Is peanut butter healthy?

(CNN)Yes, peanut butter can be a nutritious diet staple, but some varieties are healthier than others.

Peanut butter is rich in heart-healthy fats and is a good source of protein, which can be helpful for vegetarians looking to include more protein in their diets. A 2-tablespoon serving of peanut butter contains up to 8 grams of protein and 2 to 3 grams of fiber. The nutty spread also offers vitamins and minerals including the B vitamin niacin, iron, potassium and vitamin E.
The healthiest peanut butter is made from just peanuts, while added salt, sugars and oils change its nutritional profile. For example, a peanut butter with salt added can have 100 to 150 milligrams of sodium, while an unsalted version is sodium-free. Sugars may be added too, especially in flavored varieties, and can contribute up to 7 grams, or 28 calories per serving.
    Nuts, including peanuts (which are technically legumes), have been associated with lower risk of heart disease, cancer and premature death.
    Consumption of nuts and peanut butter has also been associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. However, one study that tracked more than 120,000 men and women from 1986 to 1996 found that while consumption of nuts and peanuts was associated with lower mortality rates among individuals, no protective effect was found for peanut butter.
    “In the past, it has been shown that peanut butter contains trans fatty acids and therefore the composition of peanut butter is different from peanuts. The adverse health effects of salt and trans fatty acids could inhibit the protective effects of peanuts,” researchers wrote in a news release on the study.
    In fact, a 2001 USDA report found that peanut butter does not contain any detectable levels of trans fats in any of the 11 brands of peanut butters that researchers tested, which included both major store brands and “natural brands,” even though small amounts of hydrogenated vegetable oils are added to commercial peanut butters to prevent the peanut oil from separating out.
    Though it might seem that crunchy or chunky peanut butter might have an edge over the smooth kind, nutritionally speaking, they are pretty similar. Differences among peanut butters have more to do with a spread’s ingredients, rather than its texture.
    Linda V. Van Horn, professor of preventive medicine and a registered dietitian at Northwestern University, stated that commercial peanut butter formulations have been improved because the food industry is aware of the trans fat issues and has responded by reformulating those products. “Just remember to check the label for ‘0’ trans fats and preferably ‘0’ added sugars,” she said. Fortunately, “there is no concern with ground-up peanuts … otherwise known as ‘natural’ peanut butter.”

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    Keep in mind that most of the calories in peanut butter come from fat. While it’s mostly the heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated kind, it does make peanut butter a calorie-dense food. A 2-tablespoon serving has approximately 200 calories, so if you are carefully watching calories, you can cut that portion in half. And steer clear of flavored peanut butters with added sugars and cocoa butter, which morphs a healthy nut spread into dessert.

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    Jimmy Kimmel’s baby may save healthcare for 30 million people

    Image: randy holmes/ABC via Getty Images

    Welcome to 2017, where the American government has ceded its already crumbling moral authority to the former host of The Man Show.

    Don’t you miss the 2016 election now?

    Still, the last few days have produced some of the best material late night television has ever had to offer, and all it’s because of former Man Show star, Win Ben Stein’s Money co-host, and late night host, Jimmy Kimmel. Kimmel has not only taken on the Senate’s practically homicidal Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill, he’s done it without resorting to lies or distortions (how quaint!). He accomplished this by speaking from a place of deep empathy, and by centering on a character that remains untouchable across the political spectrum: his baby.

    Back in May, Kimmel’s newborn son had to undergo an emergency open-heart surgery. It was this hardship that brought America’s perilous healthcare situation into sharp focus for the comedian. And as he’s grown more vocal about the issue, he returns to his own child as the impetus for his outspokenness.

    That’s why every counter-attack by GOP politician and pundits against Kimmel has fallen flat on its face: in the symbolic war between sick babies and man-baby Senators, the sick baby will always win.

    By positioning his baby at his monologue’s heart and center, he’s created the most sympathetic protagonist imaginable and made anyone who opposes that character a hateful antagonist by extension (which, I mean, is accurate). Everyone who attacks Kimmel’s position, is essentially attacking his baby. 

    Not a good position for a politician.

    “Before 2014, if you were born with congenital heart disease like my son was, there’s a good chance you would never be able to get health insurance because you had a pre-existing condition,” Kimmel said in May. “If your baby is going to die, and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make … we all agree on that, right? I mean, we do!” 

    Babies work. There’s a reason why every politician is required to take a photo with them at some point in their campaign.

    When I was a social worker, we talked a lot about “worthy victims” and “unworthy victims.” “Unworthy victims” are people a society has collectively decided are victims because of their own poor choices: the poor, victims of sexual assault, the homeless, welfare recipients, people of color, criminals and undocumented immigrants. “Worthy victims,” by contrast, are folks that society has deemed sufficiently worthy of empathy (and consequently, of charitable donations) including sick children, the elderly and people with *certain* disabilities.

    That doesn’t mean that worthy victims are exactly living large in America. Just think of the folks who were cruelly pulled from their wheelchairs by Capitol police while protesting Trumpcare that summer. But it does mean that they, culturally at least, have tremendous worth. I can’t think of a stronger symbolic lead than Kimmel’s son — a sick, wealthy kind with a devastating illness — followed closely by his acerbic father. Is there anything Americans love more than a cynical man, who simultaneously knows his facts and is deeply in touch with his own tenderness?

    Of a Fox and Friends host who attacked Kimmel for his monologues, Kimmel had this to say:

    “And you know, the reason I’m talking about this is because my son had an open-heart surgery and has to have two more, and because of that, I’ve learned that there are kids with no insurance in the same situation,” Kimmel said. “I don’t get anything out of this, Brian [Kilmeade], you phony little creep. Oh, I’ll pound you when I see you.”

    Just look at how these Republican politicians and pundits tiptoed around his attacks, especially as  they relate to Kimmy’s son, and relied on the tired excuse than Kimmel wasn’t smart enough to analyze the bill because’s he’s a late night comedian. 

