In American football, there's a "fake" happening on almost every play. Whether it's a head fake, a running fake or a passing fake, the idea is to trick the defense into going one way while your offense goes another – and gains yardage.
But if you take in lots of artificial sweetener, you fake your digestive system into believing that you're giving it calories when you're not, and all you'll gain is unwanted weight and an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.
A team of researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia took a look at what happens in your body when you use a lot of artificial sweeteners for as little as two weeks, and found that those fakes throw your body's ability to control blood glucose out of whack.
Seems that faking out your endocrine system ("Here, you have fuel. Oh, wait, no you don't!") damages your body's ability to process real sugar properly and increases post-meal blood glucose levels. So when you eat food containing real sugar – naturally found in 100 percent whole grains, fruits and veggies, and crammed into packaged foods and beverages – your system hoards it and gets overwhelmed. That leads to glucose intolerance. Fake sugar substitutes also change the bacteria inside your gut, increasing inflammation and insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes is around the corner. Clearly, sugar substitutes lie to your body and nobody likes a liar.
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Craving a sweet treat? Enjoy 1 ounce of 70 percent cacao dark chocolate and 2 to 3 servings of fresh fruit. See, there's no reason to lie.
Prevent road rage
The Lone Ranger rode across the Great Plains during the early days of the Wild West, enforcing law and order. His creed: "I believe that to have a friend, a man must be one" and "all men are created equal and that everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world."
If those words were heeded today, we bet the term "road rage" would never have had to be coined in 1987 by a still-wild West Coast radio station when reporting repeated incidents of gunplay on L.A. freeways. Since then, road rage has become increasingly dangerous: Over a seven-year period, it was linked to 218 murders and 12,610 injuries. Here are a few tips to help you avoid it.
Don't cause road rage in others
▪ Pay attention (no texting or putting on makeup) to traffic flow, and be considerate; 49 percent of road rage incidents are caused by a distracted or inattentive driver.
▪ Don't speed or change lanes recklessly. Signal! Always check your blind spot.
Don't react to bad behavior
▪ Don't honk your horn, flash your lights or make obscene gestures at other drivers to express your discontent.
▪ If someone cuts you off or misses moving through a light because they are texting, practice anger management, such as deep breathing and redirecting your thoughts to more pleasant topics.
▪ If enraging traffic is a daily occurrence, consider carpooling or taking public transportation.
Remember that road rage – assault or endangering other people or property with a motor vehicle – is a criminal offense.
When apologies backfire
Last April, when United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz issued apology after apology for the forcible ejection of Dr. David Dao from a flight he was seated on, the repeated mea culpas did nothing to quiet public reaction to the incident. Social media lit up with outrage, and millions viewed various videos of the incident on YouTube.
That wouldn't have surprised researchers who recently published a study in Frontiers in Psychology. They found that apologies are not the most effective way to ease someone's damaged feelings when you have turned down or rejected them.
The researchers conducted a series of experiments with around 1,000 people. In one scenario, people shown rejection letters found the ones containing apologies to be more hurtful. In another, researchers told people that they were being rejected from a hot-sauce-tasting event, but allowed those barred from the activity to decide how much hot sauce participants had to eat. Those who had received apologies ("I'm sorry, I don't want to work with you.") took more revenge on the hot-sauce qualifiers.
So next time you have to reject (or eject) someone romantically, professionally or socially, explain your reasoning and be friendly and polite. Accept responsibility for your action. But don't say, "I'm sorry." That will just make the rejection sting more and put you in the hot seat. Save "I'm sorry," for when you are in the wrong and need to make sincere amends, but don't ask for forgiveness – that's not up to you. Then it works wonders.
Throwing an off switch for a big itch
If you're one of the 25 percent of American adults who have had to deal with a persistent itch, called pruritus, you know it's nothing to laugh at.
Pruritus can alert you to severely dry and aging skin, an allergy (dermatitis) or troublesome immune response (psoriasis), certain cancers and even kidney problems. That's why it's important to ID the cause.
▪ For dermatitis and psoriasis, try antihistamines, UV light therapy and/or topical compounds such as corticosteroid ointments; for dry skin, avoid harsh soaps and use lotions regularly.
▪ If it's kidney-disease-related, gabapentin and pregabalin (used to treat epilepsy and neuropathic pain) may help. Also, talk to your doc about foods to avoid.
▪ Cancer-related itching may result from infection or jaundice, or the tumors themselves. It can be treated with antihistamines, steroids, antidepressants and alternative, stress-reduction therapies.
There may be a way to turn off the itch sensation altogether. Chinese scientists isolated itch-processing neurons in the spinal cord and, in the lab, have been able to interrupt the pathway that triggers "itch-induced scratching behavior." Targeted therapy is under development.
Mehmet Oz is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen is chief wellness officer and chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic.