Archive for February, 2014

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Stress News — ScienceDaily
Two stressed people equals less stress: Sharing nervous feelings helps reduce stress
Does giving a speech in public stress you out? Or writing a big presentation for your boss? What about skydiving? One way to cope, according to a new study, is to share your feelings with someone who is having a similar emotional reaction to the same scenario.

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Stress News — ScienceDaily
High family stress can impact child’s immune system
High family stress can lead to the child’s immune system being affected, a research group has shown. Our immune system has the task of protecting us against bacteria and viruses. Our bodies are also equipped to handle everyday stress -– that is, stress that lasts only briefly. On the other hand, a difficult, stressful situation or long-term increase in stress can negatively affect the immune system. This kind of long-term stress can develop when a close family member dies or when adults are caught in tough, unmanageable situations.

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Health and Fitness – The Huffington Post
Michelle Obama Wins Big Against Powerful Corporate Interests
WASHINGTON — First lady Michelle Obama announced sweeping changes to the “Nutrition Facts” label on most packaged foods on Thursday, marking a major victory against some of the most powerful lobbies in Washington: the sugar farming and refining and processed food industries.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebellius and Margaret Hamburg, the Food and Drug Administration commissioner, joined Obama for the announcement at the White House Thursday morning. Under the FDA’s new proposal, the “serving size” of many products would be increased to more accurately reflect a typical serving, and a new line would be added to the label listing “added sugars.” The rules would also make the labels easier to read, by increasing the type-size of the calorie content and the sugar content.

“Our guiding principle here is very simple: that you as a parent and a consumer should be able to walk into your local grocery store, pick up an item off the shelf, and be able to tell whether it’s good for your family,” said Obama, who has made reducing childhood obesity a cornerstone of her work as first lady. “So this is a big deal, and it’s going to make a big difference for families all across this country.”

It’s a big deal for the food industry and the sugar industry as well. The FDA estimated that the new labeling requirements could cost manufacturers hundreds of millions of dollars to implement. It also estimated that the new label requirements would motivate companies to reformulate many current products by reducing the amount of added sugar, or lowering the calorie content. These reformulations could cost the food industry up to a billion dollars, according to the FDA report.

As part of the FDA’s process, a 90-day public comment period on the proposed changes began Thursday. It’s a safe bet that the sweetener industry will lobby both the FDA and Congress to weaken the new rules, as the industry will likely pay the highest price under the modified label requirements.

Within hours of the first lady’s announcement, Andrew Briscoe, CEO of the Sugar Association, pushed back against the proposed sugar labeling. “‘Added sugars’ labeling will only distract from the focus on monitoring total caloric intake and scientifically verified interventions to deal with obesity,” Briscoe said in a statement to The Huffington Post. “Consequently, the addition of the ‘added sugars’ subcategory will not be helpful to consumers, and lacks scientific merit.”

A spokesman for the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the group that represents processed food companies, did not return a request for comment.

The sweetener industry is used to getting its way in Washington. This is largely because many different kinds of sugars are produced in many different states. In Florida and Louisiana, the sugarcane farming industry is a powerful lobbying force. And in Minnesota and North Dakota, more than 720,000 acres of sugar beets are produced every year. In corn-heavy Iowa, refineries and farmers turn corn into high-fructose corn syrup, the preferred sweetener for soft drinks. These three regions add up to a lot of pro-sugar votes in Congress.

By adding a clear line on food labels for added sugars, the new guidelines will make it much easier for consumers to tell the difference between products that may look and taste similar, but contain very different amounts of sugar.

For example, a Cherry Mixed Fruit Cup from Dole currently contains 15 grams of sugar, according to the label. A similar Dole fruit cup of diced peaches with no sugar added contains one-third that amount, only 5 grams of sugar total. Under the new labels, the extra 10 grams of added sugar in the cherry fruit cup would be easy to spot, and the FDA predicts that the lower-sugar products will become more popular with consumers.

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Health and Fitness – The Huffington Post
Obama Administration Announces Sweeping Update To Nutrition Labels

WASHINGTON (AP) — Those “Nutrition Facts” labels that are plastered on nearly every food package found in grocery stores are getting a new look.

Calories would be in larger, bolder type, and consumers for the first time would know whether foods have added sugars under label changes being proposed by the Obama administration. Serving sizes would be updated to make them more realistic. A serving of ice cream, for example, would double to a full cup, closer to what people actually eat.

The proposed overhaul comes as science has shifted. While fat was the focus two decades ago when the labels first were created, nutritionists are now more concerned with how many calories we eat. And serving sizes have long been misleading, with many single-serving packages listing multiple servings, so the calorie count is lower.

The idea isn’t that people should eat more; it’s that they should understand how many calories are in what they are actually eating. The Food and Drug Administration says that by law, serving sizes must be based on actual consumption, not ideal consumption.

“Our guiding principle here is very simple, that you as a parent and a consumer should be able to walk into your local grocery store, pick up an item off the shelf and be able to tell whether it’s good for your family,” said first lady Michelle Obama, who was to join the Food and Drug Administration in announcing the proposed changes Thursday at the White House.

Mrs. Obama was making the announcement as part of her Let’s Move initiative to combat child obesity, which is celebrating its fourth anniversary. On Tuesday, she announced new Agriculture Department rules that would reduce marketing of unhealthy foods in schools.

