Soda companies finally relent

Coca Cola

In a stunning announcement today, the largest soda companies in the United States have agreed to find ways to have consumers drink less soda loaded with sugar. Coke, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper/Snapple have entered into a voluntary agreement with the Clinton Global Initiative to cut beverage calories consumed per person in the US by 20% by 2025. This is a stunning development and it’s an acknowledgement that these beverages contribute to the obesity crisis in this country and around the world.

The approach will be through a variety of tactics, involving marketing, packaging and distribution. Of course, the companies will do this in large part by marketing low-calorie or zero-calorie beverages that they own. The trends away from sugary soft drinks have become more pronounced, though in poorer areas not much has changed. Still, by changing the sizes of soft drinks and encouraging consumption of water and low-calorie drinks, this move can have a huge impact on public health over the years.

So if you have your own bad habit of consuming sugary soft drinks every day, now is the time to stop!

High Blood Pressure Still Not Managed Very Well

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The CDC has done a great job of making the public aware of the dangers of hypertension yet many don’t make the changes necessary to keep their high blood pressure under control.

High blood pressure quadruples the risk of a death from stroke and triples it for heart disease. So the CDC is pushing for more action.

Previously, public health officials and groups in the private sector unveiled Million Hearts, a campaign to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. One plank of that plan is to improve the proportion of people with controlled blood pressure to 65 percent from 46 percent.

So what will it take to achieve a goal like that? The CDC has some ideas.

Among them:

Take the blood pressure medicines you’ve been prescribed.
Lose weight and stop smoking.
Measure and keep track of your blood pressure between doctor visits.

Simple lifestyle changes like consuming less salt and sodium and sugar along with maintaining a healthy weight and getting regular exercise go a long way toward keeping your blood pressure down.

Hypertension is a contributing factor to stroke, and heart attack.

Lose The Weight By Replacing Late Night Junk Food With Healthy Treats

It is tempting to reach for sweet and salty snacks after a long of work but regular noshing can add to weight gain and poor health.

Replacing junk food with with healthy snacks filled with fiber and protein can stem cravings and provide nutritionally dense foods which are beneficial and filling.

Healthy Snacking Is Possible

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Snacking can be a necessary part of your daily routine.

When you’re not hungry enough for a meal but need to keep up your energy until the next meal a little nibble can be crucial.

Snacking rules have changed.

Empty calories and sweet treats are no longer the standard fare to quiet stomach grumblings at 3:30 in the afternoon; prime snack time.

Indulge in snacks when you are truly hungry and not out of a habit.

But do be prepared so that you don’t fill up on empty calories and junk food.

Keep healthy nutritious foods in reach but eat only when you’re hungry and can’t make it until the next meal.

This strategy will also help to prevent you from gorging yourself when you finally do sit down to a meal.

When to snack: Just because you always grab a granola bar and coffee at 10 a.m. doesn’t mean you should. Don’t snack because it’s part of your daily routine; do it when you’re a little bit hungry.

What to snack on: Keep these general guidelines in mind when choosing a snack: 150 to 250 calories, about 3 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein, and no more than 12 grams of fat. “Protein and fiber help you feel full and satisfied,” says Crandall. “So you shouldn’t feel the need to grab another snack soon after, and you’ll be less likely to overeat at your next meal.” Realistically, hitting all these markers with every snack is near impossible. So aim for overall balance. If one snack is short on protein, for instance, make sure your next one has a little extra. Find 19 healthy snack ideas.

How to snack: One word: mindfully. Treat each snack as a mini meal by taking one serving and, if possible, putting it on a plate, says Marissa Lippert, a registered dietitian in New York City and the founder of Nourish, a nutrition-counseling company. She recommends keeping a salad plate in your desk drawer at work. Why? We tend to associate a clean plate with satisfaction and a feeling of fullness (something an empty 100-calorie–pack wrapper may not supply).

Yo-yo Diets Haven’t Screwed Up Your Metabolism

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Don’t dispair if you are one of millions of dieters who have achieved weight loss success only to gain it all back, then repeat the cycle over and over again year after year.

Yo-yo dieting, as it is called, has been blamed for ruining metabolism and making it impossible for some to achieve real and permanent weight loss, however, a new study finds that this old wisdom may not be true.

The key to success is to keep a food journal and aim for healthy eating and exercise habits.

Weigh yourself weekly and don’t skip meals.

Being accountable to friends, family, doctor or trainers help.

Keeping a food and exercise journal keeps you accountable if only to yourself.

At the end of the study, which lasted a full year, researchers found something that they weren’t expecting: The yo-yo dieters fared just as well as the non-yo-yo dieters. There was no significant difference seen in the effect of diet or exercise, body fat percentage or lean muscle mass gained or lost.
“I was very surprised. People who have a history of weight cycling by definition have problems with lifestyle change for weight loss because they gain the weight back again,” McTiernan says. “I was surprised to find that, while many of them weighed more than the non-cyclers, they did just as well at losing weight with our lifestyle-change weight program as did women who did not have a weight cycling history.”

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