1. Wrong approach to obesity

    At least we're not getting fatter.

    The newest obesity numbers are in and, well, this is what passes for victory these days: Americans have had roughly the same rate of obesity for much of the past decade, with a little more than a third of us in need of plus-size clothing.

    That includes 17 percent of children, and represents almost no change since 2003.

    But is this really progress? We've got 78 million obese adults and 12.5 million obese kids, according to these new numbers from the CDC -- and tens of millions more are already overweight and ready to join their ranks.

    It's still a massive public health crisis -- but every crisis is an opportunity, and this is one opportunity the drug industry can't wait to sink its fangs into.

    Along with a host of bad weight-loss meds awaiting approval, Big Pharma is trying to push meds already on the market for other conditions -- including diabetes drugs.

    One new study has researchers practically giddy, claiming it shows that the new generation of diabetes meds -- GLP-1 agonists like Byetta and Bydureon -- can help obese non-diabetics lose weight.

    They claim these drugs helped some people lose 20 pounds -- and that in practice, they've seen patients drop up to 50 pounds while taking them.

    But just like scammy fad diet commercials, this one should come with a bold-face warning: RESULTS NOT TYPICAL.

    The study in BMJ didn't find that most people lost 50 pounds. It didn't even find that they lost 20 pounds -- or anything close to it.

    In fact, the average weight loss was just 6.4 pounds -- and who knows if that's even permanent. You might have to take the meds forever to keep that weight off.

    I don't know about you, but I don't think that's worth getting giddy over -- especially when you consider the side effects of these meds: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and more.

    Of course you'll lose some weight if you can't keep your food down -- and along with those stomach-turning side effects, GLP-1 agonists have been linked to pancreatitis as well as pancreatic and thyroid cancer.

    Who wants to risk all that to lose 6.4 pounds over 20 weeks?

    Forget meds. There's a much safer way to lose a lot more weight, and you don't need to swallow a single pill: Go sugar-free and low in carbs while eating fatty fish, farm-fresh chicken and grass-fed meats.

    It might take a little discipline -- but it's still a heck of a lot easier than taking diabetes meds for the rest of your life.

  2. Common cereals are more than 40 percent sugar

    Instead of changing your own habits here in 2012, make one change for someone else: your kids.

    Stop giving them cereal.

    Even the healthiest cereals are usually just a blend of different kinds of carbs: sugar and some of the worst grains imaginable (and don't believe those "made with whole grains" labels -- because that doesn't make this stuff any healthier).

    Some cereals are more than half sugar.

    Environmental Working Group recently took a closer look at the ingredients labels of some of the most common and popular cereals and found that both Kellogg's Honey Smacks and Post Golden Crisp are more than half sugar by weight -- 55.6 percent and 51.9 percent, respectively.

    Number three was almost there -- Kellogg's Froot Loops Marshmallow is 48.3 percent sugar.

    Froot Loops by itself was already heavy in sugar (41.4 percent, coming in at number 10) -- but when they added the marshmallows, they went for the record… and actually fell just a little short.

    Better luck next time, Team Froot Loop.

    And the Quaker Oats man, who's supposed to represent old-fashioned purity? He's actually responsible for FOUR of the top ten most sugar-soaked cereals: three flavors of Cap'n Crunch and something called Oh!s, which appear to be sugar-coated Cheerios.

    You can see the full report here, which also features some helpful comparisons -- like the fact that those Honey Smacks contain more sugar than a Hostess Twinkie.

    Even the healthy-sounding Wheaties Fuel -- breakfast of champions, but with "fuel," right? -- has more sugar than that Twinkie.

    And a single cup of Honey Nut Cheerios has more sugar than three Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies.

    When a Twinkie or Chips Ahoy cookies turn out to be the better choice, you know you created something special.

    EWG has some alternatives for parents looking for better options -- like unfrosted Mini Wheats and original Kix, which I think refers to the kicking and screaming kids do when they find out their Honey Smacks have been replaced by a "healthier" option.

    In reality, cereal in general isn't a healthy option for breakfast. If you're in charge of mornings in your house, cook up something fresh each day instead -- make it something all of you can eat together, and everybody wins.

  3. Fats? Yes! Carbs? No!

    Now, top researchers from the nation's leading institutions are singing a new tune, because they're finally recognizing that fat on the belly isn't caused by fat on the dinner plate--but by the sugar and other carbs hidden inside the staples of the modern American diet.
  4. The secret to successful diet maintenance

    A new study lights the way to post-diet success, and all you need to do is avoid the sugars and other bad carbs that probably led to your weight gain in the first place.

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