- Created on 25 September 2013
If you're a caffeine addict, join the club. Caffeine is the most widely used drug in the world. Caffeine is considered a drug because the effects of caffeine can change the way you act and feel. And like other drugs, you can also get addicted to caffeine and have withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking it.
Effects of Caffeine
Caffeine does have some benefits. It wakes up your brain and makes you feel more alert. Caffeine also can boost your energy level and keep you from feeling tired for a while. The effects of caffeine take about 30 to 45 minutes to occur. They last for eight to 10 hours.
The side effects of caffeine at higher doses include restlessness, anxiety, irritability, and insomnia. Withdrawal symptoms from high doses of caffeine can include headache and fatigue. Too much caffeine can cause your heart to beat faster. It can increase your blood pressure. Caffeine can also cause you to become dehydrated because caffeine is a diuretic, which means it increases the amount of urine you put out.
Coffee is what comes to mind when most people think "caffeine." Many items contain caffeine (energy drinks, teas, and some foods) but about 75 percent of the caffeine consumed in America comes from drinking coffee. That's not a bad thing because drinking coffee has been linked to a lot of benefits recently. These may include a decreased risk for:
Parkinson's diseaseStrokeProstate cancerDiabetesDepression
But it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Most of the benefits of drinking coffee come from ingredients in the bean other than caffeine. When it comes to the caffeine itself, there is a limit to how much is beneficial.
Amounts of Caffeine in Food and Drinks
Coffee may be the most common source of caffeine, but there are a lot of other sources. Cup for cup, tea has about half as much caffeine as coffee. Other sources include colas, energy drinks, over-the-counter medicines, chocolate, gum, and some snack foods.
When it comes to the amount of caffeine in drinks, don't try to guess how much by the size of your beverage. The amount of caffeine in coffee and tea depends on how they are brewed. Different brands can have different caffeine levels. One small energy drink could have the same amount of caffeine as a huge cup of coffee. You need to read labels.
You can get the complete list of caffeine amounts in food, drinks, and drugs at the website for the Center for Science in the Public Interest: http://www.cspinet.org/new/cafchart.htm.
How Much Caffeine Is Safe for You?
Most people do not have to worry about cutting back on caffeine as long as they are staying under about 500 milligrams. That's about four cups of coffee a day. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the average American consumes about 300 milligrams of caffeine per day.
Most experts agree that getting more than 600 milligrams of caffeine per day is too much. But if you are sensitive to caffeine, even one or two cups of coffee could cause side effects. Children may be very sensitive to the effects of caffeine. For pregnant women, the safe limit is only 200 milligrams.
You may need to be extra careful about caffeine if you have a heart condition, high blood pressure, or acid reflux disease. At high enough doses, caffeine can be deadly for anyone. A lethal dose is about 10 grams, which would be about 100 cups of coffee.
It's all about moderation. If you don't overdo it, caffeine can have some benefits. But I wouldn't recommend that you start a caffeine habit for the benefits. Remember that most of the health benefits from drinking coffee will also come from drinking decaf.
- Created on 24 September 2013
We're never spared the image a rock-hard pack of abs. But while we're busy being shamed for not having them, we're never told about how flab can have a big impact on your health. While belly fat may seem like more of a nuisance than a danger, this external marker is most likely the beacon of more serious internal, metabolic imbalances.
Here's some information that will help you get a handle on your belly fat.
Location, Location, Location
People store most of their fat in two ways – one you can see and one you can't. The fat you can see is just under the skin in the thighs, hips, buttocks, and abdomen. That's called subcutaneous (under the skin) fat. The fat you can't see is deeper inside, around the vital organs (heart, lungs, digestive tract, liver, and so on) in the chest, abdomen, and pelvis. That's called "visceral" fat. Many people are self-conscious about the fat they can see. But actually, it's the hidden fat — the visceral fat — that may be a bigger problem, even for thin people.
Like Another Organ
We all have visceral fat — and it isn't all bad. It provides necessary cushioning around organs. But, the fat doesn't just sit there. It makes lots of nasty substances. And having too much of it is linked to a greater chance of developing high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and certain cancers, including breast cancer and colon cancer.
How You Get Extra Visceral Fat
When a body's obese, it can run out of safe places to store fat and begin storing it in and around the organs, such as around the heart and the liver. What kind of problem does that create? Fatty liver disease was, until recently, very rare in non-alcoholics. But with obesity increasing, you have people whose fat depots are so full that the fat is deposited into the organs. In addition, more fat is also being deposited around the heart.
Checking Your Risk
The most precise way to determine how much visceral fat you have is to get a CT scan or MRI. But you don't need to go that far to get a sense of whether or not the fat inside you is putting your health at risk. Get a measuring tape, wrap it around your waist, and check your girth. Do it while you're standing up, and make sure the tape measure is level. For the minimal effect on your health, you want your waist size to be less than 35 inches if you're a woman and less than 40 inches if you're a man.
Having a "pear shape" — fatter hips and thighs — is considered safer than an "apple shape," which describes a wider waistline.
Thin People Have It, Too
But even if you're thin, you can still have too much visceral fat. t's partly about your genes. Some people have a genetic tendency to store visceral fat. It's also about physical activity. Visceral fat likes inactivity. A British study showed that thin people who maintain their weight through diet alone, skipping exercise, are more likely to have unhealthy levels of visceral fat. So the message is get active, no matter what size you are.