    Remember: these folks voted for a man who recently made up an African country in front of Africans and didn’t realize that Frederick Douglass was dead, so we’re not exactly dealing with “wonks” here. 

    All late night comedians have in some ways impacted culture and by extension, politics, but Kimmel might become the first late night politicians to have an immediate, substantive impact on policy. There’s a Jimmy Kimmel test Senator Cassidy once told Congress it has to pass. Kimmel even ended his monologue with a screen full of Senator’s phone numbers, amplifying his personal story and turning it into collective action.

    Babies work. There’s a reason why every politician is required to take a photo with them at some point in their campaign. There’s a reason why political ads that include children, like this one of Hillary’s, are far more effective than those that feature rehabilitated criminal — even though both would be endangered by Graham-Cassidy.  Kimmel even admitted that he was “politicizing his baby” for the greater good.  

    Doing anything that might directly harm babies is one the last moral lines we have around these broken parts. Let’s see if one man’s 13-minute monologues are powerful enough to keep us from crossing it.

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    Jimmy Kimmel tears critics apart on the GOP’s new health care bill, again

    Jimmy Kimmel isn’t taking your shit lying down.

    On Tuesday night, Kimmel went to town on the Graham-Cassidy bill — proposed by Republican senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy — for failing the “Jimmy Kimmel test.” 

    In the monologue, Kimmel said Cassidy “lied right to my face” when he appeared on the show in May, where the senator promised coverage for kids like Kimmel’s son who was born with congenital heart disease.  

    In the day after Kimmel’s outburst on the bill, politicians and television personalities lined up to criticise the talk show host. Like Cassidy, who accused Kimmel of not understanding the bill, when talking to CNN‘s Chris Cuomo on Wednesday morning.  

    So, in his opening monologue on Wednesday night, Kimmel returned fire, calling out Cassidy for pulling out the “all comedians are dummies card.”

    “Which part of that am I not understanding? Or could it be Senator Cassidy, that I do understand, and you got caught with your GOPenis out. Is that possible?” he asked.

    Kimmel also hit back at Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade, who described the talk show host as a “Hollywood elite” who won’t stop “pushing their politics on the rest of the country.”

    “The reason I found this comment to be particularly annoying is because this is a guy, Brian Kilmeade, whenever I see him — kisses my ass like a little boy meeting Batman,” Kimmel said. 

    “Oh, he’s such a fan. He follows me on Twitter. He asks me to write a blurb for his book, which I did. He calls my agent looking for projects. He’s dying to be a member of the Hollywood elite.”

    Also on the hitlist was New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who described Kimmel as “not a serious person” on MSNBC. But the talk show host took it easy onthe bill’s co-sponsor Lindsey Graham, who labelled what Kimmel said on Tuesday “garbage,” with the host saying Graham looked like his grandma.

    So, here’s the upshot, folks: Kimmel doesn’t want your shitty healthcare bill, and if you’re going to try talk smack about him, he’ll be fine with ripping you to shreds.

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    The 5 Grains You Need To Add To Your Diet Like, Yesterday

    We all learned in like, infancy, that carbs are evil incarnate. But it would probs surprise you to know that working whole grains into your diet is actually like, good for you. They won’t make you fat, and they could actually make you live longer. Shit, they’ll even reduce cholesterol, improve your heart health, keep you full, and make you better at sex. One of those things was not true. But like, aside from rice and couscous, what else is there in the grain world? (And don’t say pasta.) We rounded up a few so that you don’t have to traipse through the aisles of Whole Foods’ self-serve bulk area for longer than is absolutely necessary.

    1. Amaranth

    Ever heard of it? Probs not but that’s okay. Amaranth is full of protein, calcium, fiber, AND iron so naturally it’s great for you. You can cook it and add it to your morning oatmeal, use it as a rice or pasta, or just eat the raw seeds for extra crunch (jk, don’t do that). Oh, and it’s gluten-free for all you fake celiacs out there.

    2. Oats

    Yawn. Oats are totally boring and have been a snoozefest at breakfast for years, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t healthy. As told by the frightening Quaker man on the box whom I’ve had nightmares about, oats are super heart healthy and can keep you full for more than breakfast. If you really hate oatmeal, sprinkle whole oats into your baking adventures or make a savory oat porridge and serve it with something fancy. Really.

    3. Quinoa

    Quinoa was a super popular buzzword (buzz-grain?) a few years ago, but just cause it’s kinda gone out of style doesn’t mean it lost its benefits. If you aren’t super tight with heart disease, diabetes, and being a fat fuck, this should be your go-to grain. It’s also a complete protein since it actually contains all nine essential amino acids. The ancient Incans must’ve been some healthy motherfuckers.

    4. Barley

    Do the cholesterol goblins keep you up at night? Me either, but keeping them at bay still isn’t a bad idea. Whole grain barley (not pearled, which is the not-as-healthy variety with the germ and bran removed) lowered cholesterol by A LOT for people in a study who apparently had to eat it for five weeks. That’s a lot of barley, but the benefits are legit. It’ll also keep you fuller for longer, making you less likely to reach for a candy bar later.

    5. Freekeh

    The name is stupid, the benefits are not. And no, it is not the first half of the hook to a Petey Pablo song. This ancient wheat is super low carb and has four times the fiber of brown rice. This shit also has more vitamins and minerals than other grains. FUCK, it even helps digestion. I guess the real question is why aren’t you already inhaling this? You can make it rice style and serve for dinner OR get kinda weird with it and make a sweeter version for breakfast. Oh, and if you can’t find it, head to the Middle Eastern section of the grocery store. 


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    Poor diet is a factor in one in five deaths, global disease study reveals

    Study compiling data from every country finds people are living longer but millions are eating wrong foods for their health

    Poor diet is a factor in one in five deaths around the world, according to the most comprehensive study ever carried out on the subject.

