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January 8, 2009
In her "falling off the wagon" episode earlier this week, Oprah Winfrey talked about how her recent weight gain was in part sparked by thyroid problems that began in 2007. While we usually think of an overactive thyroid producing weight loss, Winfrey said that she gained weight even when initially experiencing hyperthyroidism (she later developed hypothyroidism, meaning the gland was underactive).
Sounds weird, but it's not uncommon, says Daniel Duick, president of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Here's the deal: Those with severe hyperthyroidism usually lose weight. Their bodies are flooded with thyroid hormone, stimulating the metabolism and producing symptoms like fatigue, anxiety, and a rapid heartbeat. But some people with mild hyperthyroidism actually battle weight gain. Most at risk are those who have excess body fat, which can promote prediabetes, or high blood sugar that doesn't cross the line into full-fledged diabetes. They are at risk of gaining weight.
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January 6, 2009
Sure, Facebook is great for seeing family photos of your third-grade boyfriend's kids and throwing virtual snowballs at someone with whom you've never actually had a conversation. But you can also get some health utility out of your multiple visits per day. I've been beta-testing Med Makeover, a new application launched by the food advocacy group Oldways and the Mediterranean Food Alliance, and the widget is now available for everyone: Search for "Oldways" or "Med Makeover" on Facebook.
The goal is to get your eating more in line with the Mediterranean diet, which studies have associated with a host of good health outcomes—including lower rates of heart disease and cancer. It and other traditional eating patterns—including the Latin American, Asian, and vegetarian diets—emphasize plants, fish for those who opt for animal protein, and whole grains rather than the processed food and meat that are common in the Western diet.