Category Archives: News

Is your blood better tasting to mosquitos than others?

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Horror movies, books and fan-fics are always trying to claim that vampires gravitate towards a specific flavor of blood- that they can sense it even before one crimson drop hits their tongue.

Some of it’s milky, some sweet.

Even the fake blood used on set has a specific taste. In a Vanity Fair interviewTrue Blood’s Kristin Bauer admitted the prop is “really sweet, like sugar water.”

“I turned the bottle around once and read the ingredients,” she said. “It’s corn syrup, red dye, and gelatin. It’s amazing some of the things the special-effects people on True Blood can cook up.”

But the lore associated with vampire’s taste buds might not be too far off from the truth.

Mosquitos are attracted to a certain type of blood also.

Metabolism and body chemistry play a huge roll in the aroma and flavors of your blood.

Yahoo! Health explores some more interesting factors in what distinguishes your blood as a top shelf beverage or a stale leftover dish.

You’re their type

Mosquitoes are nearly twice as likely to land on people with type 0 blood than those with type A, according to a Japanese study. Most people secrete substances that allow mosquitoes to identify blood type before they bite.

Drunk on you

According to a study published in Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, beer also increases your likeliness of being biten. The researchers reported that, “Mosquito landing on volunteers significantly increased after beer ingestion compared with before ingestion.”

It must be the moon

The tiny bloodsuckers are 500 times more active when the moon is full, reports the American Mosquito Control Association. Overall, the highest risk times for mosquito bites are dusk and dawn, with the females of some species migrating up to 40 miles in pursuit of a meal. Male mosquitoes don’t bite.

Stinky feet

Scientist Bart Knols used his own body as a guinea pig to see which parts mosquitos bite most. Sitting in his underwear, he found that 75 percent of the bugs homed in on his feet. But after he washed them with deodorant soap, the mosquitos bit randomly. His team also reported that stinky cheeses, such as Limburger—which has the same odoriferous compound responsible for foot odor—also draws mosquitoes.

Of mosquitos and mothers

Expectant mothers get bitten about twice as often as women who aren’t pregnant, increasing their risk for bug-borne diseases, according to a study conducted in Gambia. The researchers hypothesized that since women in the later stages of pregnancy exhale 21 percent more volume, mosquitos were drawn in by the moisture and carbon dioxide in their breath. They also found that pregnant women’s abdomens are nearly 1 degree warmer, which may cause more volatile substances—released in sweat and attractive to mosquitos—to be present on their skin.

You can run, but you can’t hide

Both the carbon dioxide we exhale and substances in sweat, such as lactic acid, help mosquitoes home in on their prey. As a result, Dr. Koehler reports. “You’re more likely to be bitten if you’re running or exercising than when you’re at rest, since you’re breathing harder and sweating more.” In fact, physical activity ups risk for bites by as much as 50 percent, according to AMCA.

Dark and devious

Many insects, like bees, are attracted to bright colors resembling a flower. Not mosquitos. Dark-colored clothing can increase your risk of being bitten, compared to lighter-colored garments. In one study comparing the appeal of various hues to mosquitoes, the researchers reported  the following results:  black (most attractive); red (very attractive); grey and blue (neutral); khaki, green, light khaki, and yellow (less attractive).

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New Dove campaign flashes attention on camera shy women

As someone who takes candid pictures for a living, it is amazing to see the amount of people who are camera shy in this world. The majority who spy me with my long lens or decline my request to be photographed and give their name are women.

I find this very unappealing. I understand if you don’t want to open you heart and life up to me so I can write it all down and display it to the community on the front page of the town’s local paper.

But what’s a picture?

What’s a picture of you and your child having fun at the Strawberry Festival?

What’s a picture of you and your friends cheering at a football game?

What’s a picture of you at a socialite event in your formal best?

It really makes me sad. Sure, us women don’t always look dolled up. But just because we look natural, organic, doesn’t mean we should live in shame. Don’t ever be ashamed of your appearance.

Pictures, videos- they capture a moment in time. They’re immortal. And you are immortal in that space.

Dove’s newest campaign seeks to point that out. Sure the video is cute and playful. But it pinpoints a dark truth: When did you stop thinking you were beautiful?

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U.S. no longer world’s fattest developed country

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A new report for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization pinpoints Mexico as the world’s fattest developed nation.

32.8% of Mexican adults are considered obese. This counts people aged 20 and older whose body mass index is 30 and above. The United States sits at 31.8 percent of American adults are considered obese.

“Household surveys from Bangladesh, Egypt, Ghana, India, Kenya, Malawi, Mexico, Mozambique and the Philippines [] find that dietary diversity is strongly associated with household consumption expenditure,” according to the report.

When income correlates with nutrition, it causes a greater chance for malnutrition.

The report focuses largely on malnutrition in the world.

“26% of all children under the age of five are stunted and 31% suffer from vitamin A deficiency, while an estimated  1.4 billion people are overweight, of whom 500 million are obese,” according to the report.

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There is no such thing as a “skinny margarita,” just less fattening

Cinco de Mayo is Saturday. Besides sombreros, nachos and Mexican independence, margaritas are a big factor in the celebration. But margaritas have a notorious reputation for being ridden with calories. 

A friend asked me on Facebook, “Do you have any “skinny” margarita recipes for Cinco de Mayo?!”

The term skinny girl became famous because of a recipe bottled by Bethenny Frankel, one of the cast members of The Real Housewives of New York. Her margarita mix, priced at $19, claimed to have no preservatives and its only two ingredients were agave nectar and tequila.