    Millions of people are eating the wrong sorts of food for good health. Eating a diet that is low in whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds and fish oils and high in salt raises the risk of an early death, according to the huge and ongoing study Global Burden of Disease.

    The study, based at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, compiles data from every country in the world and makes informed estimates where there are gaps. Five papers on life expectancy and the causes and risk factors of death and ill health have been published by the Lancet medical journal.

    It finds that people are living longer. Life expectancy in 2016 worldwide was 75.3 years for women and 69.8 for men. Japan has the highest life expectancy at 84 years and the Central African Republic has the lowest at just over 50. In the UK, life expectancy for a man born in 2016 is 79, and for a woman 82.9.

    Diet is the second highest risk factor for early death after smoking. Other high risks are high blood glucose which can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, high body mass index (BMI) which is a measure of obesity, and high total cholesterol. All of these can be related to eating the wrong foods, although there are also other causes.

    causes of death graphic

    This is really large, Dr Christopher Murray, IHMEs director, told the Guardian. It is amongst the really big problems in the world. It is a cluster that is getting worse. While obesity gets attention, he was not sure policymakers were as focused on the area of diet and health as they needed to be. That constellation is a really, really big challenge for health and health systems, he said.

    The problem is often seen as the spread of western diets, taking over from traditional foods in the developing world. But it is not that simple, says Murray. Take fruit. It has lots of health benefits but only very wealthy people eat a lot of fruit, with some exceptions.

    Sugary drinks are harmful to health but eating a lot of red meat, the study finds, is not as big a risk to health as failing to eat whole grains. We need to look really carefully at what are the healthy compounds in diets that provide protection, he said.

    undernourishment graphic

    Prof John Newton, director of health improvement at Public Health England, said the studies show how quickly diet and obesity-related disease is spreading around the world. I dont think people realise how quickly the focus is shifting towards non-communicable disease [such as cancer, heart disease and stroke] and diseases that come with development, in particular related to poor diet. The numbers are quite shocking in my view, he said.

    The UK tracks childhood obesity through the school measurement programme and has brought in measures to try to tackle it. But no country in the world has been able to solve the problem and it is a concern that we really need to think about tackling globally, he said.

    Today, 72% of deaths are from non-communicable diseases for which obesity and diet are among the risk factors, with ischaemic heart disease as the leading cause worldwide of early deaths, including in the UK. Lung cancer, stroke, lung disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder) and Alzheimers are the other main causes in the UK.

    The success story is children under five. In 2016, for the first time in modern history, fewer than 5 million children under five died in one year a significant fall compared with 1990, when 11 million died. Increased education for women, less poverty, having fewer children, vaccinations, anti-malaria bed-nets, improved water and sanitation are among the changes in low-income countries that have brought the death rate down, thanks to development aid.

    People are living longer but spending more years in ill health. Obesity is one of the major reasons. More than a billion people worldwide are living with mental health and substance misuse disorders. Depression features in the top 10 causes of ill health in all but four countries.

    Our findings indicate people are living longer and, over the past decade, we identified substantial progress in driving down death rates from some of the worlds most pernicious diseases and conditions, such as under age-five mortality and malaria, said Murray Yet, despite this progress, we are facing a triad of trouble holding back many nations and communities obesity, conflict, and mental illness, including substance use disorders.

    In the UK, the concern is particularly about the increase in ill-health that prevents people from working or having a fulfilling life, said Newton. A man in the UK born in 2016 can expect only 69 years in good health and a woman 71 years.

    This is yet another reminder that while were living longer, much of that extra time is spent in ill-health. It underlines the importance of preventing the conditions that keep people out of work and put their long term health in jeopardy, like musculoskeletal problems, poor hearing and mental ill health. Our priority is to help people, including during the crucial early years of life and in middle age, to give them the best chance of a long and healthy later life, he said.

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    The True Danger Of Hurricane Season Is Much More Long-Term

    Greetings from the apocalypse! I’m writing from the Summer of 2017, when wildfires have made Idaho and California smell like the Devil’s Vegan Barbecue, the sun is the color of a fresh period stain, and the Gulf Coast is aligned with the first teat of a four-boobied hurribeast.

    In a moment when it feels blasphemous to send anything but prayers, goodwill, money, awareness, donations, and time to everyone suffering from Harvey and the triplets of evil following it, there’s another story that needs to be told about these hurricanes:

    There is no upside, silver lining, or good news coming.

    More hurricanes, floods, and fires are on their way, and no one, not even the Americans in the Middle, are immune to what future natural disasters will do to this country. Not even Texas. Actually, let’s start with Texas.


    Texas Explains Why We’re Never Ready For Hurricanes

    I’m from South Texas, where the school year doesn’t feel real until you’ve had a Meet the Teacher night and a hurricane warning, sometimes on the same day. In my fuzzy childhood memories, hurricanes were exciting moments at the end of summer when you got to fill up your bathtub with a reckless amount of water and pray for a day off from school.

    Which explains why hurricane parties are a thing, and why you can find all of your hurricane party decorating needs on Pinterest. No other natural disaster comes with such a slow build and a festive atmosphere. And when hurricane season is built into your seasonal routine — my little sister was named after a hurricane that hit Texas 19 years before she was born — you just roll with them as best you can.

    So I wasn’t surprised that most of my friends, family, and childhood friends’ families didn’t evacuate when they knew Harvey was coming. It is very hard to get on a bus going to a place you don’t know for a thing that may or may not ever come. And Houston? Forget it. If you thought Houston should have been 100 percent evacuated, you’ve probably never been there. During Hurricane Rita, there were 100 deaths in Texas, 60 of which were related to Houston’s disastrous attempt to evacuate three million residents all at once.

