Obesity in U.S. Projected to Grow
America's weight problem is likely going to get a lot bigger: 42 percent of adults will be obese by 2030, and about one-quarter of that group will be severely obese. That's according to a projection released Monday at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's "Weight of the Nation" meeting in Washington. Today, about 34 percent of American adults are obese, and 6 percent are severely obese, which is 100 or more pounds over a healthy weight. Extra weight hikes the risk of health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea, and cancer. And it adds billions of dollars to health care costs. The projections "indicate that even more people will be losing loved ones and others will be suffering sickness and living lives that fall short of their promise because of obesity," Patrick O'Neil, president of the Obesity Society, a group of weight-control researchers and professionals, told USA Today.
Is a Gluten-Free Diet Smart for Weight Loss?
Miley Cyrus is looking leaner than ever these days, fueling mass speculation of an eating disorder. Last month, she took to Twitter to defend her slim physique: "For everyone calling me anorexic, I have a gluten and lactose allergy. It's not about weight, it's about health. Gluten is crapppp anyway!"
While Cyrus' weight loss may be due to a legitimate food allergy, scads of other celebrities and non-famous folks alike are adopting a gluten-free diet—for weight reasons, not health. "It's definitely trendy now. Everyone is talking about it," says Elisabetta Politi, nutrition director at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in Durham, N.C. And the food industry is apparently cashing in on the trend, too: By 2015, sales of gluten-free foods and beverages are expected to hit $5 billion, according to Packaged Facts, a market research firm. "I see the positive side of being more aware of gluten and trying not to overdo it," says Politi, "but I don't think it's a good way to lose weight."
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, as well as many common food additives. It gives dough elasticity and baked goods their chewiness. (It's found in pizza, beer, burgers, and pancakes, for example.) Those who have celiac disease—caused by an overactive immune response to gluten in the small intestine—are encouraged to go gluten-free to avoid digestive symptoms like pain and diarrhea, and even permanent intestinal damage or malnutrition. There's no cure or medication other than a gluten-free diet. About 1 percent of the population suffers from celiac and about 10 percent have a less specific sensitivity, according to the Mayo Clinic. [Read more: Is a Gluten-Free Diet Smart for Weight Loss?]
6 'Bad' Foods That Really Aren't
Have you been depriving yourself of eggs, pasta…or chocolate? Well, maybe you shouldn't be. Research reveals that some foods we typically think of as "bad" really aren't. And nutritionists tell us that there's room for more of these in our everyday diets. The trick is knowing how much of them to eat—and how often.
Eggs. This breakfast staple gets a bad rap because of the cholesterol content in yolks. But eggs—and yolks in particular—are a good source of protein and vitamins and minerals (such as vitamin A and iron), says Laura Cipullo, a New York-based registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator. Plus, a 2011 study from the University of Alberta found that eggs' antioxidant properties may help prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer. If you're generally healthy, and don't have high cholesterol, there's no need to only eat egg-whites—or to avoid eggs altogether. "My suggestion is always to have one whole egg and then add an egg white," Cipullo says. That way you're getting the nutrient-rich yolk but not overdoing the cholesterol.
Popcorn. Yep, this popular snack is good for you. In fact, it contains more healthful antioxidant substances called "polyphenols" than fruits and vegetables, finds 2012 research presented at the American Chemical Society's annual meeting. Just don't pile on the butter or the salt. And be careful with microwave popcorn, as it can pack in trans fats and sodium. "If you buy your own kernels or get your own air popper, you can have a healthy snack," says Cipullo. Try topping popcorn with almonds, which promote fullness. [Read more: 6 'Bad' Foods That Really Aren't]
Angela Haupt is a health reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or reach her at email@example.com.