Author Archives: Holly Pennebaker

Fast food ingredients cause addiction similar to opiates, cocaine, heroin

VIDEO:  Fast food and cravings

(Photo: WCPO, Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

(Photo: WCPO, Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Just what, exactly, is it about a cheeseburger, fries and a soft drink that’s so hard to resist?

You’ve vowed to eat fresh and clean, whether your intention is to lose weight, better your body or hike your health, but when you’re out and it’s dinner time, a drive thru or quick service counter seems to draw you in and make your healthy eating promise disappear.

Maybe it’s the convenience, maybe it’s the fact that you can get a meal for only a few dollars, but chances are – the quick (preservative-packed, high-calorie) menu options tickle your taste buds … and your fancy.

There’s not much to it: possibly bread, either beef, chicken or fish, a few veggies and some ketchup, plus a side of salty, greasy potatoes, but Americans cannot seem to keep away from fast food.

When you consume a fast food meal, you’re also eating a side of additive ingredients that are, indeed, addictive.

Fast food items are “pumped full of flavor enhancements and colorings to make the cheap food appealing and edible,” according to One Green Planet.

The publication cites five ingredients in fast food that cause your unstoppable cravings for fast … and fattening fare.
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Soda or pop? Call it what you want, dangers hide in both

(Photo: Creative Commons)

(Photo: Creative Commons)

You can order a soda out west or while in New York, a pop when you’re up north or a Coke when down south, but either way, you’re ordering one of the most unhealthy beverages you can get your hands on.

“Fizzy drinks” – the brown, clear and yellow – all contain ingredients that do some serious damage to your body.

Let’s call the drink “pop” since we’re in Cincinnati, and remain regionally correct. But let’s also break down the scary stuff that hides in each bottle and can.

COCA-COLACarbonated water, high-fructose corn syrup, caramel color, phosphoric acid, natural flavors, caffeine

– Carbonated water is purported to prevent calcium absorption, thus increases the risk of osteoporosis, the Mayo Clinic says.

– High-fructose corn syrup is linked to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and high triglyceride levels … a recipe for a higher risk of heart disease. Other risks include heart attacks, strokes, cancer and dementia, according to Dr. Mark Hyman and theHuffington Post .

– Consumer Reports calls caramel color a “potential carcinogen,” thanks to the chemical 4-methylimidazole (4-MeI).

“Given that coloring is deliberately added to foods, the amount of 4-MeI in them should pose a negligible risk, which is defined as no more than one excess cancer case in 1 million people,” says Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., toxicologist and executive director of Consumer Reports’ Food Safety & Sustainability Center. “There’s no reason why consumers should be exposed to an avoidable and unnecessary risk that can stem from coloring food brown.”

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Trans fat fright: A food’s label says ‘0 trans-fat’ – so what?

(Photo: WCPO, Joe Raedle/Getty Images with added graphic)

(Photo: WCPO, Joe Raedle/Getty Images with added graphic)

Yeah, so your food product’s label says ‘zero trans fat,’ but are you sure you’re safe?

Sad but true.

Many packaged foods claim a false fame — that they contain no trans fat, but in all reality, they have plenty of it.

Dietary trans fatty acids (a.k.a. trans fats) are manmade, and come from foods with partially hydrogenated oil (formed when hydrogen is added to liquid oil).

Compared to naturally occurring fat, artificial trans fat is cheap, which makes it a go-to for many manufacturers, as it also increases food’s shelf life.

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene completed a recent study, in which they examined more than 4,000 packaged food bestsellers. Eighty-four percent of the packaged foods actually contained trans fat even though their nutrition label claimed otherwise, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

According to the publication, the FDA allows foods to be trans fat free if they contain less than .5 grams.

If it were up to doctors, food labels wouldn’t be so misleading … and consumers would totally avoid trans fat.

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Your diagnosis: Docs often get some diseases wrong

What’s going on … really?

(Photo: WCPO, Adam Berry/Getty Images)

(Photo: WCPO, Adam Berry/Getty Images)

A trip to the doctor’s office may be your first stop to seek treatment for new body pains, uncomfortable symptoms and maybe even a stomach ache, but a new report suggests doctors might have a hard time identifying your health holdup.

The report from says that you might even be your own best doctor, just by listening to what your body tells you. Think about your recent activity when you experience pain in your limbs or joints, or your diet when it comes to digestive issues.

“A lot of symptoms are nonspecific and variable, depending on the person,” David Fleming, MD, president of the American College of Physicians and a professor of medicine at the University of Missouri said. “On top of that, many diagnostic tests are expensive and aren’t done routinely, and even then they don’t always give us a black and white answer.”

So when (and if) your doc is mistaken, which diseases are the trickiest to name and tame? lists some of the most difficult diseases for doctors to diagnose:

1. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBS has no real test to prove it exists, but instead, the diagnosis follows a process of elimination (similar to detection of food allergies). Patients with IBS suffer abdominal pain, cramping, bloating and diarrhea for at leas six months before they undergo a formal evaluation, with symptoms present for at least three days in a row.

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Study: Maternity leave should last longer

VIDEO: Study suggests 18 weeks of maternity leave

(Photo: WCPO,  Sarah Ivey-Pool/Getty Images)

(Photo: WCPO, Sarah Ivey-Pool/Getty Images)

CINCINNATI — To make sure new mothers maintain proper health, they should consider taking longer maternity leaves from work, according to a new study out of Australia.

Researchers believe the extended time off work will ensure the safety of new moms when it comes to sleep habits, as feeling “excessive sleepiness” is likely during the first four months of motherhood.

Emily Kaniecki is a nurse who lives in Norwood with her 15-month-old son, Miles. She said a day of work can be risky if she was up caring for Miles through the night.