    I also wasn’t surprised that Texans went nuts helping each other out once the waters started rising. Not because Texans are uniquely neighborly compared to other humans in distress, but because we’re uniquely good at self-publicity. It’s kind of our thing. That said, if you have South Texas friends on your Facebook timeline like I do, you know there were convoys of volunteers ready with food and water before Harvey was even done with its dirty business. Behind every dramatic rescue moment that went viral, there were thousands that no one saw, and for every tone-deaf Joel Osteen, there were hundreds of churches (and synagogues, and mosques!) mobilizing to provide immediate relief. I said there wasn’t a silver lining to Harvey, but that’s actually not true; after a summer of awful news, the storm reminded us that people are good.

    The problem is that being good in dangerous moments isn’t going fix next season’s weather. And this season’s hurricane victims are only facing the beginning of their problems.


    The Next Round Of Rescues Won’t Have Viral Videos

    Here’s what’s coming: Ten years after Katrina, New Orleans doctors reported a three-fold increase in heart attack victims. The stress from the flooding, multiple relocations, and disruptions in medical care are still messing with the bodies of the people who survived the storm. In the next few months, we should expect to see people contracting gastrointestinal problems from wading in standing water (I mean, we won’t literally see their diarrhea, but you get it). People with chronic issues like diabetes, heart disease, and asthma will suffer from disruptions in their medical care, which will lead to more hospital visits and deaths. It’s probably worth noting that Texas and the rest of the Gulf Coast aren’t in good shape to begin with, health-wise.

    Wait! It gets worse! I haven’t even talked about the mosquitoes yet! The West Nile virus was completely wiped out of the population in the immediate aftermath of Katrina. A year later, West Nile cases doubled. This map shows the Texas counties that identified cases of West Nile virus back in May, before hurricane season started:

    Texas Health and Human Services

    Nine counties in Texas have already started asking pregnant women to get the Zika test, because as you probably remember, Zika means joint pain, rashes, and fever for adults, but severe brain damage, microcephaly, and even death for unborn children.

    Wait, it gets even worse! Texas slashed Planned Parenthood funding in 2011, and abortions have been on the rise in the state ever since. What does that mean for pregnant women wading through mosquito-infested waters or working on cleaning up the debris outside their house right now? Hopefully nothing. Hopefully we never see Zika again, and these pregnant women deliver healthy babies who have happy lives ahead of them. Hopefully Texas women who aren’t pregnant today will have plenty of access to contraceptives in the next few months, because the mosquitoes might last until Christmas this year. There’s just some more bad news from Katrina that we have to cover, though:

    Katrina’s kids never quite recovered from the storm, either.

    Experts say that we’ll never know how many Louisiana children lost a year or more of school after Katrina. They know that Louisiana has one of the country’s highest rates of young adults who aren’t in school and aren’t at work — not because the kids who suffered through the storm just quit school then and there and committed to the hobo lifestyle, but because the average Katrina student moved seven times after the storm. Seven moves would do a number on any student, even the rich ones who are moving because their parents are moving up the corporate ladder or the tough military kids who move because the government makes them. Combine seven moves with a traumatizing childhood event, separation from extended family and communities, economic hardship, and the struggle to rebuild a life in a place where most of your friends and family are suffering through the same problems you are, and yeah, it’s no wonder Katrina’s students didn’t have a great graduation rate.

    And not finishing school a is big deal, because …


    We Like To Help Drowning People, But We Suck At Helping Poor People

    At the end of the day, bad things happen to everyone, but bad things happen extra hard to poor people. Sickness, natural disasters, layoffs, and addiction can obviously hit anyone at any financial level, but the most vulnerable among us have the hardest time recovering, if they recover at all. In other words, when you’re poor, a flood can lead to a series of setbacks that have decades of consequences. It’s called the Bad Break Test, and America is failing it.

    One researcher put the Bad Break Test this way:

    “In societies that function well, there are various safety nets in place to prevent a bad break from leading to a tailspin for particularly vulnerable victims. Compared to many other rich nations, the U.S. is not such a society — all too often, when vulnerable Americans encounter a bad break, there’s nothing underneath them to stop their slide. Instead, devastation follows, sometimes in the form of bankruptcy and addiction and death.”

    For example, America’s opioid crisis didn’t happen in a vacuum, and it certainly didn’t happen because of Mexicans. Some economists call the increase in overdoses, alcohol poisoning, and suicides “deaths of despair.” Americans are killing themselves over their economic prospects. There comes a point at which people stop trying to break out of their hopelessness and just start numbing themselves to death.

    What does the Bad Break Test have to do with hurricanes? 22 percent of Houston’s residents live under the poverty line. Yes, Texans are #TexasStrong and #TexasProud and will rebuild, but let’s not kid ourselves over who will bear the brunt of this storm and every storm to come: poor people who don’t have savings, insurance, or a Plan B or C or D to rely on when everything they own is destroyed. They’re already living in their Plan D, and Plan D is underwater or covered in mold.

    How do we cope with the millions of coastal Americans who have decades of hurricane seasons to come? The ones who are forced to leave already have a name, by the way: “climate refugees.” One Louisiana town has been granted 48 million federal dollars to just get out before the Gulf swallows them. The entire town is the first community in the world to get federal money to rebuild somewhere else before their island is washed away, and they’re struggling with figuring out how to do it. Even though we’re only talking about 60 people, they haven’t figured out how to move, and aren’t totally sure they even want to go.

    And that’s why we should all be worried. Humans are great at handling danger when it’s at the door, but not when it’s a hundred miles or a year away.


    Americans Are Good Heroes But Terrible Planners

    Real talk: The American states that will need the most help tackling flooding and extreme weather in the coming years also voted to keep the government out of their lives in the 2016 election. The fierce independence and self-reliance that Texas is so proud of is exactly what will doom them. Houston didn’t just flood because of a lot of rain; it flooded because it let people build neighborhoods in known flood zones. Why? Because the only reason white people live in Texas in the first place is that Anglos wanted space. Every time people try to build something in Texas, no one has the guts to tell them “No.”