4 Steps for Beating Belly Fat
There are four keys to controlling belly fat: exercise, diet, sleep, and stress management.
1. Exercise: Vigorous exercise trims fat, including visceral fat. It can also slow down the build-up of visceral fat that tends to happen over the years. But forget spot-reducing. There aren't any moves you can do that specifically target visceral fat. Half an hour of vigorous aerobic exercise, done four times a week is ideal. Jog, if you're already fit, or walk briskly at an incline on a treadmill if you're not yet ready for jogging. Vigorous workouts on stationary bikes and elliptical or rowing machines are also effective.
Moderate activity – raising your heart rate for 30 minutes at least three times per week – also helps. It slows down how much visceral fat you gain. But to torch visceral fat, your workouts may need to be stepped up. Rake leaves, walk, garden, go to Zumba, play soccer with your kids. It doesn't have to be in the gym. If you are not active now, it's a good idea to check with your health care provider before starting a new fitness program.
2. Diet: There is no magic diet for belly fat. But when you lose weight on any diet, belly fat usually goes first. A fiber-rich diet may help. Hairston's research shows that people who eat 10 grams of soluble fiber per day — without any other diet changes — build up less visceral fat over time than others. That's as easy as eating two small apples, a cup of green peas, or a half-cup of pinto beans. Even if you kept everything else the same but switched to a higher-fiber bread, you might be able to better maintain your weight over time.
3. Sleep: Getting the right amount of shut eye helps. In one study, people who got six to seven hours of sleep per night gained less visceral fat over 5 years compared to those who slept five or fewer hours per night or eight or more hours per night. Sleep may not have been the only thing that mattered — but it was part of the picture.
4. Stress: It's unavoidable, but what you do with your stress matters.
- Created on 23 September 2013
Sept 19 (Reuters) - Home Depot Inc is shifting medical coverage for part-time workers to new public marketplace exchanges ahead of new benefits requirements under the U.S. Affordable Care Act, a spokesman said on Thursday.
The world's largest home improvement retail chain announced its move shortly after a similar announcement from Trader Joe's Co, a popular privately held grocery chain.
Home Depot's change would affect roughly 20,000 part-time workers who previously had chosen the limited liability medical plan the company offered, spokesman Stephen Holmes said.
After Dec. 31, companies can no longer offer those plans under the health law, also known as Obamacare.
"We're going to shift them over to the public exchanges, where there are more options," Holmes said.
The public exchanges being set up under the law will allow individuals to buy government-subsidized healthcare based on income. Enrollment begins on Oct. 1.
Until now, many restaurants and retailers offered workers limited liability plans that often provided less than $5,000 in coverage.
Home Depot's plans for part-time workers provided coverage of up to $20,000 depending on the plan and were administered by Aetna Inc.
Experts have said exchanges would provide more comprehensive coverage that may not cost more because government tax credits will help some workers offset premiums.
Some employers are opting to offer coverage through private health insurance changes.
Walgreen Co, the largest U.S. drugstore, and more than a dozen other large employers have said they would offer their employee insurance for 2014 through the Aon Hewitt Corporate Health Exchange.
Home Depot employs about 340,000 people and will continue to offer healthcare benefits to full-time employees, who will be paying more for that coverage next year due to higher healthcare costs, Holmes said.
- Created on 23 September 2013
Say bye-bye to the hot weather. No more worrying about how you look in bikinis, shorts, tank tops or halter tops. Now you can hide comfortably in pants, long-sleeved shirts, and sweaters. But can this still lead to discomfort when you step on the scale?
It's very likely.
There are a multitude of missteps that seem to sneak up on us in the fall that can lead to an unhappy situation about our weight. Here are a few of fall's "fat traps" and how to outsmart them.
1. Tempting seasonal food. No matter what your holiday-themed comfort food vice — pumpkin lattes? Heavy beers? Halloween candy? Broccoli cheddar soup in a bread bowl? There's a chance it's going to tempt you between Labor Day and New Year's.
The fix: There's no reason we shouldn't be able to enjoy festive treats, but too much of anything is bad news. So it doesn't hurt to hunt down ways to make your favorite holiday foods a little bit "lighter." Like going with skim milk in that gingerbread latte or cutting the sugar in your apple pie recipe.
2. It's cold outside so you skip your workout. Most of us are guilty of this. "It's too cold/rainy/dark out" can easily become the excuse du jour not to go to the gym or go for a run just about every du jour in the fall.
The fix: Indoor workouts, maybe at home? When the weather's bad or it's pitch black out at 5 p.m., nothing beats rolling out of bed, pulling on your yoga pants, and popping in a challenging fitness DVD. This could kick your butt harder than any elliptical at the gym could!
3. Parties, parties, parties! Sure, summer's a blast, but the real party season begins in the fall, thanks to tailgating, every Sunday turning into a mini-Super Bowl party, Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc. And when it feels like there's a "special occasion," we tend to give ourselves a free pass to forget smart eating.
The fix: Whether you're the host or the guest, you can provide a healthy dish you love. That way, if all the other pickings are fatty buffalo chicken wing dip and nachos, you're all set with at least one thing you can fill up on that's not totally evil.
4. Colder weather, bigger appetite. No, you're not imagining it — when your body's colder, your appetite is stimulated, because eating generates body heat. In fact, your body generates about 10 percent more heat on a full stomach than on an empty stomach.
The fix: Stay warm by wearing layers, cranking up the heat, hiding under the covers, or better yet — working out!