Review Category : Health

Breakfast Rescue: Be Aware of Excess Sugar and Fat in Muffins, Yogurt

kirin_photo/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Good Morning America’s Breakfast Rescue series takes an in-depth look at popular breakfast items to help you make more informed choices for your diet.

We asked nutritionist Maya Feller to analyze popular muffins and yogurt, and what she found out about fats, calories and sugar was eye-opening.

ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos


Muffins may be a staple at your morning meeting or grab-and-go breakfast at the coffee shop, but the recent trend in offerings may mean you’re getting way more calories than you think.

Good Morning America bought blueberry muffins from Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts (their reduced fat version) and Costco. We asked nutritionist Maya Feller to analyze the nutritional information and give us a breakdown.

The Starbucks muffin comes in at 380 calories with 16 grams of fat but 30 grams of sugar. The Dunkin’ Donuts reduced fat muffin does have lowest fat at 10 grams, but piles on 40 grams of sugar and 410 calories. The whopper of the bunch is the Costco muffin: 32 grams of fat 40 grams of sugar and 600 calories.

To give us a food equivalent to see this nutritional information in a more tangible way, Feller explains, ”When we think about this gigantic muffin, in terms of its fat content, you’re going to be so surprised.”

She unveils a plate of store-bought onion rings and a cola. The cola has 39 grams of sugar and 140 calories, add in a double serving of onion rings coming in at 480 calories, with 4 grams of sugar our food visual still only has 26 grams of fat; 6 grams less than the 32 grams from the Costco muffin.

Feller explains why this is a problem in light of healthy eating guidelines for calories.

”Imagine an average man or woman allotted around 2,000 calories for the day. 600 calories — boom right there! For a woman whose intake is lower at 1800 calories, the muffin represents a third of her allotted food intake each day,” she said.

Part of the issue is the size: Muffins have gotten huge. I pulled out some old cookbooks and checked portion sizes. Thirty years ago a muffin was 1.5 ounces. Now, for example, the muffin from Starbucks is 4 ounces. I looked on the plastic-wrapped tray the Costco muffins come in but there was no nutritional information, so to find the size of the muffin I had to call their 800 number. The customer service representative from Costco relayed that one muffin is 5.75 ounces: almost four times the size of our 80s muffin. But he went on to explain that despite the fact that there is no nutritional info on the packaging the company considers one serving to be half a muffin.

We contacted all three muffin makers for comment. Here are their statements:

Starbucks: ““We are committed to offering a wide variety of food in our stores. Over the years our variety, specific choices and sizes have evolved based on customer and partner (employee) feedback. They have shared with us that they are looking for nourishing and wholesome grab and go snacks and meals that are versatile and easy to fit into a busy lifestyle. The Starbucks Blueberry muffin is a customer favorite and our goal is to provide a muffin that is filled with more real fruit than our previous recipe and enough batter to hold the delicious berries. Additionally, since 2009, Starbucks has remained true to our leadership effort to remove artificial flavors, dyes and high-fructose corn syrup, as well as artificial preservatives wherever possible from our food portfolio.”

Dunkin’ Donuts said: “Dunkin’ Donuts offers a wide range of product choices in various sizes and flavors, and we encourage our customers to make decisions that are right for them. Our menu includes a full line of beverages, baked goods, breakfast sandwiches, better-for-you items from our DDSMART menu. We support the National Restaurant Association’s view that through balance and moderation, coupled with physical activity, all foods can be part of a healthy lifestyle.”

Costco declined to comment.


On average, each American eats about 13 pounds of yogurt a year, but the brand you choose could have a significant effect on your sugar intake.

Nutritionist Maya Feller says the amount of sugar varies wildly between brands.

“When you take the fat out, what you end up putting back in is sugar,” she said, comparing the yogurt to a Twinkie, which has 16.5 grams of sugar.

Greek yogurt generally has 12 grams of protein — four egg whites’ worth, which is good, but the sugar can have an effect on people’s health.

“We’re looking at elevated lipids, diabetes, hypertension, overweight, and obesity,” Feller said.

The good news is that sugar levels vary across different brands of vanilla Greek yogurt.

Good Morning America looked at the sugar content of several brands of yogurt.

GMA compared 5.3-ounce containers of Chobani and Activia vanilla Greek yogurt. The Chobani had 13 grams of sugar, but the Activia had 21 grams.

