Sugar: It’s the New Tobacco

February 11, 2016

You won’t find a Surgeon General’s warning on your bag of sugar, nor is it regulated by the FDA. Yet sugar can be far more addictive than cocaine, and Americans consume way more than they should.  Much of it is found in processed foods and sweetened drinks.  According to a study published in JAMA: Internal Medicine in April 2014, most U.S. adults consume about 22 teaspoons of sugar a day.

Ingestion of sugar, like many drugs, causes a release of dopamine in the reward center of the brain.  For those who are prone to addiction, eating “junk food” which contains added sugars can cause a craving for more sugar which can only be satisfied with increased and steady doses.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the maximum amount of added simple sugar (not counting whole foods, fiber, or starch) recommended per day is:

  • Men — 37.5 grams (9 teaspoons)
  • Women — 25 grams (6 teaspoons)
  • Children– 12 grams (3 teaspoons)
  • Pre-Teens/Teens — 20 grams (5 teaspoons)

To compute the caloric count, multiply by four.  For example, 25 grams of sugar is equal to 100 calories.

Overuse of sugar is a leading contributor to obesity in both children and adults, and has been linked to high cholesterol and heart disease, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal problems, inflammation, suppression of the immune system and headaches.

Read the Label

Many common foods, which one might not think of as sugar-laden, have a surprising amount of it.  For example:

  • 1 Tb catsup – 4 g
  • Starbucks Latte Grande – 17 g
  • Graham cracker – 8 g
  • 20 oz Vitamin Water – 33 g
  • 12 oz can of soda – 39 g

Know What You’re Reading

There are literally dozens and dozens of names for sugar and artificial sweeteners found in processed foods.  Some common ones are Aspartame, corn syrup, fructose,  Saccharine, Splenda and Sweet’n’Low.   Some not-so-well-known names are gluten, isolate, sodium cyclamate and truvia, and anything ending in “ose,” such as dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose or sucrose.

Food for Thought

Be a smart and healthy consumer.  “Everything in moderation” is good advice when it comes to most things.  However, if you are one of the unlucky ones with an addictive personality and have a problem with sugar, learn the names used for added sugar in food, read all labels, and avoid something that can cause you so much harm. Stick with whole foods, including fruits (but not juices), and use raw honey to satisfy that craving for sweets.

Best Products & Treatments for Scars

January 27, 2016

Pictures of Wesley’s lip after the car accident: with stitches & after healing

Today, you can barely tell where facial plastic surgeon Dr. Ed Farrior stitched up Wesley Winer after a terrible car accident, a few years ago.

“It was bad.  I lost a big portion of my lip,” Wesley said.  “I had just really come to the conclusion that I was going to be scarred for life, like horribly.”

Read more

Top Money Mistakes to Avoid in 2016

January 12, 2016

A new year is here and that means it’s time to get your financial future in order.  Here are the top money mistakes to avoid in 2016.

Number 1Don’t fail to have a plan.

“If you don’t have a goal, you’re gonna end up somewhere.  It’s not maybe where you want to be,” certified financial planner Chris Redhead says.

Read more

Is Pet Insurance Worth the Cost?

December 16, 2014

Angie Moreschi – Consumer Wise

Our pets are part of the family and we all want the best care for them, but vet care can get very expensive these days. Pet insurance is an option some pet owners consider to help ease the financial burden in case of an emergency or major illness, but does it pay off over time?

Read more

Credit Monitoring – Paying for it & Doing it on your own

March 11, 2014

By Angie Moreschi

Credit monitoring is one of those things that you probably don’t think much about until something bad happens.  Well, bad things have been happening.  Ever since a few big security breaches at major retailers like Target, Neiman Marcus and Michaels Craft Store this year, a lot of us are suddenly thinking about it.

Jillian Estes is among the millions of target shoppers whose private information was compromised in the recent, major security breach.  She knows every time she uses her credit card, there’s some risk, but actually finding out your information has been stolen, takes it to a whole new level.  “There’s an obvious sense of violation, because that’s our money.  That’s our account.  How far does this go? Really, how deep is this?  And we had to do something,” Estes said.