Her work shifts last between 13 – 14 hours. When she gets home, Kaniecki said she can’t go to sleep until she’s finished giving Miles his bath and feeding him dinner. Then, she wakes up at 5 a.m. the next morning.

“Nurses are sleep deprived as it is, on top of having a 15-month-old who is constantly on the go,” she said. “I worry about decisions that I make and if my mind is working the way that it should be.”

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So you’re thinking of fasting? Read this first

(Photo, WCPO, Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)

(Photo, WCPO, Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)

Fasting has its benefits, research shows, but there is plenty of information to know ahead of time to make sure it’s done safely.

With a variety of different fasts, it’s important to establish a reason to go without food, as well as be prepared for the body’s possible responses.

Registered dietician Lisa Andrews of Cincinnati’s Sound Bites Nutrition believes the practice yields some red flags, so fasting is an exercise that requires some prerequisite homework.

1. How does fasting safely help you lose weight?

Andrews has seen fasting gain pulsing popularity for weight loss programs over the past few years.

Fasting may improve insulin resistance , which may help with weight loss,” Andrews said. “Fasting through simple starvation results initially in loss of glycogen (carbohydrate in storage) and water.  The pancreas secretes a hormone called glucagon, which signals the liver to release glycogen in a process called glycogenolysis.”

Within the first 24 hours of fasting, glycogen is depleted. However, there are some cases where this loss comes with a warning.

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An electrifying answer to your fitness goals

(Photo: WCPO, Creative Commons)

(Photo: WCPO, Creative Commons)

Chances are you laid out your gym clothes, set your alarm, and hopped into bed last night plans to go straight to the gym this morning.

But when your alarm sounded, your plans to workout were suddenly squashed because it was too easy to turn off the alarm, roll over and go back to sleep.

Maybe you thought that because you slept in, you’d save energy through your day at work and head to the gym when your shift ended.

But at the end of your shift, you decided that a power nap and a small bite to eat were better options at the time.

Before you know it, the sun sets and your bedtime rolls around – all before you even laced up your tennis shoes.

An answer to your excuses and lack of motivation could come out soon.

A new fitness band is designed to deliver an electric shock when you slack off – a jolt to get you going.
The Pavlock fitness band, according to Victoria Wolk of Prevention Magazine, will send 340 volts of electric current your way if you fall short of your fitness goals.

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Report: Yogurt nutrition label caught telling a lie

(Photo: WCPO, Getty Images)

(Photo: WCPO, Getty Images)

Your favorite yogurt may not be as healthy as you think.

Nutritionists at Consumer Reports recently put their heads together to test 27 different yogurt brands for taste and nutrition, when they stumbled upon a peculiar find.

The nutrition label on Whole Foods’ 365 Everyday Value fat free plain Greek yogurt shows each 8-ounce cup contains only two grams of sugar… wait, just two?

“That seemed really low,” Amy Keating of Consumer Reports said. “The other plain Greek yogurts we looked at had five to 10 grams of sugar per cup.”

Keating and her team put the remarkably low-in-sugar yogurt to the test, and sure enough, six samples of the Whole Foods yogurt were found to contain an average of 11 grams of sugar per cup. The nutrition label’s number is about 20 percent of the actual count.

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Are you eating gas? TBHQ lurks in snacks, other foods

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 12.13.24 AM

That’s right. Gas. A form of butane lurks in some of your favorite snack foods and quick eats – the same chemical that’s used in the stabilization process of explosive compounds.

TBHQ is short for Tertiary Butylhydroquinone. When used as an additive ingredient in some foods, TBHQ fights food odors and foul tastes, and basically keeps food on the shelf longer. Think about it – you buy a box of tasty snack crackers, and weeks later, they still taste the same as when you first opened the box. It’s food – at its natural state, it doesn’t last that long.

Foods most commonly known for containing TBHQ include crispy snacks and many fast food items, but TBHQ is also found outside of meals and snacks. Infant skincare products, varnish, lacquers and resins commonly contain TBHQ.

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 12.14.43 AM

Natural News writer Shona Botes raises quite the question: The FDA says up to .02 percent of the total oils in food to be TBHQ is safe, but why would a “safe” additive need to be limited to such a small amount?

Maybe we should avoid TBHQ in its entirety, considering the risks of consuming more than the allowed dose. According to Botes, eating between one and four grams of TBHQ can cause nausea, delirium, collapse, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and vomiting.

Many foods that have TBHQ in their ingredients are often part of children’s diets, like snack crackers, french fries and chicken tenders. When kids are exposed to high doses of TBHQ, they are more likely to have hyperactivity, asthma, rhinitis and dermatitis, ADHD and restlessness.

Studies of TBHQ in labs showed prolonged TBHQ consumption caused more serious conditions like cancerous precursors, DNA damage and altered estrogen levels in women.

Considering the risks of consuming TBHQ, maybe the FDA should reconsider it’s .02 percent allowance.

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60 secrets, tips and tricks to eat clean, healthy on your busiest days

VIDEO: Eating healthy on the go

(Photo: WCPO, Creative Commons)

(Photo: WCPO, Creative Commons)

You’re busy. Really busy.

Don’t you dare go through a drive-thru… or try to feel “full” from a coffee or soda… or journey to the vending machine… or reach into a baggie full of preservatives (a.k.a snacks)… you get the point.

Eating clean and healthy foods on the go can be very tough, especially when our jam-packed schedules keep us from sitting down to enjoy a prepared, balanced meal.

So how can you maintain your nonstop day, and also a diet of wholesome food choices?

I dug deep to find options — a lot of ’em.

Rounded up from some of today’s most well-known health and fitness publications, to the team at WCPO 9 On Your Side and the Tri-State community, here are 60 ways you can blend your busy lifestyle with beneficial fare that’s good for your body:

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