A 5.3-ounce serving of Stonyfield had 19 grams of sugar and a 5.3-ounce serving of Oikos had 18 grams.

Feller said the sugar difference between the two brands amounted to one popsicle or two sugar cubes.

Those who ate the Activia yogurt five days a week would end up adding the equivalent of about 260 additional popsicles per year to their breakfast routine, Feller said.

GMA contacted the makers of Activia, who said they were continually working to improve the nutrient profile of their yogurt, including to reduce the sugar.

Stonyfield said they were responding to what their customers wanted and made a point about milk sugars, writing in a statement: “About half of the sugar in most of our products is naturally occurring from the lactose.” They added: “Nutritionists don’t consider these sugars to be harmful.”

The manufacturers of Oikos also disagreed with the comparison of its products to a Twinkie, writing: “Yogurt is a nutrient dense food and is a healthy option with nutrients our bodies need, such as calcium, protein, Vitamin D and potassium. Those are not benefits that confectionery sweetened baked goods contain.”

World health guidelines suggest you limit sugar to 50 grams per day, but ideally people should aim for 25 grams of sugar.

More of the yogurt manufacturers’ statements are below, which have been adapted for this article.

About half of the sugar in most of our products is naturally occurring from the lactose and fruit, the rest is added to create the taste most people prefer. We understand that different people have different preferences for the amount of added sugar they choose to consume. For yogurt eaters who prefer no added sugar at all, we offer plain versions of our nonfat, lowfat, whole milk, YoBaby, Greek yogurt, and Petite Crème without any added sugar. We don’t stop there. Like the growing number of families we make yogurt for, we’re concerned with the amount of sugar in food too. We currently have teams looking at nutrition levels across all of our product lines to make sure we’re making the healthiest food available that people still love the taste of and want to eat. Stonyfield cited a nutrition expert who has said much of the sugar in yogurt is naturally occurring because of the lactose and fruit ingredients. The company also mentioned that yogurt contained calcium, potassium, live active cultures and naturally occurring vs. added sugar.

Oikos and Activia: Dannon, the maker of Oikos and Activia, provided the following statement: We make a variety of different types of yogurt based on what people tell us they like, including several varieties with no added sugar and other varieties of Activia with substantially less sugar … such as Activia Greek Light, which has 6 grams of sugar in 5.3oz cup. For a variety with no artificial sweeteners, Oikos Triple Zero, which has 7 grams of sugar in a similar size cup. Another good variety with no added sugar or sweetener to compare (also in a 5.3oz cup) is Oikos Plain, which has 6 grams of sugar. These are delicious and nutritious with comparable nutrient benefits (protein, calcium, etc.) and they have less sugar for people who prefer to limit or avoid added sugar. We feel strongly that people should reduce the amount of sugar in the diet while getting the nutrients our bodies need, and that’s why we offer so many varieties and why we are working to reduce the amount of sugar in our sugar-sweetened products. Unlike a popsicle, yogurt is nutritious and most contain nutrients out bodies needs such as calcium, protein and Vitamin D.

The statement added: Regarding a comparison between yogurt and a confectionary product, we believe it is misguided to look at any single nutrient when comparing the nutritive value of two dissimilar foods (e.g. a banana and a cookie, or in this case a yogurt and a Twinkie). It’s important to look at the benefits of yogurt which – as a nutrient-dense food – is a healthy option with nutrients our bodies need, such as calcium, protein, Vitamin D and potassium. Those are not benefits that confectionery snacks/candy/sugar sweetened beverages/baked goods contain. The amount of sugar listed on the Nutrition Facts Panel of our yogurt is the total amount of sugar, and the milk used to make yogurt naturally contains lactose, which is a form of sugar. We make a variety of products, and our goal is to encourage Americans to eat yogurt every day while continually improving the nutrient profile of our yogurt.

Chobani declined to comment.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Conjoined Twin Girls Are Separated During Marathon 16-Hour Surgery

Nationwide Children’s Hospital(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — For the first time in their lives, 11-month-old twin girls Acen and Apio Akello are experiencing the world apart from one another. The girls, conjoined at the pelvis and hip area, were separated during a 16-hour surgery last week.

The girls are recovering today at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, as they will have to learn to crawl, sit up and even walk now that they’re no longer conjoined. The marathon surgery involved at least 30 members of the hospital’s medical staff and a delicate procedure to divide nerves between the two girls without causing lasting damage, doctors said.