    Footnote: The previous statement is not true. Mexico had the guts to tell people to stop building houses in Texas.

    Extra footnote: There are lots of conservationists and environmentalists in Texas. They’re just not in charge.

    It’s going to take a lot of tax dollars, research, government oversight, discipline, and humility to keep the Atlantic Ocean from swallowing our coasts, and our red states aren’t up for the challenge yet. We listen to our weathermen when the storms are a few days away, but not our scientists and engineers when they tell us that planning for disasters takes years and money. The thing is, Texas has a TON of money. We don’t even have to reinvent the wheel to save lives; we can study how a little bitty country like the Netherlands tackled their own flood monster and lived to tell the tale. If it were up to me, I’d pay close attention to any country that landed on “FLOODPLAIN COUNTRY” as its official name.

    You can find more from Kristi deep in the heart of Twitter.

    You can help someone in need by donating to the Victoria Food Bank.

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    Yes, sitting too long can kill you, even if you exercise

    (CNN)Take a movement break every 30 minutes, say experts. No matter how much you exercise, sitting for excessively long periods of time is a risk factor for early death, a new study published Monday in Annals of Internal Medicine found.

    There’s a direct relationship between time spent sitting and your risk of early mortality of any cause, researchers said, based on a study of nearly 8,000 adults. As your total sitting time increases, so does your risk of an early death.
    The positive news: People who sat for less than 30 minutes at a time had the lowest risk of early death.
      Sit less, move more” is what the American Heart Association encourages all of us to do. But this simplistic guideline doesn’t quite cut it, said Keith Diaz, lead author of the new study and an associate research scientist in the Columbia University Department of Medicine.
      “This would be like telling someone to just ‘exercise’ without telling them how,” Diaz wrote in an email.
      Exercise guidelines are precise, he explained. For example, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults do moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for two hours and 30 minutes every week, plus muscle strengthening activities on two or more days a week.
      “We need similar guidelines for sitting,” said Diaz.
      “We think a more specific guideline could read something like, ‘For every 30 consecutive minutes of sitting, stand up and move/walk for five minutes at brisk pace to reduce the health risks from sitting,’ ” he said, adding the study “puts us a step closer to such guidelines,” but more research is needed to verify the findings.

      Aging means more sitting

      To understand the relationship between sedentary behavior and early death, Diaz and his colleagues at Columbia, NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and other institutions turned to the REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) project, a study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.
      “The REGARDS study was originally designed to examine why blacks (and particularly blacks in the Southern US) have a greater risk for stroke than whites,” said Diaz. He and his co-researchers tracked for an average of four years 7,985 black and white adult participants, age 45 or older, who had signed on to participate in the REGARDS project.
      To measure sedentary time for these adults, the research team used hip-mounted accelerometers. During the study period, the team recorded 340 total deaths considered “all-cause mortality” — any death, regardless of cause.
      Analyzing the data, the team found that sedentary behavior, on average, accounted for about 12.3 hours of an average 16-hour waking day.
      “As we age, and our physical and mental function declines, we become more and more sedentary,” wrote Diaz.
      Previous studies of adults have found daily sitting time to average just nine to 10 hours per day. The higher average in his own study is likely “due to the fact we studied a middle- and older-aged population,” Diaz wrote. “It could also be partly due to the fact that we used an activity monitor to track sedentary time rather than using self-report.”
      Measuring duration, the researchers clocked participants sitting, on average, for 11.4 minutes at a stretch.
      As total sedentary time increased, so did early death by any cause, the results indicated. And the same was true for longer sitting stretches. Overall then, participants’ risk of death grew in tandem with total sitting time and sitting stretch duration — no matter their age, sex, race, body mass index or exercise habits.
      “We found that there wasn’t a threshold or cutoff where one’s risk for death dramatically increased,” said Diaz, explaining that risk of death increased with more sitting. “To give you a specific number, those who sat for more than 13 hours per day had a 2-fold (or 200%) greater risk of death compared to those who sat for less than about 11 hours per day.”
      “Bout duration is a little trickier,” said Diaz. Still, he said, the study results indicate that those who frequently sat in stretches less than 30 minutes had a 55% lower risk of death compared to people who usually sat for more than 30 minutes at a stretch.
      Finally, people who frequently sat for more than 90 minutes at a stretch had a nearly two-fold greater risk of death than those who almost always sat for less than 90 minutes at a stretch, he said.

      Underlying reasons ‘unclear’

      How sedentary behavior impacts our health in negative ways is “unclear and complex,” wrote Dr. David A. Alter, an associate professor at the University of Toronto in Ontario, in an editorial published with the study. Alter, who did not contribute to Diaz’ research, said some scientists theorize that more sitting leads to reductions in insulin sensitivity, while others believe net calorie expenditures decline as sitting increases.
      The study was not designed to reveal why sitting increases the risk of early death, noted Alter, who described the study as “methodologically rigorous,” and its findings “robust.”
      Arguably, he said, the study’s most important contribution involved disentangling two sedentary behaviors: total daily sedentary time and uninterrupted sedentary bout duration.
      “Persons with uninterrupted sedentary bouts of 30 minutes or more had the highest risk for death if total sedentary time also exceeded 12.5 hours per day,” noted Alter. “Conversely, in those whose daily sedentary volumes were low, uninterrupted bout lengths had little if any associated effects on mortality.”
      By teasing out these two threads, the findings show excessive sitting is bad and even worse if it is accumulated in lengthy, uninterrupted bouts throughout the day, noted Alter.
      Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, director of women’s heart health at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York said, “The more we sit the worse it is. The longer the duration of sitting, the more negative the impact on our cardiovascular health.”
      Steinbaum, who was not involved in the study, said moving around every 30 minutes is recommended.
      “The first time we do this, the positive effects are immediate,” she said. “We need to pay more attention to moving.”

