Trying to stay on top of health- and wellness-related news and events can be overwhelming. It’s a lot to digest (pun intended). We saved you the trouble. Here’s what happened in November, broken down WellBe-style.
1. Sorry, OTC meds won’t help that cough
What: A new report found that no over-the-counter medicines (yep, not one) have really been proven to work well for coughs. Say what?
The Details: The American College of Chest Physicians took a look at clinical trials of cough syrups and cold products that combined decongestants and antihistamines, decongestants, and painkillers, and found that none of them can be recommended, HealthDay reported.
Why Does This Matter for My Health?
Every season, most people probably get at least one cold-induced cough, study authors said. We’ve been taught to spend money on these drugs when we get sick— Americans spent a collective $9.5 billion on the remedies in 2015 —now it’s time to undo that habit.
While the study said home remedies like chicken soup or using a neti pot for nasal irrigation aren’t proven to help, researchers said that if they make you feel better, do it. One expert told HealthDay that letting yourself rest (take the day off!) and drinking enough water to break up thick cough-causing mucus can help. Oh, and both those things are natural— and free.
The WellBe Takeaway: When we have a cough, we like a soothing tea (especially one made with infection-fighting ginger). We also sleep, stay warm, drink lots of water, avoid alcohol, and load up on herbs and supplements. We haven’t gone to a drug store for a cure in…maybe ever?
2. Sugar industry covered up worrisome research
What: Newly uncovered research shows that the sugar industry buried findings that sugar could promote heart disease and bladder cancer. That was back in the ‘60s, and experts say it’s probably part of a bigger cover-up on the harmful effects of sugar.
The Details: In 1968, animal research funded by the Sugar Research Foundation (now known as the Sugar Association), set out to look at the connection between sugar and heart health. Then, when researchers started to see that sugar might promote heart disease and bladder cancer, the trade group shut it down, The New York Times reported.
This new report from the University of California, San Francisco, is important because it points to the industry’s long pattern of covering the bad stuff up, study author Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine at U.C.S.F., told the Times.
And it isn’t the first time. Last year, the NYT looked at internal documents that demonstrated how the sugar industry paid for research to turn around “negative attitudes toward sugar” in the ‘60s. The top exec who secretly paid off the scientists went on to work in the tobacco industry.
Why Does This Matter for My Health? Any group that pays for research to cover up how unhealthy their goods are is clearly problematic. These documents are rare evidence that the food industry suppressed research just like tobacco companies and drug companies, Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University, told the Times.
The sugar industry has been adamant that sugar isn’t linked to obesity, diabetes, or heart disease, even though plenty of research has disputed that. Now it’s plain and clear that they’ve been manipulating nutrition science— and putting all of us at risk.
The WellBe Takeaway: We’re already pretty good about skipping out on the sweet stuff, but this is a good reminder that it’s an ingredient that does not do the body any good. If we want something sweet, we do it in moderation or grab piece of fruit. (Yes, you can roll your eyes at us.)
3. Congressmen form integrative health group
What: Two Congressmen from both sides of the aisle launched the Integrative Health and Wellness Congressional Caucus to educate legislators.
The Details: Jared Polis, D-Colo., and Mike Coffman, R-Colo. created this “bi-partisan educational forum” as a way to give their fellow lawmakers access to the latest best practices, research, and legislative opportunities related to integrative health.
Why Does This Matter for My Health? When politicians from different parties band together and agree on healthcare, that’s a high five moment. When they talk about focusing on the whole person, not just treating symptoms with drugs, that’s a jump-up-and-down-with-confetti moment. In their joint press releases, the duo emphasized that the chronic disease drain on health spending can be improved by going outside the conventional medicine norms. (Which you guys probably already get, but, you know, government can be slow.)
“As we debate how we can further the health care system in the U.S., we must ensure that it is affordable and accessible to all – but also, we must ensure that it provides the best possible care available. That means investing in evidence-based integrative care,” Polis said in the statement.
The Caucus will hold its first briefing in the first quarter of 2018, so we’ll see where it goes from there.
The WellBe Takeaway: We’re asking our members of Congress to join the Integrative Health and Wellness Congressional Caucus using this handy contact form, which has a pre-written letter, so it’s super easy to send. No excuses, play like a champion.
4. ~10% of Americans eat enough fruits and veggies
What: According to a new CDC report, only 12 percent of people eat enough fruit and 9 percent of people eat the recommended amount of vegetables.
The Details: Federal guidelines recommend people eat at least 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day. The CDC