Read more

Economic Predictions for 2014

January 2, 2014

Al Lewis

Our favorite economic prognosticator consulted his Magic 8 Ball to provide what is sure to be an accurate assessment of the year ahead.  Al Lewis, who pens the Tell It to Al business news blogs and a weekly column for the Wall Street Journal, is always good for a few laughs– and maybe a few tears, as we look ahead to what 2014 has in store for our checkbooks.

Take it away Al:

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in all these years of covering business, it’s that nobody knows the future any better than the Magic 8 Ball by Mattel.

At the end of each year, I consult with my little black globe to see what the next year will bring for the economy.


For 2013, it accurately predicted: new highs for the stock market but a bumpy year for the economy; oil prices below $100 a barrel for most of the year; gold prices not returning to their 2011 high; and an unimpressive recovery for housing.


Click here to see what it forecasts for 2014 in my column in The Wall Street Journal Sunday.

10 Worst Cars of 2013

January 2, 2014

Chevrolet Spark CVT

Every year, Consumer Reports tests cars on its own track to come up with the best of the year and the worst.

Here is the list of duds as rated by Consumer Reports:

1. Chevrolet Spark CVT

2. Honda Crosstour

3. Lexus IS 250

4. Lincoln MKS

5. Mercedes-Benz CLA

6. Mitsubishi Mirage

7. Mitsubishi Outlander

8.  Nissan Sentra

9. Nissan Versa sedan

10.  Scion tC

Click here to read more about each car on



New Study Shows Many Herbal Supplements Fake

November 6, 2013

Popular herbal supplements like echinacea, Ginko biloba, St. John’s Wart, and black cohosh are among dozens being called into question, in a new study that used DNA testing.  The study found many of these supplements don’t actually contain the herbs, at all.  Instead, they are little more than powdered rice and weeds.

Canadian researchers tested 44 bottles of popular herbal supplements sold by 12 companies.  A third of the pills actually contained none of the purported herb and 60-percent were diluted.

The New York Times reports on the controversy:

 Americans spend an estimated $5 billion a year on unproven herbal supplements that promise everything from fighting off colds to curbing hot flashes and boosting memory. But now there is a new reason for supplement buyers to beware: DNA tests show that many pills labeled as healing herbs are little more than powdered rice and weeds.


Using a test called DNA barcoding, a kind of genetic fingerprinting that has also been used to help uncover labeling fraud in the commercial seafood industry, Canadian researchers tested 44 bottles of popular supplements sold by 12 companies. They found that many were not what they claimed to be, and that pills labeled as popular herbs were often diluted — or replaced entirely — by cheap fillers like soybean, wheat and rice.

Click here to read more from the New York Times.


Who Buys Generic and Why

June 25, 2013

When you look at a generic product on the shelf, is there a little voice in the back of your head that says, ‘It must be a little bit inferior to the name brand‘?  That’s certainly what the name brands would like you to think, since they spend tons of money to get you to pick their product, but generally research shows most generics are almost identical to many name brands. And, of course, they cost a lot less.

So, who among us is smart enough to realize that and resist the urge to go for the well-advertised product, instead reaching for that blandly packaged generic?  According to a new study of shopping data by Nielson Co. people who work as nurses and chefs are among those who most often save the bucks and chose the generic.

Education appears to be a factor in choosing generics.  People who’ve gone to college are more likely to pick generic headache remedies than those who don’t.  The Wall Street Journal took an intriguing look at the new research.  You can read more here.



Does Your Doctor Get Money from Drug Companies?

May 30, 2013

It’s common practice for drug companies to compensate doctors as promotional speakers and advisers. The income some get can be quite substantial, creating potential conflicts of interest.  Critics worry that such substantial compensation can affect a doctor’s judgement on which drugs might be best for their patients.

The non-profit News Outlet ProPublica publishes an annual database that compiles payments from 15 pharmaceutical companies to doctors around the country. So far, more than $2 billion dollars in payments are accounted for since 2009. The Dollars for Docs database makes it very easy for you to search and find out if your doctor is receiving money from pharmaceutical companies.

Among the drug companies that gave the most from 2009 to 2012 were Pfizer at $538.2 million, GlaxoSmithKline at $238.6 million, and Merck at $224.3 million. Doctors from all over the country are recipients of drug company compensation, but the top earners were from just a handful of states– New York, Texas, California, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

Is your doctor on the list?  Click here to find out.

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