      See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

      Asked if, say, a standing desk might be helpful for those who work desk jobs, Diaz said “there is limited evidence to suggest that standing is a healthier alternative to sitting.”
      “So if you have a job or lifestyle where you have to sit for prolonged periods, the best suggestion I can make is to take a movement break every half hour,” said Diaz. “Our findings suggest this one behavior change could reduce your risk of death.”

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      5 Answers To Questions You Didn’t Know You Had (Part 2)

      I didn’t pay much attention in school, which is probably why I have so many questions about the world. And why I do this for a living.

      As I explained last time, I’ve been making a conscious effort to keep little random questions that pop into my head every day in mind so I can look them up later to educate myself the way I actively prevented any teacher from doing. The column you’re about to read is the result of this admittedly unimpressive effort to remember to do basic things. But in the spirit of full disclosure, the questions that pop into my head can be a little … odd. For instance …


      What Does Human Meat Taste Like?

      Even if you aren’t a legit cannibal and you’ve only eaten someone for basic survival, the stigma is going to be a bitch to scrub off. If you’re capable of eating someone at a party, that will be the elephant in the room every time you attend one. That’s a shitty reputation. And you know legitimate cannibals are crazy because they accept that possibility with open arms. And that’s how I figure human meat must be pretty good. Why risk being socially ostracized if people aren’t delicious, right?

      Right. Now that I’ve deduced that humans are yummy as fuck, it still feels too general. I want to know what we taste like, specifically.

      The consensus among several real-life cannibals who were asked that very question is pork. In 2007, German cannibal Armin Meiwes described the flavor as “like pork, a little bit more bitter, stronger. It tastes quite good.” Serial killer and cannibal Arthur Shawcross said humans taste like fresh ham, maybe even a little like roasted pork.

      Other cannibals disagree.

      Peter Bryan described his victim’s arms and legs as tasting like chicken, but that’s such a cliche answer, Peter. Either develop a more refined palate or expand your reference points.

      Jeffery Dahmer once likened the flavor of a thigh/bicep/internal organ stir fry to a filet mignon, which means human meat is overpriced and tastes like nothing. Eating people would be totally worth it if he said ribeye. I have standards.

      Others were a little too general in their description. Omaima Nelson was a former model whose career to the unexpected downturn when she ate her husband. She said husband meat is “so sweet.” Same as late-1800s American prospector/cannibal Alfred Packer, who described the taste of his prospecting party as “the sweetest meat,” which is too pervy. That’s the name Matthew McConaughey gave to his penis.

      So taking the most believable, trusted cannibals at their word, human meat tastes like sweet pork.


      Why Don’t School Buses Have Seat Belts?

      Most school buses don’t have seat belts for their passengers. Bus seat belts are mandatory in only six out of 50 states in the U.S. At least 18 others are considering such laws, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. So a majority of kids are at risk of banging on everything as they flop around the inside of a bus.

      Federal law only requires seat belts in school buses that weigh under 10,000 pounds. On a federal level, only short buses which transport disabled students require seat belts. Every other bus is a giant lottery ball machine where the balls are made of people.

      The typical long yellow school buses you have in mind right now have been deemed so safe by federal agencies like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that they think seat belts aren’t even necessary. It has to do with the modern design.

      To describe a child in a school bus accident prior to mandated design changes in 1977, Indianapolis Monthly magazine said, it’s like “placing an egg in a toolbox full of wrenches and gasoline, then throwing it down a flight of stairs and hoping it came out unbroken.” That’s the most graphic sentence about a toolbox I’ve ever seen.

      Fearing that we were at risk of turning our nation’s children into wrenches (I may have misunderstood the metaphor), the NHTSA packed bus seats closer together and gave them shock-absorbing steel skeletons. They raised the seat backs and bolted them to the floor (did the seats just slide around before that?). The buses’ fuel systems were improved to reduce the chance of roasting children. New mirrors were added so drivers could see whether kids were standing so they could brake real quick to teach them a lesson. And joints were strengthened to reduce the likelihood of buses shredding apart in an accident like a race car slamming into a corner at 200 mph. It’s a miracle anyone survived the ’70s.

      They basically redesigned buses like egg cartons. Kids can’t get hurt if their bodies have nowhere to move. It wouldn’t hurt to put seat belts in, but it’s just an added expense for a vehicle that’s already considered the safest form of transportation there is. Though I don’t see how they’re safer than parade floats. They go one mile an hour and are covered in soft mascots.


      Why Is Breakfast In America Mostly Dessert Food?

      It wouldn’t make sense if one of our daily meals was just a cake. Yet that’s what a lot of American breakfast food is — waffles, pancakes, croissants, French toast, almost everything in the cereal aisle, donuts, muffins, and all the weird sub-categories, variations, and cultural twists on each. It’s dessert you eat in the morning to get a jump start on your diabetes. How did American breakfast menus come to look like they were written by pudgy children with Kool-Aid-stained lips?

      The culture of eating dessert in the morning was imported from all over the world, but we perfected it. And America defines “perfected” as “taken to its most self-destructive extreme.” And we can blame the Dutch for that. They brought pancakes, waffles, and donuts to America in the early 1600s. Nobody knew what time of day we should be eating any of them, so we ate them whenever the hell we wanted. Since they were bread-adjacent, we defaulted to eating them for dinner, like we do garlic bread with a bowl of pasta or a donut with salmon.

      It stayed that way, until one day we decided to not wait several hours to be our worst selves. Thin crepe-like pancakes were a staple of American dinners during the Revolutionary War. Then people added a leavening agent to make them rise and realized we’d all be much better off if we started our day with fleeting joy.

