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big-burgerResults of a new study published in the journal Cell Reports may have guys rethinking those unhealthy food choices. Researchers from the Cedars-Sinai Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute recently looked at how the health effects of a diet high in unhealthy fats and sugar differed between male and female mice—and let’s just say the girls fared much better.

During the course of the study, the mice were fed a steady diet of what could be compared to greasy burgers and sugary soft drinks. While the female mice showed no changes in healthy heart and brain function, the males were not so lucky. Their brains showed signs of inflammation, and significant damaged was noted to their hearts. Although researchers could not say for sure why the females were protected against the negative effects, they believe it may have something to do with their body chemistry.

According to institute director Richard Bergman, PhD, these findings suggest we may need to reconsider how we treat and manage obesity from one person to the next. At this time, additional research is planned to determine whether or not human subjects will react the same way—and if brain chemistry can be manipulated to exhibit protective characteristics.

Still, the results do not mean a free pass for the ladies, and experts agree that a low-sugar (or better yet, no-sugar) diet rich in protein and healthy fats such as Omega-3s is best for optimal health and weight management.

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halloweenAs part of the healthystuff.org project, researchers from The Ecology Center recently tested more than 100 Halloween-themed items including costumes, treat bags and decorations available from well-known retailers. The scary part? Those products contained an alarming number of hidden toxins, including brominated flame retardants, lead, phthalates and tin compounds—all of which have been linked to developmental and behavioral problems in children. Click here to read more.

5 Quick Tips for a Safe and Healthy Halloween:

  1. Decorate Naturally. Use pumpkins, gourds and hay bales to create a haunting scene, and try to reuse holiday decorations from year to year. Choose fragrance-free candles made from bee, palm or soy wax to avoid petroleum byproducts.
  2. Create Low-impact Costumes for Kids. Rather than choosing a store-bought costume, get creative with items you already own or can get used from a local resale shop or from friends. Consider organizing a costume swap at your child’s school.
  3. Choose Play Makeup Carefully. Children love to wear colorful cosmetics as part of their costumes. If they do, make sure they use safe, non-toxic products and apply them as directed.
  4. Skip the Hairspray. Kids can easily breathe in sprays, many of which contain toxic chemicals, colors and fragrances. Find a great hat or wig instead, or create a fun hair-do with ribbons, barrettes and safer, non-spray hair products.
  5. Avoid Synthetic Facemasks and Teeth. Masks and fake teeth are made from a variety of synthetic materials that aren’t always labeled. Plastics may be softened with endocrine-disrupting phthalates. Make your own mask instead from simple materials; masquerade-style masks are fun to create with kids.

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