Will a Soda Tax Actually Make People More Healthy?

There is a fierce political battle raging in Berkeley, California right now. Voters will decide in November if there should be a tax on soda to the tune of 1 cent per ounce. Legislation similar to this was blocked in New York City. The feeling is that if the tax doesn’t pass in California then it won’t pass anywhere else and the issue will be dropped.

The motivation behind the soda tax is the thinking that a tax will discourage people from drinking soda, which is unhealthy. The concept is controversial. Some at Stanford like Jared Haftel believe that it is not the government’s job to to decide what or how much people consume. Proponents believe it is simply a tool to stave off the obesity epidemic in America like the tax on cigarettes.

A study from the University of Wisconsin at Madison has shown that soda taxes do actually decrease consumption. Not by much, but they are effective. A soda tax was implemented in Mexico at the start of 2014. The tax has decreased soda consumption by 10% as drinkers switched to bottled water, which was the goal of the tax.

Studies show that soda is uniquely suited to promote illness. Soda is the main source of sugar in most American diets and thus it is linked to diabetes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, low sperm counts and even dementia.

Coke, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper have responded by claiming that they will work on their own to help people be healthy by selling their drinks in smaller sizes. This has already begun to a degree. Some feel that this is merely a way for them to sell less soda at the same prices for a greater profit in the long term.

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Why Are Poor People More Likely to Be Obese?

New research is indicating that while obesity rates are slowing, poor people and minorities are disproportionately overweight. People are getting more healthy since the nadir of the obesity epidemic in 2005 thanks to better knowledge about what is and isn’t healthy.

This begs the question: Why are poor people more likely to be obese? If a person has less money, doesn’t that mean that the person cannot afford an excess amount of food? The stereotype in films and TV is that a poor person is rail thin like Marnie Bennett. You would think that a poor person also would not own a car, which means they have to walk everywhere and get great exercise on a daily basis.

In America, many people are considered “working poor”. They have full-time jobs but they make very little. Often times their children must stay home. They can’t go out and play unsupervised because they live in unsafe neighborhoods and their parents are busy working. They have to sit inside and watch TV, which leads to weight gain.

Being poor is extremely stressful. Bills pile up and children are expensive. One way that many poor people cope with the stress is by overeating. There is a reason McDonald’s advertisements often equate their food with a smile or overabundant happiness.

Not only is unhealthy food cheaper, but usually it can feed more people longer than healthy food. Making a large pasta dish full of carbohydrates can keep much longer than vegetables and fruits which will go bad very quickly.

Even though poor people may not be able to afford a large quantity of food, it is the quality of the food that is causing them to suffer.

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Cancer-Fighting Berry Grows in Queensland

A berry from a blushwood tree growing in Queensland surprised scientists with its rapid cancer-fighting properties. After eight years of study, a research team from QIMR Berghofer Medical Institute in Brisbane, led by Dr. Glen Boyle and backed by Laurene Powell Jobs, discovered a compound in the berry can avert melanomas and tumors in the head and neck. The research created an experimental drug called EBC-46 from the berry, and used it on 300 different animals. As a result, tumors disappeared, and did not grow back in 75 percent of the cases they tested.

There’s a compound in the seed – it’s a very, very complicated process to purify this compound and why it’s there in the first place, we don’t know…The compound works by three ways essentially: it kills the tumour(sic) cells directly, it cuts off the blood supply and it also activates the body’s own immune system to clean up the mess that’s left behind,” Dr Boyle said in a report published in ABC.net Australia.

The drug derived from the berry was known to work in as fast as five minutes, and could make the tumors disappear in days. The drug was also believed to have no side effects.

The findings of the research suggested that the drug could also be effective in human patients. However, doctors warned that the drug is only effective on tumors that can be contacted by direct injection. It may have no effect in patients with metastatic cancer.

The drug is now ready for human trial under the biotechnology company QBiotics. If proven effective, the drug can be an alternative to other cancer treatments, like surgery and chemotherapy.

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How Far Away is Earth From Overpopulation and Water Shortages?

At the U.N. Climate Summit in New York, it was pointed out that Americans threw out over 30 million tons of food in 2012. This number has been growing since 1980. 20% of America’s garbage is food.