Before their surgery, the girls’ mother Esther Akello said she was eager to see them after they were separated.

“I’ll be very happy to finally hold my babies in my arms and be able to fit them separately. It will be very exciting for me,” she said through a translator. The family is from Uganda.

Dr. Gail Besner, chief of pediatric surgery at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, worked with at least 30 medical staff members during the operation and said they spent “several hundred hours” preparing for the surgery.

“I do find they always have different personalities,” Besner told ABC News of working with conjoined twins. “One is more submissive, one [Acen] is slightly smaller than the other and is a little more high strung.”

The girls first arrived in the hospital with their mother in December when they were given tissue expanders to help prepare them for surgery. Since their arrival, doctors prepped for the operation in multiple ways, including printing 3-D models of the girls’ internal organs and practicing operation techniques on two dolls sewn together.

Besner said the girls are doing well and out of the intensive care unit, but that they will need a lot more therapy before they leave.

“The girls will continue to receive treatment at this time, and I can’t wait to watch them grow,” Besner said in a statement. “My hope is that they will be able to sit up on their own, walk and play like any other child.”

In video released by the hospital, the doctors let out a small cheer as the girls were officially separated. Besner told ABC News that when she told the girls’ mother that they were doing well and fully separated, she did a cheerful dance in celebration.

“The mothers have been waiting for months and months and they’re worried and there’s anticipation,” Besner said. “When you can tell them the babies are safely separated and doing well, it’s indescribable. This mother did an African dance for me and it was really, really precious.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Kids Battling Cancer Describe Their ‘Happy Places’

Children’s Hospital of Atlanta(ATLANTA) — For most of us, going to our “happy place” is just a catchphrase. But for kids battling cancer, a “happy place” is so much more.

“It’s a coping mechanism that can release endorphins and assist with pain management,” said the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in the description of their latest project.

“Oh the Places They’ll Go” used illustrators to bring the kids’ happy places to life. In the weeks leading up to Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, CHOA asked five of their cancer patients to describe their own unique happy places.

“Puppies, unicorns with soft horns, walrus wizards — these are a few of the magical creatures that exist in the ‘happy places’ of kids battling cancer. They are places full of promise, hope and joy. Not the wheelchairs, IVs and medications that exist in their daily lives.”

ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

Hunter’s Happy Place: A Land of Dolphin Rides and Walrus Wizards

For Hunter, the hardest part of his cancer journey is “just losing everything I remember.” Hunter goes to his happy place when he’s scared, mad or nervous.

Lauren’s Happy Place: Where Everything is Sparkly

After years of CT scans, long hospital stays and chemotherapy, the atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor in Lauren’s brain is gone. The 11-year-old is now cancer free, but she vividly remembers the happy place that helped her through the toughest of times.

Justice’s Happy Place: Italian Picnic Surrounded by Wild Animals

Justice’s happy place is a seaside picnic on the lush grounds of an Italian castle on a sunny day in autumn. The picnic is packed with rich Italian cheeses, pastas, pastries and breads, “but that’s probably just the steroids talking.”

Going there reminds her that “just because I’ve been dealt this hand doesn’t mean I’m going to quit the game. I have to keep playing.”

Mya’s Happy Place: Rio de Janiero

While running at school this past February, 11-year-old Mya felt a pop in her knee that ultimately led to a diagnosis of osteosarcoma, or bone cancer.

After countless doctor visits, MRIs, X-rays and chemotherapy treatments, Mya underwent a procedure called rotationplasty, which resulted in amputation of her leg just above the knee. What’s not at Mya’s happy place? Crutches or a wheelchair.

Alex’s Happy Place: Home

Alex Richards was 4 years old when he was first diagnosed with T-cell leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia. For three and a half years, Alex fought through chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant, spinal taps and bone marrow aspirates. Four years later, Alex is cancer free.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Three Tips to Save Big on Prescription Drugs

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Denise Nolan is a mother of three, a small business owner and a rheumatoid arthritis patient who takes daily medication.

The Nebraska resident was diagnosed two years ago and takes the same anti-inflammatory drugs every day, but last month, the price of her prescription skyrocketed.

Nolan says her drug, hydroxycholroquine, used to cost her about $205 for a three-month supply. Then it skyrocketed to more than $500.

“I just about fainted. The price jump was ridiculous,” she said.

Like millions of Americans, Nolan and her family don’t have insurance for prescription drugs. She now spends $2,208 per year at the pharmacy.