However, last year Whole Foods yanked it from their shelves after finding that the recipe also contained sodium benzoate, according to a New York Post article. Sodium benzoate is a preservative that extends the shelf life of products by inhibiting the growth of mold and yeast. It is not known to be harmful, however, it is currently being studied.

So what is the best way to make a margarita that is all natural and fewer calories.  

Use fresh juice never store-bought mixes! However, juice still contains a lot of sugars so Margaritas will always be a bit unhealthy, but it’s Cinco de Mayo so enjoy life a little.
 
Here’s a good recipe I found from sheknows.com:
  • 2 ounces silver tequila
  • 1 1/2 ounces lime juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 1 ounce agave nectar

If you don’t want to use agave nectar, substitute it with splenda, orange juice or sugar-free triple sec.

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

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Waiters discriminate against black customers

For many people, going to a restaurant is a dining experience. Not only is delicious food expected, good service is too. But almost half the waiters in a new study admit that they give inferior service to African-Americans based off the perception that they don’t tip as well.

The study was published in the Journal of Black Studies where 200 waiters described black customers as “picky,” “demanding” and “rude.”

However, the study may not be completely comprehensive as the subjects were 87 percent white from chain restaurants in North Carolina.

Below a Huffington Post article about the study, “Ramal” commented:

“Having “served in the trenches” many years ago, I have to say the perceptions stated by the waitstaff in this article/survey are too often correct. However, there are exceptions to everything and good service should always be given. After years of doing this one does pick up on certain constants: men generally tip better than women; the elderly and the rich (Or those wishing to be viewed as “rich.”) usually don’t tip that well. Often too, the poorer the tipper the more service they demand.”

Have you ever worked in a restaurant? Do you think these stereotypes hold true?  Do you notice different treatment based off race, age or gender? Let me know what you think in the comments.

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Bridezilla; How far will you go to fit in your dress?

Brides-to-be often follow this old wedding custom:

Something old, something new
Something borrowed, something blue
And a silver sixpence in her shoe.

Nowhere in that rhyme was there a mention of rapid weight loss. But brides tend to buy dresses too small to motivate them to lose weight (another custom I don’t understand). With the stress of planning a wedding, because it really is stressful to spend your parents’ and fiancée’s money for a giant party glorifying yourself, brides often don’t shed the pounds to fit into their beautiful ball gowns.

A 2007 Cornell University study by Lori Neighbors and Jeffery Sobal found that 70 percent of 272 engaged women said they wanted to lose weight, typically 20 pounds. Crash diets, liquid diets and just not eating for 72 hours before your big day have all been tactics deployed to help the brides zip up. But now the K-E Diet is starting to take off in the U.S.

Think it’s your typical diet? Think again.

The diet involves having a nasogastric tube, feeding tube, inserted through the nose and down into the esophagus for up to 10 days. A slow drip of protein and fat mixed with water, totaling 800 calories per day with no carbohydrates is your only subsidence. This solution is put in a bag and allows you to carry it around in your purse. For those undergoing the diet, no hospitalization is needed. The diet is said to leave you feeling full.

Invented by Gianfranco Cappello of the La Sapienza Hospital at the University of Rome, the diet works in cycles to control hunger. Despite its method of starvation, the K-E Diet does not result in the loss of muscle.

Some still think it is a dangerous technique.”If you lose the weight too quickly your mind is not going to be able to catch up with a newer, skinnier you,” psychoanalyst Bethany Marshall of Beverly Hills, Calif. said in a yahoo article.

Is this $1,500 diet too extreme or will it become just another common wedding tradition added to the budget?

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Vegan perspective: Medication could contain animal by product

When Allison Parks first became a vegan it took her ten minutes to read one food label while shopping. 
 
“It used to be a hassle to read labels [] when I first became a vegan because I had no idea what I was looking for,” the Flagler College junior said. “But now that I know what to look out for it’s actually quite fun. Vegans find humor in the oddest things.”
 
It’s been over four years since Parks has made the switch from meat eater to eating animal free products. This means not eating any fish, honey, milk, or eggs in addition to meats.

But it’s not just food that Parks has to check the labels on. Many medications have animal products in them, namely gelatin. Gelatin is used as an excipient, or coating agent, in medicines and for making medication thicker. In other words, it’s what encapsulates the capsule or forms the pill into a solid as opposed to a powder. Gelatin comes from the bones and skins in animals.

“I don’t think there should be any animal products in medication. Especially in today’s culture there are cheaper, more ethical options for everything,” Parks said. “There is absolutely no need to use and exploit animals the way we do.”

Parks says she is aware that there are animal products in medicine and always checks every label. But in a new study published in the BMJ Postgraduate Medical Journal, less than a quarter of its 500 participants with dietary restrictions such as veganism specifically asked the doctor or pharmacist about the composition of a pill they were prescribed.

This is a stark contrast to the 43.2% of the study population that “would prefer not to take animal product-containing medication, even if no alternative were available.”

So is it the doctor’s responsibility to inform patients of the ingredients of a medication or the patient’s responsibility to check the label?

“I think the doctor should let the patient know because a lot of the time, like in my case, I would have never guessed that there would be animal products in medication. I only found out when someone told me, I wasn’t actively seeking the information. The doctor should always keep their patients informed about what exactly they’re putting in their bodies,” Parks said.

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