have found that the compounds in blueberries also dilate blood vessels and improve blood flow… The blueberry drink relaxed blood vessels most strongly one to two hours after ingestion, but benefits were detected up to six hours later.
(The Salt, NPR) Inventor Rob Rhinehart has raised $1.5 million in seed funding for his powdered food alternative. He and his investors say there's a big market for his product: time- and cash-strapped people currently living on takeout.
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(Food, Nutrition & Science) Food waste is a growing problem in the U.S. and globally. According to a recent report from the United Nations, the total amount of food wastage annually is equal to 28% of the world’s agricultural land area; approximately one-third of all food produced for human consumption in the world is lost or wasted. Various food programs, from the Food Recovery Network to City Harvest, have made it their goal to recover food that would otherwise go to waste and redistribute it to the hungry. But none of these programs have focused on using community crowdsourcing to attack the problem of agricultural food waste and help small family farms and food businesses along the way – until now.
CropMobster™ is the brainchild of Bloomfield Farms general manager Nick Papadopoulos (along with Joanna and Gary Cedar), who grew extremely frustrated when he noticed the recurring pattern of unsold surplus food…
So Papadopoulos started to post online about the available leftover produce on his farm, offering it at a reduced cost, and even offering it for free to hunger relief organizations. Before he knew it, the word had spread, and other farmers wanted to get in the loop. CropMobster became a full-fledged website and social network community in March 2013, and today functions like a series of classified ads for fresh produce, livestock and even surplus materials and equipment. 
[T]he program has become an emerging tool for marketing local and small farms to an interested consumer base. According to FarmsReach, 53% of farmers in the U.S. record a net loss and struggle to break even and pay the bills. For a small farm specifically, this type of positive exposure is crucial – and necessary for boosting the farm’s chances of survival in this competitive food landscape.
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The Case for Taste Bud Rehab

(David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP, Yale Prevention Research Center) The scientific evidence, which I have reviewed thoroughly, is quite clear and entirely convincing all on its own: Taste buds are adaptable little fellas. When they can't be with foods they love, they learn to love the foods they're with…
We have heard for years about willful manipulations of food formulations to exploit our native preferences and innate vulnerabilities, most recently from Michael Moss. And this leads to a toxic impasse and something of a dysfunctional collusion.
The impasse is that we have been getting so much highly adulterated junk food with copious and unnecessary additions of sugar, salt and fat that it has become the prevailing familiar. And, as you will recall, we like the familiar.
And that's where the collusion starts. We can rant about food industry transgressions all we want; we reward them for the same mischief at countless cash registers every day. They make ever-junkier food, which in turn gets us used to ever-junkier food, which in turn makes us prefer ever-junkier food. But we bought it, and habituated to it, in the first place. So we encouraged them; they encouraged us; and we have met the enemy, and it really is both of us. This collusion, and the resulting impasse, accounts for a lot of preventable obesity and chronic disease.
But it's entirely fixable, and you don't need any help from Congress. Just as eating ever-junkier food can make you come to prefer it, so can eating ever more nutritious food.
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