ABC News’ GMA on the Money brought on Lisa Gill, a prescription drug expert from Consumer Reports magazine. Gill talked with Nolan to see whether she could help the woman lower her prescription drug bill.

Here are Gill’s tips:

Tip 1 — Gill advised Nolan to shop around, including at discount warehouses such as Costco or BJ’s. People don’t have to be members to shop there and they offer some of the lowest prices, Gill said.

By shopping at Costco, the Nolan family saved up to $184 for a three-month supply. Nolan and her husband, Tony, were thrilled.

“That’s awesome!” she said.

Tip 2 — Gill advised the family to try prescription apps such as GoodRx or LowestMeds. GoodRx compares prescription drug prices in local pharmacies if users input the drug name and zip code.

Using GoodRx, the Nolans were able to find Denise’s prescription for $293 less than at her current pharmacy.

“That’s almost half,” Tony said.

Tip 3 — Gill advised that people try to negotiate.

She called four independent pharmacies in the area, and, after a bit of haggling, found one local pharmacy that was willing to offer Denise’s prescription for just $130 for a 90-day supply.

Denise called that “crazy amazing,” adding: “You don’t think that you can bargain shop for medication. That’s, like, for cars!”

Using these strategies, Gill helped save the Nolans $1,688 a year.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Backlash Erupts over YouTube Star’s ‘Dear Fat People’ Video

George Pimentel/WireImage(NEW YORK) — A comedian’s fat-shaming video has sparked a social media controversy, causing a reality TV star to sound off and leading the comedian to claim her video was temporarily taken down by YouTube.

The controversy began with a six-minute video titled “Dear Fat People” posted last week by comedienne Nicole Arbour.

In the video, which has been viewed more than 20 million times and counting, Arbour says if obesity is considered a disease, then “so is being a shopaholic.”

“Fat-shaming is not a thing. Fat people made that up. That’s a race card with no race,” Arbour says in the video. “I’m not saying this to be an a**hole, I’m saying it because your friends should be saying it to you.”

Arbour’s comments led her to being called a “bully,” with many posting their own YouTube videos in response.

“Fat shaming is not a thing,” said YouTube user Shawn Halpin in his own video. “Why don’t you tell that to the teenagers who killed themselves?”

Arbour’s video led Whitney Thore, the star of TLC’s My Big Fat Fabulous Life, to post her own Facebook video on Saturday to rebut Arbour’s.

“Fat-shaming is a thing, it’s a really big thing, no pun intended,” Thore said in her video. “It is the really nasty spawn of a larger parent problem called body-shaming.”

Thore told ABC News that even if Arbour was trying to make a point, she also created some very serious problems.

“There are a lot of reasons why people are overweight or obese,” Thore said. “This idea that shaming us will make us behave better is just ludicrous.”

Arbour claimed in a tweet Sunday that YouTube temporarily disabled her video, accusing the site of censorship.

YouTube told ABC News the website had corrected their error, writing, “In cases where a channel or video is incorrectly flagged by the community and subsequently removed, we work quickly to reinstate it.”

Arbour told ABC News that she is sorry if her video offended children, but that the backlash will “absolutely not” prevent her from discussing sensitive topics. The comedienne has added a disclaimer on her YouTube channel, warning viewers about the content.

Arbour is also using Twitter to point out that not everyone disagrees with her video, re-tweeting people who have written to her claiming they are overweight and did not find the video offensive.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Your Body: How to Stop Biting Your Nails

iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Do you bite your nails when you’re nervous, bored or stressed? If so, it’s time to call it quits.

Biting your nails is a compulsive habit and it’s often out of one’s control. But there are some medical health consequences to this habit.

Putting your unwashed hands in your mouth can raise your risk of catching colds, infections in your nail bed and cuticles, and even cause your nails to grow with ridges and bumps.

The best way to kick the habit is to replace it with a new and healthier one.

Once you know the root cause of your nail biting — like nerves or stress — find a way to cope, such as writing, drawing or going for a walk.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Your Body: How to Deal with Picky Eaters

Studio-Annika/iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Do you have a picky eater on your hands?

It’s pretty normal for young kids to be picky about what they eat but is it safe to assume they will grow out of it?

Kids who are picky eaters are usually just afraid to try new foods, and the foods they avoid tend to be healthy. This can put kids at risk for everything from heart disease to mental health issues over time.