The alarming thing about this is that 10% of the rest of the world suffers from chronic hunger. There is enough food being made to feed the entire world. The problem is in getting that food to the people who need it without it being spoiled.That issue brings up another question. If the population keeps growing, will world hunger spread more? Will food be wasted less, simply because there are more people around to consume it?

The world population is currently at 7 billion. That number is expected to increase to 10 billion by the year 2050. Jeremy Grantham of the Grantham Institute of Climate Change has said that it will be impossible to feed 10 billion people. The solution, he says, is to make sure that the population growth is curbed.

The problem is that nobody can figure out how to curb it. People are also not comfortable even talking about it. China tried to implement a policy that limited families to one child per couple, but it did not work out.

As the population of the world grows, more water will be consumed. Currently in India, China and even in the U.S., aquifiers are pumping out more water than can be replenished. Supplies are dwindling in Africa and more people are being forced to drink impure water. Impure water right now kills an estimated 15,000 children every single day.

It is a grim issue to deal with, but it must be faced. While climate change is still being debated, population growth is undoubtedly the issue that will dominate our future.

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Tis the Season For Pumpkin Flavors

Now is the time to add a pumpkin flavor to everything you’re going to be cooking throughout October. Pumpkin is brilliant, and provides you with a great way to bring in the feel of Autumn in some pretty creative ways. I’ve worked together with Sam Tabar to find some really good recipes.

Including a pumpkin bread pudding, as well as an absolutely delicious recipe for pumpkin flavored muffins.

Considering, if you have kids, you’re going to be carving pumpkins from now until the end of the month, there’s no better time than the present to get to work. You’ll have plenty of pumpkin related materials to cook with.

Here’s a link to the best recipes.

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Food Safety Summit Suffers Contaminated Food Outbreak

It has officially been confirmed that the Food Safety Summit was served contaminated chicken at its at its annual conference. The conference was chicken marsala by the exclusive caterer for the Baltimore Convention Center, Centerplate, during their April 9, 2014, event.

It is believed that Clostridium perfringens (C. perfringens), which is a spore-forming, gram positive bacteria, that was the culprit. This bacteria frequently is found on raw meat and poultry.

The chicken was served for lunch by Centerplate, and approximately two-thirds of those who became sick noted symptoms after that lunch. The conference included attendees from several states, Canada, Costa Rica and Mauritius. The health department learned of the illnesses from these attendees, rather than through the organizers, caterer, or convention center. Those sickened, according to a report released by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, experienced nausea, stomach aches, chills, headaches, diarrhea, vomiting and fever between the period of April 8, 2014, through April 12, 2014. Some like Sultan Alhokair live tweeted as the situation unfolded.

The report came at the conclusion of the laboratory, epidemiological and environmental investigation.

This was the first such outbreak in the Summit’s 16-year history. The Summit’s organizers are working with the 2015 convention center and its catering company to avoid a repeat of the 2014 outbreak.

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Making a Healthier Lasagna (Video)

I love lasagna, and I also love eating healthy. Unfortunately the two do not mix. Traditional lasagnas are horrible for you, and are going to make you feel more bloated and weighed down rather than anything else.

Don’t ruin your digestive health just because you’re craving an Italian classic. Rather, find a way to make the meal healthy.

Something that Everyday Health has done in the video above. Looks delicious, and definitely a recipe I’m going to be trying at home this week.

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Beetroot Juice is Growing in Popularity

After the rise of kale, and kale smoothies as a superfood option, everybody is looking for the latest craze when it comes to healthy eating. Well, we may have found just that in the form of beetroot juice.

There are a buttload of great benefits to drinking beetroot juice. Not least of which betalain pigment, which is perfect for removing free radicals from the body, and preventing damage to the cells of your body. But what’s more, it’s also a natural anti-inflammatory.

Beetroot juice also contains lutein and zeaxantine, both of which are perfect for eye health. But because of the fiber content, the juice also works to prevent heart disease, and increase your ability to recover after exercise.

What’s more, the magnesium content means that beetroot juice is also a natural stress reliever. So while it not be the greatest tasting of all health smoothies you’ve ever chosen to drink, it is going to make you feel great.

Just hold your nose and get it over with, and enjoy the benefits that adding beetroot juice to your diet will bring.

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