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hCG Injections for Weight Loss: Do They Really Work?

What if I told you that we've discovered the secret to weight loss—something so amazing, easy, and effective that it can help you drop several pounds a day, lose that stubborn belly fat for good, and finally "fix" your metabolism so that you'll never suffer from weight problems again? Sounds great, right?

All you have to do is never eat any brand name foods from big food companies, eliminate all artificial sweeteners, white sugar and flour (and a handful of other things), switch to a 100% organic diet, eat big salads at lunch and dinner, consume no more than 500 calories a day and inject yourself with a special "solution" each day while you do it. Your reaction to that should be "no thanks, I'll pass," but many others think it sounds like the weight-loss breakthrough they've been waiting for.

It's called the hCG diet. If you haven't heard of it, it's not your fault. Proponents of this diet claim that it's so effective that the government has worked hard to cover it up for years because it would solve obesity and health problems that would put pharmaceutical companies out of business.

That may seem plausible. I love a good conspiracy theory myself. But the deeper you dig, the more red flags you'll find about the hCG diet and its infamous injections.
Posted 7/24/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 211 comments   496,382 views
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Tempted by the Latest Fitness Gadget? Do Your Homework

We’re all familiar with the saying “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”  Yet it’s so easy to get sucked in by the big promises many health and fitness products make.  “Lose 10 pounds a week!”, “Get ripped abs with this one piece of equipment!”, or “Get the body you want without all the effort!” are some of the more extreme examples, but we spend billions of dollars every year hoping there is just a little bit of truth in their claims.  Before you get out your wallet, it’s a good idea to dig into these product claims further.  A new survey investigated the research supporting magazine advertisements and websites for a broad range of sports products.  The results might surprise you.
Posted 8/21/2012  6:00:00 PM By: Jen Mueller : 22 comments   12,163 views
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We Tried It: Adidas Adizero Feather 2 Running Shoes

Recently, I was asked if I wanted to try out a new pair of running shoes and blog about the experience.  I usually hesitate with things like this (because I’m picky about my running shoes), but was very intrigued by this product. Maybe these shoes could give me the Olympic speed I’ve been dreaming of!  Or, more realistically, perhaps they would feel good on my feet and give me a slightly different running experience.
Posted 8/14/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Jen Mueller : 26 comments   24,869 views
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It Pays to be a Label Reader

I often get teased by friends and family when they offer my children new foods.  My kids always look to me first to see if its okay, and many times I like to read the label before telling them they can dig in. Whether it’s a treat, a snack or something else, I just like to know what my kids are eating.  I’m not crazy about it and they try new foods frequently, but I do work hard to make sure they have a healthy, balanced diet most of the time. 
Posted 6/5/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Jen Mueller : 62 comments   19,397 views
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Cool Infographic: How Kids Consume Food Marketing

As some of you may remember, Coach Tanya recently blogged about how First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack joined celebrity chef Rachael Ray and announced last month that there will be changes to the school lunch program. To help support these new nutritional standards in schools, has created and shared the following infographic with statistics that share lifestyle, consumption, and media activity relating to children, which contribute to obesity in childhood (and for some, into adulthood).

Posted 2/16/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Denise Tausig : 22 comments   14,349 views
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Do We Want Kids Starting the Day with a Bowl of Sugar?

We’ve all heard how “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” and that it’s critical to give your kids a healthy meal before they head to school each day.  You’d think that cereal would be a good choice:  pair it with some milk, a piece of fruit, and they’ve got a well-rounded meal, right?  Well, not necessarily, especially if you’re not paying close attention to the label on the cereal box.  A new report shows that most cereals marketed to children do not meet voluntary federal nutrition guidelines.  Many have too much sugar, others have too much salt, not enough whole grains, etc.   Buyer beware…..
Posted 12/9/2011  2:00:00 PM By: Jen Mueller : 28 comments   10,891 views
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Will You Have A Gold Star Shopping Plan?

Last month I shared information about the new voluntary Facts Up Front package labeling system proposed by the GMA (Grocery Manufacturers Association) and the FMI (Food Marketing Institute). I also mentioned that the IOM (Institute of Medicine) would be providing their consensus report and recommendations as well. Well, the IOM has released their final report and recommendations for front-of-package nutrition rating systems and symbols to help promote healthier food choices. It looks like instead of playing the game of red light, green light, they would rather give us gold stars.
Posted 11/3/2011  6:00:00 PM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 51 comments   10,639 views
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Glucerna Hunger Smart Snack Bars and Shakes

Editor's Note:  This is a sponsored post from a SparkPeople advertiser.

Whether you want to lose weight or simply eat healthier, enjoying a couple of snacks each day is a smart habit for many people. Eating a planned snack between meals can help curb your hunger and prevent overeating at mealtime while also increasing energy levels when you need a boost. Snacks also offer an additional benefit for people with diabetes by helping to optimize blood glucose control. Snack bars and drinks have become popular because they offer portable, convenient, pre-packaged options especially when people are living on the go. Now people with diabetes have a delicious way to stick to their weight loss plan AND enjoy snack options without worrying about throwing off their blood glucose levels.
Posted 10/10/2011  10:00:00 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 25 comments   29,298 views
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Will Photo Editing Eventually be a Thing of the Past?