The new nutrition labels are likely several years away. The FDA will take comments on the proposal for 90 days, and a final rule could take another year. Once it’s final, the agency has proposed giving industry two years to comply.

The FDA projects food companies will have to pay around $2 billion as they change the labels.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association, the industry group that represents the nation’s largest food companies, did not respond to any specific parts of the proposal but called it a “thoughtful review.”

President Pamela Bailey also said it was important to the food companies that the labels “ultimately serve to inform, and not confuse, consumers.”

It was still not yet clear what the final labels would look like. The FDA offered two labels in its proposal — one that looks similar to the current version but is shorter and clearer and another that groups the nutrients into a “quick facts” category for things like fat, carbohydrates, sugars and proteins. There also would be an “avoid too much” category for saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium and added sugars; and a “get enough” section with vitamin D, potassium, calcium, iron and fiber.

Both versions list calories above all of those nutrients in a large, bold type.

The proposed rules would also overhaul serving sizes for soda and single-serving packages. Both 12-ounce and 20-ounce sodas would be considered one serving, and many single-serving packages — a bag of chips, a can of soup or a frozen entree, for example — would either be listed as a single serving or list nutrient information by serving and by container.

The inclusion of added sugars to the label was one of the biggest revisions. Nutrition advocates have long asked for that line on the label because it’s impossible for consumers to know how much sugar in an item is naturally occurring, like that in fruit and dairy products, and how much is added by the manufacturer. Think an apple vs. apple sauce, which comes in sweetened and unsweetened varieties.

According to the Agriculture Department’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, added sugars contribute an average of 16 percent of the total calories in U.S. diets. Though those naturally occurring sugars and the added sugars act the same in the body, the USDA says the added sugars are just empty calories while naturally occurring ones usually come along with other nutrients.

David Kessler, who was FDA commissioner when the first Nutrition Facts labels were unveiled in the early 1990s, said he thinks focusing on added sugars and calories will have a “demonstrative public health benefit.”

Kessler said the added sweetness, like added salt, drives overeating. And companies will adjust their recipes to get those numbers down.

“No food company wants products to look bad,” he said.

While some may ignore the panels, there’s evidence that more people are reading them in recent years as there has been a heightened interest in nutrition.

A USDA study released earlier this year said 42 percent of working adults used the panel always or most of the time in 2009 and 2010, up from 34 percent two years earlier. Older adults were more likely to use it.

___

Follow Mary Clare Jalonick on Twitter: http://twitter.com/mcjalonick

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Bodybuilding.com Mind Articles
7 Ways To Renew Your New Year's Resolutions
Have your New Year's resolutions fallen to the wayside? Don't give up yet. Get back on track with these motivational tips.

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Health and Fitness – The Huffington Post
Hawaii May Require Warning Labels On All Cell Phones
Do you love the sleek, simplistic design of your phone? If so, you might want to shop for your next upgrade somewhere other than the Aloha state, where a bill is threatening to require a relatively large warning label be displayed on all cell phones.

If Senate Bill 2571 SD1 is passed, all new and refurbished cell phones sold for profit in Hawaii would require a non-removable label on their backsides, covering at least 30 percent of the phones’ surfaces. In bold letters, the label would read, “To reduce exposure to radiation that may be hazardous to your health, please follow the enclosed safety guidelines.”

State Senator Josh Green, chair of the Hawaii Senate Health Committee, hopes that the conspicuous label will help people think more about electromagnetic radiation and change their cell phone habits, according to a report from KITV.

The original measure called for even more detailed language on the label — “This device emits electromagnetic radiation, exposure to which may cause brain cancer. Users, especially children and pregnant women, should keep this device away from the head and body” — but it has since been amended.

This is the first generation to have kids from age ten up to adulthood with cell phones right next to their heads and brains,” Green told KITV. “Brains are developing up to age 22 to 25, so I think we have to be safe.”

The label would direct users to a warning that most cell phone manufacturers already provide. Both the iPhone and Android user manuals contain health and safety sections that provide information on radiofrequency (RF) energy and recommendations to reduce exposure.

But Green worries that manuals alone will go unread. “If you don’t have a sticker that this is a potential health hazard then no one will ever know,” he said.

While cell phones do emit RF energy that can be absorbed by tissues closest to where the phone is held, current studies have not shown a consistent link between cell phone use and cancers of the brain, nerves, or other tissues of the head or neck.

Health risks aside, Communities Digital News recently pointed out why this legislation is aesthetically and economically “problematic”:

“For phones that do not have removable backs, Hawaii users will either cover them with fashion cases or resort to ordering their cell phones from out-of-state. … Economically, the mandate of non-removable, giant labels on cell phones means manufacturers and distributers will have a higher compliance cost for Hawaii phones. As if shipping phones to the islands wasn’t already a cost factor, now there is the production complexity of adding labels to the phones. The end result? Hawaii phones will be more expensive.”
Read the full CDN story here.

The bill, which was recently passed with amendments by the Hawaii Senate committees on Health and Technology and the Arts, has to be cleared by one more committee before advancing to the House.

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Stress News — ScienceDaily
Does more stress equal more headaches?
A new study provides evidence for what many people who experience headache have long suspected—having more stress in your life leads to more headaches.

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