      Donuts weren’t associated with breakfast until we invented machines that could mass-produce them, which led to donuts showing up in more bakeries. This coincided with the increased availability of coffee in bakeries. People stopped in to grab a morning cup, and the sensual allure of glaze compelled them to grab a donut as well.

      Pop-Tarts and sugary cereals were a direct result of America’s obsession with convenience. Why make a whole meal of proteins when you can heat this pale slip of crumbly pastry with a thin smattering of fruity sugar sludge in a toaster real quick and launch out the door with your warm heart disease delivery device a minute later?


      Why Do Buttholes Have Hair?

      Did our anuses need to be kept warm in the winter? Is butthole hair there to reduce the friction between our butt cheeks so our pants don’t catch fire? Evolution-wise, it seems counterproductive. The poop would stick to it and cause disease in primitive people who didn’t buy wet wipes, right?

      The frustrating thing about this question, which seems like it should have a simple definitive answer, is that it doesn’t. We’ve had them since forever, but we have no idea why we’ve got dry thickets of spooky forest vines surrounding our stink knots like they’re protecting the outside world from the witch that lives within. But we do have solid theories that we’re running with, since no one is brave enough to study asshole hair for a living. Turns out my joke about reducing friction between cheeks might be part of the explanation. Another is that butt pubes (bubes) might have something to do with olfactory communication.

      See, your unique stink is your body’s way of releasing pheromones that tell those around you a little something about yourself that they’d rather not know. One theory is that we’re kind of like dogs, in that the stench of our assholes was one of the ways we once communicated — and we still do. For instance, when you fart in an elevator, you’re telling passengers you’re a terrorist. The hair traps our unique natural body odors, which supposedly let other (I guess) people know who you are. So if you wax off your asshole hair, you’re a step closer to going off the grid. Soon, you’ll be free to spend your days building bombs and putting the finishing touches on your manifesto in your cabin in the Ozarks.


      Do Chickens Care That We Take Their Eggs?

      I don’t want to speak for chickens, but if I were a chicken and I spent all that time making eggs in my chicken womb and then popped a few out of my chicken tube, and then some human came in and tried to take it, I’d be like, “Wha? No.” Then again, maybe I’m putting too many human qualities on poultry. I mean, it turns out that chickens don’t have vaginas and roosters don’t have penises, so they don’t have sex the way you’re imagining. But still, I’d imagine that any animal would get a little riled up if you try to take away their babies. But I don’t often hear about hens trying to peck out Farmer John’s still-beating heart after he tried to steal their eggs. Do hens even give a shit that we’ve industrialized the kidnapping of their children?

      Depends on the chicken.

      If they’re taking eggs from non-commercial breeds, there’s an element of timing involved. Hens form a “clutch” of eggs, which is when they lay up to 20 eggs but don’t actually do anything with them. They’re saving them up until the day their hormones ignite and they’re overcome with the desire to sit on the eggs and turn them into chicks. Try to take an egg from a brooding hen and pretty much nothing will happen; it’ll be pissed, but it’s a chicken and we invented the Naked Chicken Chalupa. What are they gonna do?

      Wild hens won’t lay another egg until their previous bunch has grown up and moved out of the house. By taking the eggs before they hatch, farmers are tricking hens into entering an infinite cycle of laying eggs which they, in their tiny chicken brains, probably think are duds.

      Jesus, that’s dark. But surely, commercial factory-farmed chickens have it much better!

      Brooding over an egg has been bred out of some commercial hybrid hens. The ones used for large-scale egg farming have had the will to fight back against a huge alien overlord stealing their young scrubbed from their instincts, which sometimes results in them crapping out an egg and walking away like they don’t even give a shit anymore. That’s almost as sad as the infinite loop of chicken infertility.

      As a counterpoint, here’s a picture of a really good breakfast sandwich I made the other day:


      Much respect, lady chickens.

      Luis would like everyone to know that cannibal Armin Meiwes is now a vegetarian. He (Luis, not Armin) is on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.

      Human meat tastes sweet, and you can try some.

      If you loved this article and want more content like this, please consider donating to our Contribution Page. Please and thank you.

      For more, check out 5 Random Questions You Didn’t Know You Wanted Answered and 17 Unanswered Movie Questions That Totally Have Answers.

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      Sleep Is the Most Effortless Workout You Can Do And It Actually Counts

      My yoga pants have seen more action running errands than actually running, and based on my actual workout habits, my Daily Burn account should be more accurately dubbed the Bi-Weekly Burn. Maybe it’s because I never played sports in high school (does a short-lived stint on the Ultimate Frisbee team count?) or because I used to eat chocolate-chip cookie dough straight from the mixing bowl with absolutely zero regrets — whatever the reason, I’ve never embraced strenuous workouts. But now that I’ve hit 25, my laziness is coming back to bite me. Chowing down on a load of Pop-Tarts is one thing, but wanting to walk up a few flights of stairs with breath still in my body is another. So I’m on the hunt for workouts that someone lazy like me can actually handle. The more shortcuts, the better. That’s how I stumbled on one fitness routine so easy, you can do it in your sleep.

      And, yes, I am literally talking about sleep. Sleep has been scientifically proven over and over again to benefit your physical health. On the flip side, when you sleep fewer than eight hours per night, you increase your risk diabetes, heart disease, and a diminished immune system – ouch.

      Since you already spend about a third of your life in bed, why not make the most of that time by hacking your sleep habits to support a (somewhat) healthier life?

      I consulted sleep expert Carolyn Schur and champion powerlifter Robert Herbst to get their take on using sleep as the easiest fitness hack in existence. This is what happens to your body when you sleep.

      This is how sleep can make or break your physical health:

      “You don’t get strong in the gym,” Herbst tells me, and I make a mental note to tell that to my husband the next time he suggests I join him for a fitness session. But, joking aside, Herbst continues: “You get strong outside the gym when you recuperate.”