I've never been a big fan of fashion magazines for a number of reasons.  First, I've never considered myself to be a "fashionista".  If you saw me on the street, my standard outfit is usually sweatpants and a t-shirt.  Second, I always end up irritated at the pictures of skinny models in the advertisements and articles.  These images are unrealistic to 99.9% of the people looking at them, yet so many (especially young girls) strive to look this way and beat themselves up when they fall short.  Some of these models truly look like the pictures portray, but most have the benefit of photo-editing software (commonly referred to as "Photoshopping") to smooth out every line and give a look of perfection.  Now the American Medical Association (AMA) has adopted a policy discouraging this practice.
Posted 7/7/2011  10:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 50 comments   11,416 views
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'Toning' Shoes for Girls: What Do You Think?

I'll admit that I'm very conservative when it comes to what my daughter wears. You'll probably never see her wearing short shorts with writing on the backside (at least as long as I am buying her clothes). I'm not a fan of clothes that promote specific brands, whether it's Nike or the Disney Princesses. I don't look down on anyone who makes different choices for their children- I'm just doing what I think is best for mine.

One of the latest products to come on the market for young girls is Sketchers Shape-Ups. Sketchers CEO compares the shoes to Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign for kids, saying they designed to encourage more childhood physical activity. He says the product is only promoting exercise, which is good for kids. Personally, I'm not completely buying that reasoning, and as you can already guess, I will not be buying the product.

Posted 5/26/2011  10:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 221 comments   19,925 views
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McDonald's New Campaign for Kids: No Good or No Big Deal?

I don't watch much TV these days, so maybe I've missed it. But it seems like anytime I've seen a recent McDonald's commercial, Ronald McDonald is no where to be found. I remember those commercials as a kid- he was always buddies with the children, handing them some French fries to put a smile on their faces. But for those of you that thought Ronald might be a thing of the past, think again. McDonald's is launching a new series of ads, encouraging kids to interact with him online.
Posted 4/14/2011  2:09:56 PM By: Jen Mueller : 144 comments   17,570 views
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New Wendy's 'Natural-Cut' Fries: Are They Any Healthier?

In a recent 2010 Zagat Fast-Food Survey, Wendy's French fries came in at number four behind industry leader McDonald's, up-and-comer Five Guys and In-N-Out Burger. Perhaps that is why after 41-years, Wendy's has redesigned their fries.

In an attempt to enhance flavor and texture, the new "natural-cut" fries include the skin and sea salt seasoning. They have been designed to be a hotter and crispier fry. The new 100 percent Russet potatoes made their nationwide debut a few weeks ago but they have just arrived in restaurants in our area. They seem to be another focus on wholesome ingredients to appeal to the nutrition conscious just as their new salads were earlier this year. So how do they measure up?

Posted 11/30/2010  6:27:18 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 126 comments   38,881 views
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Fast Food for Kids: They're Still Marketing and We're Still Buying

For most American children, fast food is a regular part of their day. Whether they are eating it or seeing ads for it on T.V., fast food part of the routine. And according to a new survey, children are seeing more ads and are eating it more than ever before. Although the fast food industry has vowed to promote healthier food options to kids, that’s not exactly what’s happening.
Posted 11/19/2010  10:14:37 AM By: Jen Mueller : 48 comments   12,119 views
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The Extreme 'Baby Carrots' Ads: Will They Work?

Last week, Coach Nicole sent me a link to this video. That morning, I had driven past a large orange billboard near our office. "So what if our name doesn't end in 'itos'?" it read. As I drove past, I also caught a glimpse of the words "baby carrots."

After a bit of research online, I learned that Bugs' favorite treat is getting an extreme makeover. "An alliance of 50 carrot farmers is investing an initial $25 million" to market the crunchy snacks. A big-name advertising company is creating splashy billboards, TV, social media/online ads, and new packaging that will make carrots look like junk food. Plus, they plan carrot vending machines in schools. The push to make carrots the No. 1 snack in America isn't only about our waistlines. It's also about the bottom line: The farmers hope to double the $1 billion carrot market in the next couple of years or so, according to the Associated Press.

The carrots have a Facebook account, Twitter feed and a homepage, upon which they say:

"A BUNCH OF CARROT FARMERS™ is made up of, well, a bunch of carrot farmers. Our mission: To get folks to eat more carrots. Then get their friends to eat more carrots. Then get their friends' friends to eat more carrots. And so on and so forth, until carrots are the official favorite food of everyone, everywhere.

"Powerfully crunchy. Subtly sweet. Gloriously versatile. Mischievously addictive. Perfectly orange. What more could you possibly want in a food? Nothing...the answer is nothing.

"If you fancy yourself a loud and proud Carrot Farmer — whether your harvest yields one pound or one million — join the crusade to make carrots the most demanded and universally loved food on earth."

That leads me to some questions…
Posted 9/14/2010  12:01:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 134 comments   18,140 views
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Decoding the Mystery of Food Labels

I consider myself to be a conscientious label-reader at the grocery store. As a general rule of thumb, I don't buy products that contain a long list of ingredients with words I can't pronounce. If I have no clue what is in the product, I assume it's probably not the best thing to be putting into my body or serving to my family. But sometimes it's overwhelming and confusing. Companies do their best to convince us their products are good for us, even if they aren't. Do words like "all-natural" and "organic" mean "healthy"? Not necessarily.
Posted 7/30/2010  12:30:14 PM By: Jen Mueller : 42 comments   14,985 views
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