This week, we learned that there's no such thing as better-for-you soda, we should all get outside more, and stop paying lip service to breakfast and just eat it already.
Diet soda is making us fat
Fewer calories in diet soda won't help your waistline. According to a study that followed 375 adults age 65 and older for more than nine years found that the waist circumference of those who drank diet sodas daily grew at three times the rate of non-soda drinkers.
Three measurements were taken over the course of the study, and after adjusting for variables, the non-users had an average increase of 0.8 inches, occasional users had 1.83 inches and daily users 3.16 inches between checkups. Besides being unsightly, visceral fat within the belly is closely associated with disrupting hormone function, type 2 diabetes and could lead to metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular issues.
Be better with breakfast
What if you could do one thing every day to improve your performance? Eating a well-balanced breakfast – that means something with more real fruit (and less sugar) than a danish – led to a massive 25 percent increase in math performance among elementary school-age kids, a University of Iowa study found.
The study of schools that offer free meals versus those just below the threshold to qualify also included similar gains in science and reading. The longer the schools participated in the federal program that subsidizes the meals for low-income kids, the higher their scores. So add 10 minutes to your morning and see how it improves your day!
We’re all vitamin D deficient
Here's another reason short-sleeves weather can't come soon enough: Researchers at two universities – UC San Diego and Creighton in Nebraska – confirmed that the National Academy of Sciences' recommendation for vitamin D is too low. It seems the numbers had been crunched incorrectly and what is currently 600 IU/day has been underestimated — by a factor of 10.
One of the co-authors, Dr. Robert Heaney, said the new recommended daily value should be 7,000 IU for vitamin D, the "sunshine vitamin" vital to bone health, treating various skin conditions and boosting the immune system. So in addition to getting more sun, add some fatty fish to your diet and, if you drink juice, get one that’s fortified.
The dirtiest surface in your kitchen is…
It's not the counter, the sink, the fridge handle or the sponge in the sink - the dirtiest item, and the one most likely to cause cross-contamination in your kitchen is the towel. The scientists at Kansas State University watched students prepare raw beef and a fruit salad and noted that cooks touch towels, whether cloth or paper, even when they're not using them.
Hand-washing is rarely done adequately, and even when it is we're drying our hands on a dirty towel — the study recommended replacing them as frequently as after every prepared meal because salmonella, which can be found on raw meat, grows on cloth even if it's been washed and rinsed. Stick to paper when handling potentially risky items.