      Herbst explains to me that weight training and other strenuous activities cause muscles to tear. It’s only after this strain that your body repairs and grows muscle, and that process happens largely during sleep.

      Schur points out that sleep also provides us with greater energy and motivation to exercise, plus the discipline to make better lifestyle choices, like improving our diet. According to Schur, someone who’s tired might lack the energy or the clear judgment to eat a nutritional meal. Instead, they’ll opt for “quick energy,” usually in the form of unhealthy sugar or carbs.

      In other words, sleep has numerous restorative qualities that lead to better overall wellness, including physical health. That’s good news for me, because if there’s one thing I love, it’s sleep.

      You can use sleep to hack your fitness routine.

      Of course we should never use sleep as a complete substitute for other healthy habits, like eating well or staying physically active. But if you don’t follow proper sleep hygiene, those other habits are less likely to stick.

      For example, rather than depriving yourself of valuable rest to get up at the crack of dawn for the gym, Schur says “you are better off sleeping.” Then, she says, you can make time for a walk or run at lunch or in the evening. Moderate exercise a few hours before bedtime will, in turn, lead to deeper sleep.

      Now you have science to back you up the next time your gym buddy tries to drag you out of bed for a morning run – you’re welcome.

      Herbst recommends one hack that turns this pattern on its head: He suggests taking a short nap before exercise to trick your body into releasing the hormones that help produce muscle.

      Either approach means relying on sleep as a vital element in your fitness routine.

      Here’s how you can sleep better at night to enhance your fitness:

      Schur explains that you should “sleep at a time that is physiologically appropriate for you.” This means that one person’s natural sleep rhythms might fall later than another person’s rhythms, hence the common distinction between night owls and early birds.

      Find the time that your body naturally starts getting tired and set a regular sleep schedule based on that.

      Schur further recommends avoiding naps too close to bedtime, and using the time just before bed to do a 10-minute mental dump – writing down anything and everything occupying your thoughts in order to empty your mind before sleep.

      Along with my diet and fitness routines, as I’ve reached my mid-20s, I’ve had to reevaluate my own sleep habits.

      When I started experiencing back pain (yay for getting older), I graduated from a hand-me-down mattress on the floor to a more supportive mattress on a decent bed frame. I’ve also reduced the time I spend on my phone in the evening hours, and I try to eat sleep-inducing foods like bananas or yogurt.

      If you want to use sleep to enhance your physical health, the most important lesson you can learn is to protect your sleep like it’s sacred: Treat yourself to a bedroom environment that promotes restful sleep, commit to a healthy bedtime routine, and engage in habits that will support your sleep rather than detract from it.

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      7 Outdoor Workouts That Are Perfect For The Beautiful Fall Weather

      When autumn rolls around, the sun is golden and bright, the leaves are crunchy, the air is crisp, and it’s the perfect time to take your sweat sesh outdoors. Summer workouts are basically a surefire way to sweat your ass off and dehydrate your body, and winter workouts? Forget about it; you can find me hibernating my life away until spring rolls around. That’s why there’s no better time than now to take advantage of this window of beautiful weather by making a list of outdoor workout ideas for the fall.

      Plus, the health benefits of taking your exercise outside every now and then are not to be ignored. According to , breathing fresh air during a workout (instead of the stagnant and recycled air of a typical gym) can inspire euphoric feelings because of the increase in feel-good endorphins pumping through your body. A 2011 review published in the journal even showed that outdoor workouts can inspire positive thoughts, improve energy levels, and spark feelings of revitalization. And when you feel happier, it becomes that much easier to push your body and challenge yourself during your sweat sesh.

      So if you’re considering taking advantage of the gorgeous fall weather while it lasts, here are seven outdoor workouts you can try.

      1. Scenic Hiking

      A good hike can literally make you happier and healthier, according to Huffington Post. From lowering blood pressure, to reducing the risk of stroke, diabetes, and heart disease, you have no reason to break out those hiking boots and find a buddy to head to the hills with.

      Hiking during the fall is seriously breathtaking, especially when the leaves begin to change colors, so you’re sure to enjoy an incredible view while you power through a little cardio.

      2. Trail Running

      If you’re over staring at your own reflection on a tedious treadmill trot, autumn is the ideal time to experiment with taking your jog to a new trail.

      Trail running improves balance and coordination (take it from a girl who’s face-planted after tripping over a tree stub many a time) and keeps your cardio sesh interesting by providing the most gorgeous views nature has to offer.

      3. Sunset Yoga

      If you’ve never taken your yoga flow outdoors, the fall weather is an amazing time to do so.

      There are so many outdoor yoga classes available to sign up for, or you could just grab a couple of friends and craft your own flow together.

      The “golden hour” at sunset will be beyond beautiful for all of your balances, and the lovely backdrop is perfect for a relaxing savasana.

      4. Jumping Rope

      Dig out your dusty jump rope and make a major crunch in the fall leaves with this heart-healthy workout.

      You could do this sweaty cardio exercise solo, or style with a friend — so many options, so many opportunities to embody Kronk.

      5. Outdoor Sports

      From football, to baseball, to lacrosse, to pickup games, there are endless ways to grab some family and friends and have some healthy fall fun.

      There are a bunch of autumn leagues you can sign up for, or you can make your own game and enjoy a little healthy competition. The teamwork will be a nice change if you’re used to sweating it out solo.

      6. Kayaking Or Canoeing

      Kayaking and canoeing are excellent low-impact activities that reduce stress and provide amazing #views.

      Plus, if you’re taking your boat out at a local beach, beaches are generally less crowded during fall, making it optimal for your paddling adventures.

      Trust me, the reflection of the fall foliage during your canoe cardio will be well worth the effort.

      7. Biking With A View

      Cycling outdoors is a great way to get a full-body workout while relishing your day in the perfect outdoor weather.

      Don’t worry, you can ditch your favorite Soul Cycle class for now. It’ll be waiting for you when winter comes.

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