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Health News You Can Use | Vol. 24 No. 1 | Nov-Dec 2013

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E-CIGARETTES CONTAIN DEADLY CARCINOGENS

E-cigarettes are a big business, claiming to be less harmful than traditional tobacco cigarettes. In 2012, the e-cigarette industry recorded more than $1 billion in sales. But are they safer? France’s National Consumer Institute magazine released a study claiming that e-cigarettes actually contain a significant quantity of carcinogens, and that 3 in 10 e-cigarettes contain the same amount of formaldehyde and acrolein as traditional cigarettes.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the US Food and Drug Administration is contemplating further regulations on e-cigarettes. The new regulations will ban the sale of e-cigarettes online. The Seal Beach, California City Council already banned the sale of them for 45 days while further health risk are researched.

Yahoo News, “Study Says E-cigarettes May Contain Carcinogens Similar to Regular Cigarettes,” Aug. 27, 2013.

ENERGY DRINKS LINKED TO DEATHS

Energy drinks are extremely popular, but studies continue to show how dangerous they are. In November, the FDA reported 40 illnesses and 5 deaths linked to Monster brand energy drinks, 13 illnesses, including 2 long-term disabilities, linked to Rockstar, and 92 illnesses and 13 deaths linked to the 5-hour energy shots.

Some of the adverse events linked to these energy products include deafness, miscarriage, deaths from suicide or heart attack, irregular heartbeat, psychotic episodes, and stroke. These can all be traced to the extremely high levels of caffeine in these products, which, according to WebMD, causes “restlessness, nervousness, insomnia, and tremors. High doses can also trigger seizures and unstable heart rhythm.” In June 2013, the American Medical Association supported a ban on marketing these products to children under 18.

WebMD, “More Deaths, Illness Linked to Energy Drinks,” Nov. 16, 2012, www.webmd.com; Fox News, “AMA Supports Ban on Marketing Energy Drinks to Kids,” www.foxnews.com, June 19, 2013.

PREGNANT? DON’T STOP MOVING!

Most people think pregnancy is not a time to watch your weight, but new studies show that most pregnant women don’t get enough exercise, with negative consequences. The study showed that pregnant women spend 75% of their waking hours being sedentary.

Excessive weight gain during pregnancy is linked to preeclampsia, obesity after delivery, and also increases the infant’s risk of childhood obesity. Conversely, adequate and proper exercise during pregnancy can help reduce back pain, insomnia, and increase energy. Pregnant women who were active and busy during most of the day burned more calories and could better ward off unhealthy extra weight gain, compared to women who exercised only 30 minutes a day.

HealthDay,Move More to Control Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Study,” www.nlm.nih.go, Aug 23, 2013.

ARE FARM FISH SAFE?

According to the Earth Policy Institute, this year may be the first year we consume more farm-raised fish than fish caught in the wild. And, as of 2011, production of farmed fish has topped the production of beef.

However, some of the same problems seen in factory-raised beef are now being seen in farm-raised fish, including overcrowding, disease, pollution, and unnatural diets. Close proximity means that disease quickly spreads through a farm fish population, even to nearby populations of wild fish. Like beef, fish are being given antibiotics, vitamins, and artificial pigments to combat rampant viruses and disguise their lack of nutrition. Fish farms also pollute nearby waterways. Furthermore, their nutritional content is altered. Farmed salmon contains far more omega-6 (from a grain-based diet) while wild salmon contain more omega-3. And, disturbingly, studies show that 70 to 80 % of fish marked “wild” are actually farmed.

Why not try going vegan? Studies have shown that a plant-based diet high in whole grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables is optimal for health.

The Food Revolution Network, “The Truth About Fish,” www.foodrevolution.org, Sept. 4, 2013.

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