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CONTEST CLOSED: Giveaway: Gut-Friendly Probiotic Drinks from GoodBelly


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ANYVAR54

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If you suffer from tummy troubles, you may have heard that eating yogurt will help get your digestive system back in shape. However, yogurt isn't the answer for everyone. If you are lactose intolerant, vegan, or just don't like the taste of dairy, you could be missing out on some major gut-friendly probiotic cultures. But don't worry! There is another way to treat your belly right without the dairy: Enter GoodBelly, a dairy-free probiotic juice drink that promotes healthy digestion.
Posted 5/25/2012  6:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 21 comments   7,996 views
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Food Showdown: Battle of the Blended Beverages


As the weather warms up, you might take refuge in smoothie shops and coffee houses to cool down. Starbucks has long been a go-to destination for sippable summertime treats, and the chain has come out with some healthier options in recent years. However, some are better for you than others; many of the frozen drinks that are marketed as ''healthy'' are simply glorified milkshakes, even before the whipped cream and extra syrups.

If you were to grab a frozen drink on a hot summer day, which Starbucks pick would be lowest in calories and sugar: the Grande Green Tea Frappuccino® Blended Crème (no whipped cream), made with sweetened green tea and 2% milk, or the Grande Chocolate Smoothie (no whipped cream), made with rich mocha sauce, banana, and 2% milk?
 
Posted 5/19/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 47 comments   27,769 views
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A Dietitian's Take on 5-Hour Energy Drinks


(Photo credit: Flickr)

The break room was set up with my presentation displayed on the large white wall, handouts neatly stacked on a corner table.  The alarm sounded and 100 assembly line workers hustled into the room.  They each grabbed a packed lunch, found a seat, and prepared to devour their meal along with the ''lunch and learn'' topic of the day.  Exactly 22 minutes later, they were all out the door and back to work.  This scenario took place five times throughout the day to assure that all shifts received the same information. 

These are not the folks who live a sedentary nine to five lifestyle, pushing pencils and attached to a computer screen.  Rather, these folks are working very early mornings and graveyard shifts…lifting, toting, screwing, wiring, welding, and painting.  This work forces the body to develop an unnatural alarm clock, accompanied by many missed family functions and numerous stress-related health complications.  These folks are trying to make ends meet, feed the family, and pray daily that their line doesn’t get moved out of the country. 

As I talked with these men and women about feeding their families healthy foods, the question that surfaced again and again each and every shift was: ''Hey Becky, What do you think about the 5-Hour Energy Drink?''
Posted 5/10/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Becky Hand : 67 comments   51,778 views
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Feeling a Little Down? This Drink Might Help!


One of the biggest changes I’ve made to my diet over the years was to increase the amount of water I drink.  When I started working for SparkPeople over 7 years ago, I probably drank about 2 glasses of liquid a day (outside of exercise).  I’d have a glass of orange juice for breakfast and a glass of milk for dinner, and that’s about it.  Being surrounded by people who drank water throughout the day made me more conscious of how much I was having and the fact that I probably needed to be drinking a little more.
 
As soon as I started drinking more, I noticed a difference in my energy level and my mood.  I felt better overall.  I’m not saying that everyone needs to start chugging the H2O, but in my case, I think I was probably dehydrated most of the time.  New research shows that not drinking enough could be affecting your mood and cognitive abilities. 
Posted 2/14/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 27 comments   10,430 views
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My Resolution: Kicking My Caffeine Addiction in 2012


Since I was a teenager, caffeine and I have had a tumultuous relationship. (I'm not the only one.)

I started taking caffeine pills and drinking coffee (bottled Frappucinos, mostly) at 16. An overachiever, I was suffering from an eating disorder, and the caffeine helped keep me energized when I wasn't eating. I was also mourning the loss of a close friend, who had died in a car accident. The caffeine pills kept me from having to deal with my grief, as I never sat still or had time to think.

Some of my friends knew about my habit, and many of them partook in the pills as well. We didn't think there was anything wrong with them.

It took me over a year to realize the damage I was doing to my body. After I passed out for the second time, I decided to give them up. I collapsed as I walked out of AP English. My heart was beating way too fast, my vision went blurry, and the world faded to black.

My doctor diagnosed me as having anxiety attacks, which was only half the story. I realized I needed to cut back, both on caffeine and in life. I prioritized, quit a couple of activities, and swore off the pills.

In college, I pulled all-nighters fueled by coffee, soda, chocolate-covered espresso beans. You name it, I drank it to stay awake during not only late nights spent studying but also spent laying out and editing the college paper.

