Blog Posts by The Editors of Rodale News

  • The 6 Worst 'Natural' Ingredients

    They may sound healthy and "all-natural," but you don't want any of these ingredients in your grocery cart.
    By Emily Main,

    Why "Natural" Isn't
    If you saw "poison ivy" listed as an ingredient in your favorite salad mix, would you eat it? Probably not. But poison ivy is natural, right? Who cares if it gives you a heinous rash and makes you miserable? The food industry might as well apply the same logic to all the other so-called "natural" ingredients it tries to sneak into processed foods. Ingredients made from seaweed, palm trees, and fruit juice may have a healthy halo, but they actually come with more health risks than benefits--no matter how natural they sound.

    PLUS: 4 NEW Freaky Ingredients Hiding In Your Food

    Behind the label: You may not have any idea what this weird-sounding ingredient is at first glance, but it's derived from seaweed and used in dozens of so-called "natural," and even some organic, foods to keep ingredients from separating. The problem

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  • 8 Crazy Obesity Triggers

    Researchers are finding connections between everyday chemicals and the bulging-belt-line epidemic.
    By Leah Zerbe,

    There's more to the obesity epidemic than eating too many hot wings and excess sitting. Certainly, poor food choices, particularly too much sugar and sweeteners, and a lack of exercise are major pieces of the obesity puzzle. But a landmark 2002 study, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, found the obesity epidemic paralleled the increase of industrial chemicals in the environment.

    Now researchers are finding that exposures to certain common endocrine-disrupting chemicals--not just lifestyle choices--could be programming us for weight gain, diabetes, and related problems. "We have to acknowledge the fact that obesity is not just about will power, that it's not just all someone's fault," says developmental biologist Retha Newbold, MS, CT, of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

    PLUS: Detox your home by

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  • The 12 Worst Chemicals Lurking in Your Home

    Endocrine disruptors have been called a "global health threat," and of the 1,300 out there, these are the worst
    By Emily Main,

    When the United Nations comes out with a report calling something a "global health threat," we should probably be more than a little concerned. And that's exactly what happened in early 2013 when the World Health Organization and the UN Environment Programme applied the term to a class of chemicals known as endocrine disruptors. The reason: A growing body of research is linking these potent chemicals, which interfere with the endocrine system that regulates your hormones, to global rates of chronic disease and infertility. (So, what exactly is a hormone disruptor? Find out, here.)

    "Never has there been a time in history that the disease burden of the human population is predominantly chronic disease, not communicable or infectious disease," Thomas Zoeller, PhD, professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a coauthor of the

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  • 10 Sleep Habits that Cause Weight Gain and Mess with Hormones

    You won't be able to lose dangerous fat if your sleep patterns are off. Here's how to get the best sleep of your life.

    Adapted from The Super-Charged Hormone Diet, a bestselling book by Natasha Turner, ND.

    Fat can wreak havoc on your hormones and impair your ability to lose fat. For instance, hormones like melatonin, serotonin, and dopamine influence motivation, mood, sleep, and cravings. The right natural growth hormone balance is essential because it handles growth and repair of your body. (A deficiency in this hormonal department promotes fat gain!)

    Sleep plays an important role in regulating all of these hormones. It's time for a sleep overhaul if you find yourself regularly Googling: "How can I get better sleep."

    The following list highlights sleep-disrupting habits that can sabotage your slumber. Take a look at these offenders--and avoid them--to optimize your sleep!

    Poor sleep habits can actually affect more than just your weight. See these 7 Surprising

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  • 6 Unhealthy Habits that Are as Bad as Smoking

    Don't smoke? Doesn't matter. You could still be doing damage to your long-term health.
    By Emily Main, Rodale News

    You don't smoke. You live a generally healthy life, so you're in the clear as far as unhealthy habits are concerned, right?

    Not so fast! It seems like every day, a new study comes out finding that habit X is "as bad for you as smoking," whether it's sitting all day or eating too much fat. So is there any legitimacy to those claims? We checked out a bunch of those studies to find out what the researchers mean when they claim that those things are as bad for you as cigarettes, and in most cases, they're not lying. The following six unhealthy habits either expose you to the same contaminants in cigarette smoke or lead to cancer rates equivalent to those caused by smoking. Fortunately, these are easy to fix with a few modifications to your daily routine so you (and your heart and your lungs) can be glad you don't in fact smoke.

    PLUS: A recent report projected that

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  • 8 Toxic Habits You Need to Fix, Now

    Use these simple changes to jumpstart the healing process.
    From the editors of

    Adapted from The Detox Prescription by Woodson Merrell, MD, chairman of the Department of Integrative Medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City.

