Drinking one 20-ounce bottle of soda daily for a year can pack on 25 extra pounds! But when the NYC Board of Health banned sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces, special-interest groups insisted that sugar in soda wasn’t to blame for the country’s obesity woes. Now, a super-size serving of three studies should quiet that debate once and for all.
The first proves that for folks with a predisposition to obesity, drinking sweet soda ramps up the body’s already heightened inclination to gain weight. The two others showed that if you help kids and teens break their soda habit by giving them water or no-cal drinks instead, they gain less weight than soda chuggers. Ready to say so long to sodas? Here’s how.
Get hip to your habit.
1. Where do you drink sodas? In front of some digital screen? With your meals? Write down every time you have one.
2. What makes you want a soda? The sugar and caffeine boost? Feeling parched? Realize that sugar isn’t a good way to energize yourself or quench your thirst.
Now break up with soda.
1. Try our 30/10 routine. After every 30 minutes at your desk or a digital screen, walk for 10 (around the house, in the yard, in place.) And always drink water after your walk.
2. Stock the fridge with water flavored with a squeeze of lemon, crushed basil or mint. Serve that (or coffee and tea) with your meals. And carry water with you when you’re on the go.
Bored with being bored?
If you type "bored kids" into Google, you’ll get 48 million results. Kids have even started their own mini-movie industry on You Tube; that’s how much they want the world to know they’re b-o-r-e-d. And as funny (gross, too!) as some of the clips are, being bored is no laughing matter – for body or mind.
Chronic boredom from lack of stimulation, plus wanting to change the situation, and feeling that there’s no way to escape it triggers behavior problems, overeating, drug abuse, anger and depression in kids – and in adults. When grownups are bored at the workplace it leads to poor performance, and too much chocolate eating and alcohol drinking. Bored folks neglect their health and can, literally, bore themselves to death.
Luckily (if we’re not boring you), we can help you turn your blahs to ooh-la-las.
1. Get your family moving. Go hiking, schedule (and complete) a 30-minute family walk every morning or evening. Kids and adults can join a sports team and sign up for extra duty – keeping stats, sending emails, wrangling equipment.
2. Volunteer. Stop thinking about your troubles, and help others with theirs. It’s great for your kids, too.
3. Express your secret interests. Ask yourself (or help your child tell you) "What have I always wanted to try?" (Ice skating? Cooking lessons? Learning Italian?) Then put it in motion.
4. De-stress. Meditation helps ease boredom-triggered apathy and agitation, and it gives you the energy to shake up your world.
When Marge Simpson gives Homer "the most important gift a man your age can get" – a colonoscopy – his doctor explains that early detection can lead to "the complete removal of tumorous polyps."
That’s because a colonoscopy is not simply an examination of your intestines; it also lets the doc spot and remove benign, precancerous or cancerous polyps that form on the lining of the colon. During Homer’s procedure, in addition to removing a Sgt. Pepper’s CD, the doctor cut out three small clumps of cells. Whew! Homer was good to go for several more seasons.
So, guys and gals, if you want to be good to go for several more seasons, here’s a serious tip: Get a colonoscopy. In the past decade there has been a significant decrease in colorectal cancer death rates, likely because more people are getting the exam. Just ask Drs. Oz and Roizen – both needed polyp removal.
Right after Dr. Oz turned 50, he had his first colonoscopy broadcast on national TV. To everyone’s surprise, the healthy, no-history-of-cancer-in-the-family Oz had a precancerous polyp removed. After a follow-up colonoscopy a few months later, guess what? A clean bill of health. Same for Dr. Roizen (but not on TV).
Even if a polyp is cancerous, there’s a 90 percent survival rate if removed early. So don’t miss that first colonoscopy – at age 45 for African-Americans, age 50 for most others and earlier if you have a family history. The first colonoscopy has the biggest effect on reducing deaths from colon cancer.
Ease cold symptoms
Lurking in your intestines are 10 trillion bacteria, some good, some bad and none good-looking. They comprise between 40 percent and 60 percent of what you excrete every day (if you’re typical).
But don’t let that bug you. These microscopic creatures make up your microbiome – the inner world of bugs that swirl through your digestive system in a sometimes-friendly, sometimes-adversarial tango to promote immune strength. They also protect you from infection, help you control your weight (or send it up, up, up), ease digestive woes and, yes, battle the common cold.
The 1 billion colds that afflict North Americans annually may have met their match in the gut-dwelling bacteria. Among those that may kick the cold: a dynamic duo of Lactobacillus rhamnosus (in yogurt) and Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis BB-12 (in fermented milks, infant formula, cheese and ice cream).
When college kids (notoriously susceptible to colds because of close living quarters, lack of sleep and high levels of stress) were given a daily supplement packing 1 billion of each of those bacteria for 12 weeks, their colds were shortened by two days and they felt 34 percent better than kids who didn’t get the gut-strengthening buggers. So, opt for probiotic supplements in hard-shelled capsules; they make it through your stomach acid, and bug that cold away!