Not surprisingly, the anxiety continued.

My first real job was on the news copy desk at a large metro daily. I worked 4 p.m. to midnight five nights a week and sometimes worked 5:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. I drank diet soda like it was my job, and when I went to the bar after work (the only place to socialize after work when you work second shift), I opted for rum and diet cola, which aggravated my anxiety. The work was mentally challenging, and the tight deadlines made it quite exciting but stressful at times. My panic and anxiety worsened.

Throughout the next few years, I continued to combine anxiety medication and caffeine. I didn't connect the two until just a couple of years ago. I swore off coffee and, coupled with some other major life changes, my anxiety dissipated.
Posted 12/21/2011  2:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 62 comments   11,324 views
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Drink In Some Facts about Alcohol and Your Health


For me, one of the hardest things about "dieting" is giving up my beloved beer. While I am trying to watch my calorie intake, a typical beer just isn't worth the investment.
 
This past weekend I tried the Bud Select 55 after hearing each can had just 55 calories. I should be drummed out of the beer drinkers association. This stuff tastes more like beer-flavored water than honest-to-goodness beer.
 
Michelob Ultra, at 95 calories, is slightly better tasting, but neither beer has proved satisfying for me.
 
I found some satisfaction in a vodka and diet tonic with lime. But booze doesn't make me feel very good the next day, so I guess I'll simply cut back altogether.

My research into the nutritional content of beers and booze got me wondering if there is any real benefit to drinking alcohol. (And are there any Diet-Friendly Alcohol Choices?) So belly up to the bar and take this little quiz prepared by my longtime friend, dietitian Susan Burke March. While you're at it, let me ask: How Many Calories Are You Drinking?

The answers to these 10 true-or-false statements may surprise you. Cheers!

Posted 10/12/2011  6:00:00 PM By: John McGran : 18 comments   12,168 views
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1 In 4 Teens Drink Soda Daily, Says CDC


About one in four teens in the U.S. drink soda every day, according to a new study of high-schoolers released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even though water, milk and 100-percent fruit juice reigned supreme in the study, 24.3 percent of high school students said they drink a serving (a can, bottle or glass) of soda every day.  Government researchers, who looked at more than 11,000 high-schoolers, also found that 16 percent of students drink a serving of a sports drink every day. Boys were more likely than girls to report drinking soda every day, and African American teens more likely than white or Hispanic teens. Sugar-sweetened beverages like soda and sports drinks can lead to obesity, Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, researchers note.

Posted 7/27/2011  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 8 comments   5,209 views
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Are Food Labels Lying to You? New Corn Syrup Study Suggests Yes


A new study about beverages sweetened with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is making headlines. Published in the journal Obesity (see the full article here), researchers found that random samples of HFCS-sweetened drinks actually contained far more fructose than expected.

"I told you so," is what all the opponents of the corn-based sweetener are saying, using this study as proof that corn syrup is worse than sugar and should be avoided. I was taken aback myself. While I don't believe that high fructose corn syrup is any worse for us than other types of sugar, I avoid it sometimes but won't shun every food made with it. (After all, I would be very cranky without the occasional HFCS-containing Twizzler in my life.)

While this study seems to be about corn syrup being worse for us than we thought, it's actually about something else entirely: whether food manufacturers are telling us the truth about what's in their products. Allow me to explain.
Posted 10/29/2010  5:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 46 comments   14,138 views
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A Magical Beverage That's Proven to Suppress Your Appetite


What if I told you there is something you can drink that is easily accessible, free, healthy, and can help you lose more weight? Does it sound too good to be true? For years, people have speculated that this drink helps with weight loss. But until now there hasn’t been much scientific evidence to back up that claim. So what is it?
Posted 9/3/2010  10:12:31 AM By: Jen Mueller : 146 comments   92,957 views
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Food on the Run: McCafe' Fruit Smoothies


The smoothie has increased in popularity over the last several years. So much so that the smoothie maker has recently become one of the hottest selling small appliances. At the same time, smoothie and juice bars have popped up in malls and communities all over the country.

Earlier this week my son asked to stop for a smoothie. Since he is a growing teenager that eats almost hourly as well as being a "fruit boy," as we fondly refer to him, I made the stop. Since this was my first trip to this particular smoothie cafe, I let him make his selection while I looked over the menu boards. While we waited and I reviewed the "supercharged power up" vitamin and protein additive options, I wondered exactly what was in the concoction he had selected that set me back $4.58. He walked out happy with his selection of a 24-ounce Island Lemonade Smoothie (frozen lemonade) while I was a bit disappointed that he ended up with nothing more than a specialty frozen sugar drink instead of something more nutrient rich. The next day I came across an article discussing the new McDonald's McCafe real fruit smoothies that caused me to take a deeper look. I wondered if this could be a more nutrient wise option for the next time my son wanted a smoothie.

