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Some Cheerios Not So Cheery for Celiacs

Wheat flour inadvertently mixed with oat flour at GM's Lodi facility.

General Mills has voluntarily recalled 1.8 million boxes of Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios made on specific dates due to a manufacturing glitch at their Lodi, California production facility. The same products produced at other facilities and subsequently at the Lodi facility are compliant with FDA gluten-free standards. Check the "Better if Used By" date on the top of the box with those listed online to know if you have any affected product.

PositiveTip: If you have celiac disease and have any questions about this recall phone 1-800-775-8370.

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Water Sales Gaining on Soda

Are full-calorie sodas the new tobacco?

The sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) industry is under fire today from many quarters. The New York Times reports over the last 20 years sales of full-calorie soda has fallen by 25%. At the same time, sales of bottled water have have exploded, and if the trends continue, should overtake soda as the largest beverage category within 2 years. 

PositiveTip: Sodas do not provide any essential nutrients! Avoid them to limit excess calories and the associated health problems.

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Drugs Marketed as Supplements!

Russian drugs being sold in the U.S. as brain-boosting supplements.

Two pharmaceuticals used as cerebral vascular drugs in several countries are being marketed as brain-boosting botanical supplements in the U.S. Analysis of brands sold at two popular vitamin chains found a majority delivered prescription-strength doses--while some contained little to none. Vinpocetine and picamilion are not simple botanical extracts but products of heavy refinement or produced synthetically. Both these drugs have bypassed rigorous testing for safety and efficacy, and are being sold openly as dietary supplements in the U.S.

PositiveTip: Be extremely cautious of the claims made by the unregulated supplement industry.

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Calcium Underfire

Researchers puzzled by recommendations for universal calcium supplementation.

Increased calcium intake from either supplements or dietary sources may not be as effective in supporting bone mineral density (BMD) or reducing fracture risk as once thought.  Researchers found increased calcium intake resulted in only small increases in BMD in 14,000 people over 50, but the changes were so small they would not be clinically significant. Another study revealed increased calcium intake in over 45,000 individuals did not reduce fracture risk.

PositiveTip: Eating a wholesome, natural diet combined with physical activity may be the best way to support bone health and prevent fractures.

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Simple Hand Exercises for Osteoarthritis Relief

A 3-month hand exercise program yielded significant benefit to women with hand OA.

A small study of Norwegian women with limitations caused by hand osteoarthritis (OA) were randomized to a home-based exercise group or an information only group. The exercise group was given specific, simple hand exercise assignments three times per week. After three months of exercise, performance was significantly improved in the exercise group--joint pain was less, grip strength improved, and less hand fatigue.

PositiveTip: Limited by hand OA? Ask you physician for a referral to an occupational therapist for simple hand exercises. 

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Large Study Shows No Net Benefit from Alcohol

New study finds no overall benefit from alcohol consumption.

Alcohol is the third most important modifiable risk factor for death and disability. It is linked with more than 60 health disorders. A study of over 114,000 adults from 12 countries found no net benefit from the use of alcohol when cancer, heart disease, injury and overall death rates were considered. This study examined a range of income levels, also. 

PositiveTip: If you don't use alcohol you should not start; if you do drink, evidence is growing stronger that you should quit now!

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Dietary Patterns

Single-food studies could miss other important factors.

Swedish researchers analyzed the dietary habits of 25,000 adults without diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer. They found those consuming the most sugar-sweetened beverages also consumed significantly fewer healthy foods. High consumption of coffee was also associated with higher intakes of high-fat foods and lower intakes of breakfast cereals. These results were adjusted for potential confounding factors such as age, sex, BMI, activity and energy intake.

PositiveTip: Remember, we do not eat single foods. We eat combinations that result in healthy or unhealthy dietary patterns.

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Are They Really "Happy" Meals?

Restaurant food is not healthy food compared to most food eaten at home.

According to an analysis of the 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) more than a third of U.S. children 2-19 years old consumed fast food on a daily basis. Greater than 12 percent of their daily calories came from fast food, and the percentage increased with age.

PositiveTip: Avoid eating fast food for better health and a smaller waitstline--and resist the temptation to "treat" yourself or your kids with it!

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Lowering Sugar Increases HDL Cholesterol in Youth

Sugar is a modifiable dietary risk factor.

Sugar, sugar, sugar...we all love it in almost everything! High consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, fruit juice, and sweetened teas is associated in children with higher triglyceride levels. Researchers found in a group of 600 young people that as sugary drink consumption decreased over 12 months their HDL (good) cholesterol increased. Reducing just one or more servings per day made a significant difference.

PositiveTip: Replace sugary beverages with the universal zero calorie drink--water!

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Kuddos to the FDA!

The FDA does not approve products, only clears them for marketing.

The U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the marketing of four R J Reynolds cigarette brands because they do not meet specific safety and composition requirements. The FDA found they have changed so much over the last few years they do not resemble the original products--with higher levels of formaldehyde, menthol, sweeteners, and unclear tobacco blends. No tobacco product is "safe" even if approved for marketing.

PositiveTip: Don't start smoking, stop if you started, and help others quit. It's still good advice.