This week in health news: Can diet soda make you fat?

 

soda ban
(Don’t) drink up for your health.
Credit: Metro File

Prolonged sitting a possible killer for women

Location of study: U.S.

Study subjects: 93,000 women age 50-79

Results: Older women who have a lot of sedentary time — defined as sitting and resting, and excluding sleeping — died earlier than their most active peers, according to a new Cornell University study. Nutritional scientist Rebecca Seguin found that women with more than 11 hours of daily sedentary time had a possible 12 percent increase in premature mortality from various causes. They also upped their odds for death due to cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and cancer by 13, 27 and 21 percent, respectively. The most energetic group had four hours or fewer inactive time per day.

Significance: “The assumption has been that if you’re fit and physically active, that will protect you, even if you spend a huge amount of time sitting each day,” says Seguin, assistant professor of nutritional sciences in Cornell’s College of Human Ecology. “In general, a ‘use it or lose it’ philosophy applies. We have a lot of modern conveniences and technologies that, while making us more efficient, also lead to decreased activity and diminished ability to do things. Women need to find ways to remain active.”

 

Even a very low BAC may contribute to car accidents

Location of study: U.S.

Study subjects: 570,731 fatal collisions

Results: “Minimally buzzed” drivers are more often to blame for fatal car crashes than the sober drivers they collide with, according to a report published in the British Medical Journal group’s Injury Prevention. This University of California, San Diego, study of accidents in the United States focused on so-called buzzed drivers whose blood alcohol content (BAC) ranged from 0.01 to 0.07 percent, and, within this group, the “minimally buzzed” (or BAC 0.01 percent) drivers are 46 percent more likely to be officially and solely blamed by accident investigators than are the sober drivers in collisions. The national legal BAC limit is 0.08.

Significance: Low BAC drivers are often overlooked as culpable in crashes and severe penalties may not be imposed on those below the legal limit, even if a fatality occurs as a result. “The law should reflect what official accident investigators are seeing,” says study co-author David Phillips. “We find no safe combination of drinking and driving. … Our data support both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s campaign that ‘Buzzed driving is drunk driving’ and the recommendation made by the National Transportation Safety Board, to reduce the legal limit to BAC 0.05 percent. In fact, our data provide support for yet greater reductions in the legal BAC.”

 

Diet soda can make you fat

Location of study: U.S.

Study subjects: National data

Results: Overweight and obese adults who drank diet soda eat more calories than regular soda, says a new study out of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Significance: In 1965, only 3 percent of people drank diet soda; now, the number is 20 percent, per the Daily Mail.

 

Some muscle enhancement supplements don’t live up to label’s claims

Location of study: U.S.

Study subjects: Lab study

Results: Thirty-six percent of creatine and branched-chain amino acid supplements used to increase muscle size and strength and improve recovery after exercise proved to be less potent than claimed, according to recent ConsumerLab.com testing. The tests uncovered quality problems with three creatine supplements, including unacceptable levels of creatine breakdown compounds. Two of these products provided only insignificant amounts of creatine. The mix of BCAAs in some products was found to be low-level, too. In addition to a range in quality, the price of products varied widely. Some products, such as Ultimate Nutrition 100% Crystalline BCAA 12,000, however, tested positively for potency and quality.

Significance: “It can be very difficult for people to know what they are getting from muscle enhancement supplements,” says Dr. Tod Cooperman, ConsumerLab.com’s president. “It is important to read labels carefully and be skeptical of contents unless verified by a third party.”


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