Posted 7/15/2010  1:26:28 PM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 206 comments   29,144 views
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Does Relaxation Require a Special Drink?




One of the top one hit wonder songs of the 1980's was Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. The key words to the song were relax and don't do it. Those words also apply to the new line of beverages called relaxation drinks.

A new Wall Street Journal article outlines some scary truths about these new drinks that have not been clinically tested but have been touted to lower stress, anxiety and aid sleep. Since key ingredients range from plant extracts to natural human hormones, I thought it would be important to explain a little more about them before you decide if they are right for you.

Posted 4/1/2010  6:20:37 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 118 comments   12,226 views
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Alcohol and Weight Gain: Have We Had it Wrong All Along?


Did you down a couple of green-tinted beers this past Wednesday? What better time than post-St. Patty's Day to talk about how alcohol affects your weight. One new study questions if what we thought we knew about alcohol and weight management holds true. No, I'm not trying to send you into a shame spiral for indulging on Wednesday's famous drinking holiday, so don't worry. But since you may still have alcohol calories on your mind, well here it goes.

When it comes to weight management, one of the easiest things many people can do to cut back on calories is to drink less alcohol—or give it up altogether. After all, alcohol contributes non-nutritious ("empty") calories to your diet, can make you more likely to overeat when you're under its influence, and often results in more calories being stored as fat. Plus when you're on a calorie-controlled diet, you need to make the most of the calories you consume, choosing super nutritious foods to give you the most bang for your calorie budget. Makes sense, right?

If that's true, you may say, then people who drink the most are probably more likely to be overweight and people who drink the least (or not at all) would be more likely to maintain a trim, healthy weight. That is logical, but a recent study published in the March 8 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine found that nondrinkers were actually more likely to gain weight than people who consumed "moderate" amounts of alcohol. (Yes, that is counterintuitive.) So is there more to this story or should you go back out to the bar and chug another beer in an effort to keep your weight down?
Posted 3/19/2010  12:11:08 PM By: Nicole Nichols : 216 comments   70,503 views
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Confessions of a Former Diet Coke Addict


There were lots of foods and drinks that came quite easy for me to give up when I started this journey, with one exception--DIET COKE. I had always been a big fan of diet drinks from way back in the days when TAB and Fresca were considered the quintessential diet drinks. But that all changed in July 1982 when Diet Coke hit the stores shelves-- from that point on, I was hooked.

I was not a big coffee drinker in college. Keep in mind I grew up in the pre-Starbucks, pre-coffee house age. Coffee was coffee. Of course you could choose between decaf and regular coffee, and if you wanted to add a hint of cinnamon or hazelnut, you could indulge in a little smidgen of flavored non-dairy creamer. So in order to meet my caffeine requirements for studying I would drink my beloved Diet Coke.

I would have a Diet Coke early in the morning and throughout the day. I would occasionally drink water, but once again, bottled water was not the norm in vending machines at the time. When I became pregnant in 1987 I did give it up. There was something about not knowing how aspartame would affect my pregnancy. Sadly though on the way home from the hospital I had my husband stop by our local McDonald's to pick up a Diet Coke.

Posted 12/16/2009  4:06:14 PM By: Nancy Howard : 612 comments   40,835 views
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I'm Not Raising My Hand for Chocolate Milk


I'm not a big fan of the taste of milk, but I drink it because I think it's good for you. Add some chocolate syrup to it, and of course I like it even more. But at that point, is the milk becoming more like a dessert? A new campaign is trying to keep chocolate milk as a choice in school cafeterias, saying that taking it away will do more harm than good.
Posted 11/27/2009  6:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 245 comments   18,581 views
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Would You Like a Muffin Top With that Coffee?


The mid-afternoon coffee break. For some, it's enjoyment. For others, it's a necessity in order to function until the end of the day. A plain cup of coffee or tea won't break the bank when it comes to calories (less than 10 calories per cup). But the more "fancy" your order becomes, the faster the calories and fat can skyrocket. A recent study looked at what kinds of drinks people opt for during their afternoon visit to the local Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts.
Posted 10/30/2009  11:12:57 AM By: Jen Mueller : 115 comments   18,126 views
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