CC News Wrap: Food, Fitness, and Health
Weight loss pills get approval after initial rejection, drought conditions mix the good and the bad, and couch potatoes beware.
U.S. Drought Worst in 55 Years
The latest U.S. Drought Monitor report puts 55% of the country in moderate to severe drought conditions. This year has been the driest and for many the hottest of their lifetime. While some produce saw early ripening, the corn crop seems hardest hit. Food prices have been on the decline, but this year’s drought will affect meat and dairy products as corn is a major source of feed for livestock. That means by next year, prices may be on the rise. On the other hand, these conditions are causing some flavorful side effects. The Houston Chronicle reports peppers, garlic, onions, and some fruit are tastier. The reason is simple, less water, means more potent flavor. The heat kicks up photosynthesis, leading to higher concentrations of fruit sugars, according to horticulturist Jim Nienhuis of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. So enjoy the extra sweetness of the summer harvest and don’t shy away from the smaller gems.
Inactivity Worse Than Smoking
According to new research, physical inactivity killed more people in 2008 than smoking did. That’s some real truth. Failure to engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate activity a week can send you to an early grave. That’s right even those who are at a healthy weight can be affected by lack of exercise. Just as obesity raises the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, not moving your butt can as well. They estimate on average 9% of premature deaths are due to inactivity with 6% of heart disease, 7% of diabetes, 10% of breast cancer, and 10% of colon cancer caused by lack of exercise. Getting those years back is as simple as starting a regular exercise regimen. Here are some tips to start exercise for beginners.
Two Weight Loss Drugs Approved
For the first time in over a decade, the U.S Food and Drug Administration has approved two weight loss drugs, Qsymia and Belviq. In addition to the stimulant phentermine which suppresses appetite, Qsymia also has an anti-seizure drug in it: topiramate. According to a comparison of the drugs WebMD says this component of the drug works by, “increasing feelings of fullness, making foods taste less appealing, and increasing calorie burning.” Increased heart rate, blood pressure and birth defects are among the side effects of Qsymia, and women who take it must use birth control. Belviq increases levels of serotonin which increases feelings of satisfaction and fullness through the drug lorcaserin. Both were initially rejected by the FDA in 2010 for safety concerns. Further testing allowed their approval. The FDA has ordered both pharmaceutical companies responsible for the drugs to conduct tests after the pills hit the market to assess the risk for heart attack and stroke in users. Turns out serotonin levels can increase with exercise and proper diet as well as amping up your exposure to bright light by enjoying the great outdoors and meditation or psychotherapy. Interesting that the drugs are supposed to be taken for life for effectiveness, and users are reportedly advised to use the medication with a healthy diet and exercise.
Have you or would you take a weight loss pill to help get the pounds off in addition to counting calories? Why or why not?