VitaminWater Making Deceptive Health Claims?
The Center for Science in the Public Interest has slapped a lawsuit on Coca-Cola, maker of VitaminWater drinks, calling its marketing claims unsubstantiated and deceptive. Coca-Cola's retort called the suit "ridiculous." As further finger-pointing plays out, how should consumers decipher punchy buzzwords like "triple antioxidants" and "definitely au natural" on some of the bottles' labels? Katherine Hobson, U.S. News's On Fitness blogger, helps you make sense of VitaminWater's nutrition labels.
In other food news, Hobson blogs about author Barry Popkin's explanation of why the world is fat. An interesting tidbit from his new book, The World Is Fat: The average American gets 400 calories a day from beverages. A 20-ounce bottle of VitaminWater, notes Hobson, packs 125 calories.
Hormone Replacement Therapy: Both Good and Bad for the Female Brain?
U.S. News's Bernadine Healy, M.D., ponders a paradox of estrogen, which has been called "the memory molecule." Hormone replacement therapy, which contains estrogen, was found to shrink some older women's brains, a change associated with Alzheimer's, in a recent study out of Wake Forest University. Healy draws attention to a particular aspect of the findings, which may be too easily overlooked, noting: Brain shrinkage and accelerated development of Alzheimer's were not observed in all older women on the hormones but mainly in those whose brains were already deteriorating.
The finding has neuroscientists all atwitter, because it may help clarify the nature of estrogen, which giveth (it aids the growth of new neurons) and also taketh away (estrogen can slay neurons, says Healy, if they're already weak).
Getting Coverage: SCHIP Moves in Congress; Tips on Avoiding COBRA's Bite
With Barack Obama assuming the presidency next week, Democrats in Congress have been pushing reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program to cover 4 million more lower-income kids, writes U.S. News's Michelle Andrews. But the bill, if signed, would still likely leave 5 million kids without coverage because their families make too much money—roughly $40,000 or more for a family of four.
And as the economy continues to grind perilously close to a halt, more workers are getting handed their walking papers. COBRA, an extension of insurance coverage paid by the beneficiary after being let go, can be painfully expensive. Andrews offers 4 ways to avoid COBRA's bite.
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