Saturday, 9 June 2007

Remember to count beverage calories also

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When counting calories on a diet (or as part of a healthy lifestyle), do you remember to count all the calories in those soft drinks, alcoholic beverages and other drinks? Be sure that you do!

Soft drinks and "fake" fruit drinks often have a ton of calories in them, and these are called "empty calories" since they don't really do anything for you besides going to the gut or waistline.

A solution? As hard as it sounds, try an all-water beverage lifestyle. It's fine to have an occasional glass of wine or something similar (like 100% real fruit juice) in moderation, but nothing is as refreshing as ice-cold water. And surprise -- there are no calories here.

Andy Garcia loves acting, golf, and Pilates

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Andy Garcia has been physically active his entire life, playing basketball and baseball as a teen, even with hopes of possibly turning professional one day. Life had a different direction in store for him, however, and today he's a Hollywood celebrity starring in blockbuster movies like The Untouchables, The Godfather: Part III, and the Ocean's trilogy. At 51 years old he's staying active and looks great, which he attributes to his Pilates workout routine. He says the core strengthening he gets from his Pilates regimen is not only great for keeping in shape, but it's been the best thing for relieving some of the back and disc problems he's had over the years (not to mention his golf game).

I don't think many men consider Pilates a masculine way to be healthy and strong, but hopefully Andy Garcia can help change that stigma a little! And for more fun celebrity fitness habits check out our regular feature "We love to gawk at fit celebs."

The key to looking younger could lie in your sex life

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I saw a clip on some entertainment show last night on Joan Collins. She told the cameras that she's against plastic surgery and instead, her secret for looking young is having sex at least three times a week. What a coincidence, because I just came across this article that says the exact same thing.

That's not to say that you should start being promiscuous -- that holds a whole new set of problems, and the study really only connects beneficial results to couples in long-term ,stable relationships. Still, if you're in a relationship, here's one less reason to use to 'I've got a headache' excuse, and it you don't have to spend an arm and a leg on fancy anti-aging creams with lofty promises.

Five low-cholesterol meals

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Sometimes it's hard to give up tasty meals that are bad for your health but taste soooo good. Sure, there are healthy meals that taste delicious and are healthy, but finding the right combination of foods and flavors that doesn't break the fat and cholesterol bank can be time consuming.

An old adage I used to say was that "anything that tasted good was bad for you," although I've left that phrase behind in recent years as my cookbook has been refined.

Are you looking for some tasty meals (yes, they'll require preparation) that don't go overboard on the cholesterol but which are scrumptious nonetheless? View these recipes and see if you have a favorite. Mine is Roasted Salmon with mustard and horseradish.

New migraine drug on the horizon

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There's promising research being done to help migraine sufferers: so far in tests a new medication has been helping 2/3 of those taking it find relief. Called MK-0974 (it hasn't gotten a fancy commercial name yet) it's the first of a new type of migraine meds called (deep breath) oral calcitonin-gene-related peptide receptor antagonists, or CGRP receptor antagonists.

Triptans are currently the most prescribed medications for migraine relief, but they aren't always effective and some people can't even take them. This new medication will hopefully help the 30% of patients currently without effective help from prescriptions.

Unfortunately, MK-0974 won't be available until 2009, at the earliest.

Eat less, feel fuller: Symlin may do the trick

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Here we go again! More hope that there's a way to eat less and lose weight without feeling hungry: research shows that a fullness hormone just might do that trick.

Symlin, which is a synthetic version of the natural hormone 'amlin' and is often used to treat diabetes, was recently studied to see how it affected the appetites of obese men and postmenopausal women. Compared to a placebo, the people taking Symlin injections prior to meals ate significantly fewer calories daily over a six week period and ended up losing quite a bit more weight -- all without feeling hungry.

No word just yet on how (or if) this will make it to the general population (I'm thinking injections before every meal are a little painful!), but it seems promising. But is it too promising? Sounds a little "too good to be true," and that's always a red flag.

Counting calories: good or bad?

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Do you count calories? While using the tried-and-true method of paper and pencil can be a chose, it can also be a powerful tool to precisely track what you are putting into your body and how those items translate to caloric intake.

The Weight Watchers system has attempted to simplify this using a "points" system that is very easy to use, and there are other methods as well that will let dieters track calories (roughly) so that a diet can be successful.

There are even programs for cellphones, Palms, and MP3 players that can track calories electronically and easily. Once you choose a method and it works for you, tr to smuggle that method into your daily lifestyle where yo can "guesstimate" calories from within many food categories. Why?

Well, because tool-less calorie counting done with a vast amount of experience can make for an overall better food and beverage lifestyle -- and that leads to better health. In other words, make sure you calorie counting eventually becomes second nature.

Gymnastics helps kids build strong bones

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If you want your kids to have stronger bones and avoid osteoporosis later in life, encouraging gymnastics and other high-impact sports activities before they hit puberty could really help. Research shows that girls who participate in gymnastics, particularly artistic gymnastics, have much greater bone density than girls who are active in other less strenuous activities.

The keys are jumping, sprinting, and rapid direction changes, which all put stress on the bones and encourage them to grow stronger. So some sports besides gymnastics can also be good for bone development such as basketball, soccer, and lacrosse to name a few.

Water-rich foods can help you lose weight

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Skipping meals isn't the trick to losing weight. In fact, researchers from Pennsylvania State University state that if you pick the right foods you can eat more satisfying portions and still lose weight. If you're trying to shed a few pounds, choose low-calorie-dense foods like fruits and vegetables. These tend to be high in water content and low fat. Researchers also included lean meats, low-fat dairy, and soups in their recommendations. (Choose low-sodium, broth-based soups, though. Cream-based soups can be quite high in calories.)

The research team compared 71 obese women, half of whom ate a reduced-fat diet and the other half ate a reduced-fat diet that included a larger amount of water-rich foods. After one year, both groups had lost weight, but the water-rich food group averaged a higher weight loss (19.6 pounds vs. 14.7 pounds). In addition the women on the reduced-fat/water-rich food diet ate approximately 25% more than the other group and they reported fewer feelings of hunger.

Double pregnancy: Twins born to two women

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Kristin over at ParentDish just posted about Twins born to different mothers. For 12 years a couple had undergone IVF treatments in an attempt to have another child. Because of a problem with her immune system, doctors determined that Amy Bernaba was unlikely to get pregnant again. They decided on an unusual option -- fertilized eggs were implanted into Mrs. Bernaba and a surrogate. Odds were against both women getting pregnant, but that was the result. Months later, two baby girls -- fraternal twins -- were born within a half-hour of one another.

Both pregnancies were straightforward and uncomplicated. Mrs. Bernaba delivered by C-section and Torry Keay, the surrogate mother, was induced so the girls were delivered at nearly the same time. The two women have become close friends during their pregnancies.