U.S. Obesity Rates Begin to Level

After years of increasing, adult obesity rates remained stable in 45 states from 2015 to 2016, according to a new report from the Trust for America’s Health, a nonprofit health advocacy organization, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a philanthropic organization that funds health research.



Tomatoes No Longer Considered ‘Poison Apples’

Originating in Mesoamerica, tomatoes were part of the Aztecs’ diet as early as 700 A.D., but they weren’t grown in Britain until the 1590s. First arriving in southern Europe in the early 16th century via Spanish conquistadors returning from Mesoamerica, the tomato was considered a “poison apple”



Milk Proteins Make Edible  Wrapping

To create an all-around better packaging solution, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is developing environmentally friendly film made of the milk protein casein to wrap meats, cheese and other food items. “The protein-based films are powerful oxygen blockers that help prevent food spoilage,”


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Soda News

A new study corroborates previous studies that show switching to diet soda may not help cut calories. Diet drinks contain a chemical that boosts the appetite. Research published in the International Journal of Obesity found those who consumed diet drinks with aspartame felt hungrier than those who did not. As a result, they wound up consuming more calories. Experiments have additionally found aspartame may contribute to a condition called metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms that includes high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and a large waist size. Artificial sweeteners were found to have the same effect when used in tea or coffee. Other studies with mice found artificial sweeteners could cause humans to absorb more glucose.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) filed a lawsuit against Coca-Cola on Jan. 1, alleging the company and the American Beverage Association (ABA) spent billions of dollars deceiving customers about the health risks of sugary drinks. The suit specifically takes aim at Coca-Cola and the ABA’s emphasis on “calories in, calories out” and exercise as the best ways to manage health. CSPI argues this ignores scientific evidence linking sugar-sweetened drinks to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. CSPI is demanding Coca-Cola and the ABA

disclose files on potential health implications of consuming sugar-sweetened drinks, fund a public health education campaign and end advertising aimed at children and marketing that implies drinking sugary beverages in not linked to health problems. “Each year, Coca- Cola spends billions of dollars on misleading and deceptive promotions and advertising that have enormous appeal to consumers, including children, which advertising effects persist over years,” the suit reads.

A few cities have imposed soda taxes, and a newly released study by Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health analyzed the effect if 15 of the largest U.S. cities passed a 1-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks. They found such laws would result in a nearly 20-percent decrease in soda consumptions in cities such as Los Angeles, Detroit and Denver. This tax could raise $942 million annually per city and almost $1 billion in annual revenue if more than the 15 largest cities imposed such a tax. The study suggests soda taxes in these 15 large cities would result in a 6-percent drop in diabetes and the prevention of 58,220 cases of obesity. In November, Boulder, Colo., joined three other cities in California’s Bay Area, including San Francisco, in passing soda taxes. In the Bay

Area, the three cities’ combined annual revenue from the sweetened beverage taxes is expected to exceed $22 million. Philadelphia passed a 1.5-cent-per- ounce soda tax in June that is expected to bring in $91 million annually. The revenue is earmarked to expand pre-K programs, improve parks and offer tax credit for businesses that sell healthy beverages.

Alkaline-Based Diet Creator Faces 3-Year Prison Term

The creator of the bogus alkaline diet eating plan, Robert Young, is facing a three-year prison term in the United Kingdom for two counts of practicing medicine without a license. It was discovered he bought his doctorate from a correspondence school. Young, who wrote the book “The pH Miracle,” claimed certain foods caused the body’s pH levels to become acidic and this acidity in the blood was the cause of diseases. Young’s theories were embraced by actress Kate Hudson and a popular UK food writer, Natasha Corrett. Previously, Young advised Naima Houder-Mohammed, a British army officer dying from breast cancer, to pay him thousands of dollars for his alkaline treatment. The treatment was largely just baking soda administered intravenously. Houder-Mohammed and her family paid Young a total of $77,000. After being at Young’s “pH Miracle Ranch” for three months, her condition worsened and she went to the hospital. She died at age 27. The Medical Board of California began an investigation of Young’s ranch in 2011. It discovered none of the 15 cancer patients Young treated outlived their prognoses. One woman died from congestive heart failure after receiving 22 intravenous baking soda drips over 31 days, at a cost of $550 each. Young also faces a retrial on other charges and another civil lawsuit filed by a woman with stage 4 cancer who claims Young advised her against medical treatments in favor of his drips.   


Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

more articles by Angela s. hoover