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Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018
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Beware of what’s in your beer

Americans down 6.3 billion (yes, with a “b”) gallons of beer a year without really knowing what’s in the brew. You may think you know, but most large American macro-breweries are hush-hush about what goes into their pale, watery, low alcohol (around 5 percent) beers. They care more about their bottom line and taking shortcuts to activate your taste buds than your health or your waistline.

It seems some of the suds that find their way to you from, oh, let’s say the Rocky Mountains, contain ingredients that hardly reflect a brewer’s art. Bad add No. 1? Genetically modified high fructose corn syrup, a key player in our national obesity and diabetes epidemic. How does this happen?

Well, American beers are regulated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, not the Food and Drug Administration, and can contain GMO rice, sugars and syrups; dextrose, maltose and corn syrup; plus caramel coloring class III and IV, which are classified as carcinogens; and food colorings FD&C blue No. 1, yellow No. 2 and red No. 40, all linked to asthma, allergies and perhaps hyperactivity. Throw in some alcohol and a little BPA from the lining of the can or keg and ... this brew’s not for you!

Certified organic beers, however, are not allowed to contain GMOs, nor do many European brews, and microbreweries tend to go for traditional ingredients. And you can always enjoy a glass of heart-friendly wine (one a day for women; two for men) if you’re not at risk for alcohol-related problems. Cheers!

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John Candy, Dan Blocker and Marlon Brando shared more than talent, unfortunately. They’re not-so-living proof of the latest findings on the risks of body fat: Obesity kills. And contrary to that list of stars, it’s women who seem to be tipping the scales most dangerously. About 27 percent of deaths of Caucasian women and 22 percent of black women can be attributed to being overweight, while it’s only 5 percent for white men and 16 percent for black men.

You don’t have to be morbidly obese to die from carrying too much fat. Even an extra 10 to 20 pounds over your ideal weight increases your risk of premature death if you’re between 30 and 64 years old!

Luckily, you can avoid becoming one of those statistics!

First, make a commitment to maintain a healthy weight — then enlist friends and family to join in. Sign up for classes and groups that aim for healthy exercise and diet choices. The power of two or more to help you stick with a new, healthy routine is amazing.

Get moving: You and a workout buddy should aim to walk 10,000 steps a day — or jog, swim or cycle for 30 to 60 minutes. A minute of exercise counts as 100 steps. And do strength-training two to three days a week.

The power of two also applies to food! Arrange with a work pal to take turns bringing in healthful lunches. At home, get everyone involved in meal planning, with great-tasting veggies, lean protein and whole grains.

These three steps can reshape your body -- and your future!

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. Visit www.sharecare.com.

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