    I see them every day: the walking wounded. They drag themselves into my office looking pasty, bloated, and wan. that their bodies are sending, trying to prompt them to slow it all down--to take care of They are tired--often bone tired, with barely enough energy to make it through the day. At the same time, they are working harder than ever, running 100 miles an hour on scant fumes, stepping on the stress accelerator all day until it's time to pass out.

    They're overweight (maybe just a little, maybe a lot). They're achy. They complain of arthritis, or back pain, or stiff neck, or one of the millions of other painful little messages themselves.

    Toxic avengers surround us every day. It's time to ID them and start healing!


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  • 6 Ways to Treat Your Pet’s Food Allergies

    By Jean Hofve, DVM, for

    Food allergies aren't just a human problem. As they have in people, food allergies have been on the rise in pets, turning their dinnertime into an all-out health assault.

    Pets typically have skin-related or digestion-related symptoms when exposed to food ingredients they're allergic to. Skin rashes (particularly around the ear and face) and excessive licking--especially around the paws, legs, or tummy--and itchy inflamed ears are signs your pet could be dealing with a food allergy problem. On the digestive end of the symptom spectrum, food allergies in pets often present themselves in the form of vomiting and/or diarrhea.

    BEWARE: 5 Toxic Ingredients Lurking in Your Pet's Food

    Often, cats and dogs develop "food allergies" or "food intolerances" to ingredients found in commercial cat food. The top allergens are commercially processed chicken and corn (very common pet food ingredients), beef (often labeled as "meat by-products" or "meat

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  • 12 Household Toxins You Should Banish from Your Home

    By Leah Zerbe,

    Healthy home alert! To save money, protect your health, and help the environment, give these toxic tenants an eviction notice.

    1. Coal Tar Driveway Sealant

    If you plan to seal your blacktop driveway come spring, avoid coal tar-based sealants. They contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, which studies suggest can be toxic, causing cancer or other genetic mutations in your body. When rainwater and other precipitation hit your driveway, the toxic chemicals run off into your yard and into your local drinking water supply. In fact, this situation has been compared to dumping quarts of motor oil right down a storm drain.

    Better alternative:
    Gravel and other porous materials are best for driveways because they allow rainwater to sink into the ground, where it gets filtered and doesn't inundate water treatment plants. But if you do seal blacktop, pick asphalt sealant and stay away from any product that has coal tar in its name (or products

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  • 9 Weird Health Habits You Need to Adopt

    Move past the annual checkups and daily sweat sessions. These habits are way more fun.Move past the annual checkups and daily sweat sessions. These habits are way more fun.Move past the annual checkups and daily sweat sessions. These habits are way more fun.

    By Emily Main,

    Bored With Your Daily Routine? You eat right. You exercise. You go to the doctor for regular checkups. Those are all great habits to maintain throughout your life, but why do they have to sound so, well, boring? Staying healthy by having more sex and taking more naps is way more fun! If you don't believe us, we dug through academic journals to come up with scientific proof that healthy choices can center around more than just vegetables and treadmills. Punch something, take off your shoes, go to happy hour, or try any one of these other weird health habits you need to adopt.

    PLUS: What Your Annual Physical Isn't Telling You

    1. Eat soup out of a box.
    Want to develop a single habit that will lower your risk of heart disease, brain cancer, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and infertility? Give up canned goods forever. A slew of studies over the past

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  • The Dangerous Chemicals in Mardi Gras Beads

    Photo by Wikid77 via Wikimedia CommonsPhoto by Wikid77 via Wikimedia CommonsNew report finds ridiculous levels of lead and other heavy metals in cheap beaded necklaces.
    By Leah Zerbe,

    Mardi Gras is full of gorgeous feathery costumes, cocktails, flashy masks, and…toxic flame retardants?
    We don't want to spoil your Fat Tuesday fun, but maybe skip the beaded necklaces this year. Aside from being destined for landfill waste, those plastic little beads pack a potent chemical punch. A recent investigation detected extremely hazardous chemicals in Mardi Gras beads.

    The holiday's origins trace back to medieval Europe, where one of the traditions--beaded necklace throwing--included tossing beaded strings made of glass. Probably a cleanup disaster, but the move to replace glass with plastic many years ago has its flaws, too.

    Why? Those plastic beaded necklaces have become the dumping grounds for recycling plastic, particularly plastic electronic waste often laced with harmful heavy metals and other substances linked to asthma,

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