Here’s the key to getting your kids eating well:

— Slowly introduce new foods to them. Introduce the new foods along with their familiar favorites.

— Talk about healthy food at grocery stores and gardens. Let them feel and smell the food before tasting it.

— And remember: Walk the walk and talk the talk. Demonstrate these good habits at the dinner table yourself, then they’ll follow in your footsteps.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Obama to Give 300,000 Workers Paid Sick Leave with New Executive Order

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — President Obama will sign an executive order Monday giving hundreds of thousands of workers employed by federal contractors access to paid sick leave.

The order will require federal contractors to give employees the ability to earn at least seven days (56 hours) of paid sick leave annually. It will give about 300,000 workers new access to paid sick leave, and an additional number of workers the ability to earn more sick leave than they had before.

Workers will earn at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours of work. The policy, which will begin with new federal contracts in 2017, will allow workers to use paid sick leave to take care of themselves, family members and loved ones, and also apply to absences related to domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.

The order is the latest from the White House aimed at pushing Obama’s workplace agenda around a Republican-led Congress. Earlier this summer, Obama unveiled a proposed rule to expand overtime pay eligibility, boosting the wages of millions of Americans. Last year, he raised the minimum wage for federally contracted workers to $10.10.

Workers’ rights advocates praised Obama’s actions, saying it would encourage private companies to institute similar leave policies.

“Such a move is precisely the government’s role: to create model standards for the rest of the country to follow,” Ellen Bravo, the executive director of Family Values at Work, wrote in a statement.

Critics argue that many of Obama’s workplace executive orders raise costs for federal contractors and subcontractors.

Administration officials said the latest action would help lower costs associated with worker attrition rates and workplace illness, and make companies contracting with the federal government more attractive to potential employees.

The president planned to discuss the new policy and other administration initiatives Monday in a Labor Day speech in Boston. He is also expected to call on Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act, which would require all businesses with 15 or more employees to offer up to seven paid sick days each year.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Kayaker Bitten by Shark Off Malibu Beach Says ‘I Really Respect Them’

ABC News(MALIBU, Calif.) — A California kayaker who was bitten by a hammerhead as he was fishing for sharks off the Malibu coast says he won’t hunt them anymore and would “never use” the word attack to describe what happened to him.

Dylan Marks, 29, was bitten Saturday when he was in his kayak about a mile off shore near Deer Creek Road, just south of Point Mugu. He says he caught a 10-foot hammerhead, but the shark bit his foot, which was dangling over the side of his kayak.

“I was scared when I saw the tendons and stuff exposed, but I was like I’ve got to wrap this up and get to shore,” he said. “It got scared, and it thrashed around and I was in the way.”

He flagged down a fishing boat that took him to shore, and from there he was airlifted to the hospital.

He told ABC News’ Aditi Roy that he doesn’t believe he’s a victim and doesn’t feel like he was attacked.

“No. Never,” he said. “I would never use that word.”

The incident came just one week after other kayakers captured a hammerhead on camera 300 miles down the California coast in La Jolla, and a great white took a bite out of a surfer’s board to the north in San Luis Obispo.

Experts says the recent incidents along the West Coast are in part a result of warmer waters attracting hammerhead sharks, which has made some beachgoers uneasy.

Marks said his close encounter has changed the way he thinks about sharks.

“I’m not shark fishing anymore,” he said. “I really respect them and this has kind of brought that to light.”

Ventura County Fire Capt. Ron Oatman said shark attacks are unusual in Ventura County.

“Definitely not something we see a lot, even though we have a lot of coastline along here, we don’t see a lot of shark incidents,” he said.

ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Hammerhead Shark Bites Foot of Kayaker

iStock/Thinkstock(MALIBU, Calif.) — A California kayaker out fishing hooks a big one in an unexpected way.

While out fishing near Malibu, a kayaker in his 20’s had his foot bitten by a possibly 10-foot hammerhead shark.

He was airlifted to a local hospital with “severe lacerations” on the top of his foot, said Ventura County Fire Captain Ron Oatman.

Officials on the scene said the victim was kayaking about a mile offshore with his partner who was in a separate kayak. According to Oatman, shark attacks are unusual in that area.

“Definitely not something we see a lot, even though we have a lot of coastline along here,” said Oatman. “We don’t see a lot of shark incidents.”

The shark may have been provoked by the man’s dangling feet off the side of his kayak, said the Ventura County fire captain.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →