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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Summer is all about backyard barbecues and that means lots of burgers and food on the grill.

If you're trying to be healthier this summer, there are simple swaps to lighten up the go-to grilling dishes, says nutrition expert Brooke Alpert.

Alpert, author of "The Diet Detox," shared a healthy summer BBQ menu with leaner proteins that are lower in calories and sodium content to keep you on track.

1. Try a turkey burger instead of beef and skip the bun.

The classic beef burger with lettuce, tomato, pickle and cheese has about 564 calories. Instead of beef, try a turkey burger on a collard green wrap with tomato, pickle, and cheese

Why it’s a great figure-friendly swap: "Turkey is a leaner meat than beef. Not only is a turkey burger lower in calories, it's also lower in fat and higher in calcium than beef. Plus, wrapping your burger in a high fiber vegetable like collard greens saves on calories and provides an amazing source of nutrients like antioxidants to keep you healthy."

How to make it: Grill turkey burger patty on both sides. Place in collard green wrap and add one tomato, slice, one pickle spear, and a slice of cheddar cheese.

2. Leaner lamb chops instead of baby back ribs.

Why it’s a great figure-friendly swap: Lamb chops have a lower fat content than baby back ribs. In addition, baby back ribs are often prepared with a ton of sugary BBQ sauce, which is extremely high in sugar and empty calories. Lamb chops are leaner and lower in calories.

How to make it: Set up your grill with a high heat area and a medium heat area. Place chop on grill over the medium heat for 4 minutes on each side, then move it to the high heat area for 1-2 mins on each side to sear the outside.

3. Tuna kebabs instead of steak.

Swap a 4 oz. steak kebab with peppers and opinions for tuna instead.

Why it’s a great figure-friendly swap: Tuna is much leaner than beef in terms of fat content. Plus, tuna is full of omega-3 fatty acids -- good fats and a staple of a healthy diet. Just be careful not to consume too much tuna too often, as your mercury content could rise.

How to make it: Make your charcoal grill very hot.

Season the tuna with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and slice into 1.5-inch pieces.

Grill each side for 1 - 2 minutes, until the outside is just done but the center is still red and raw.

For onions and peppers: Do a rough chop of the vegetables. Season with olive oil, salt, and pepper and place on grill for about 12 minutes or until they reach desired texture/consistency. Place the vegetables and tuna pieces onto kebab stick.

4. Bye, bye bratwurst.

Pass on the bratwurst and try a turkey hot dog with mustard and sauerkraut.

Why it’s a great figure-friendly swap: Bratwurst contains meat with a high fat content and therefore a high calorie content. Choosing leaner meat like turkey saves on calories. Plus, the sodium content is lower so you won’t feel that salt-bloat the morning after your BBQ. The sauerkraut is also an amazing source of probiotics which will improve your gut bacteria and overall health.

Recipe for each dish: Grill a turkey hot dog like the Great Organic Uncured Turkey Hot Dog from Applegate. Place on bun with 1 teaspoon mustard and 1 tablespoon sauerkraut.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW  YORK) -- Weight loss may be a promising treatment for obese people with one of the most common joint disorders, according to a new study.

For those who are overweight or obese with knee osteoarthritis, losing 20 percent of their body weight can result in a 25 percent reduction in pain, according to a study published Monday in the medical journal Arthritis Care and Research.

Researchers at Wake Forest University analyzed data from a previous trial that included 240 overweight and obese adults with knee osteoarthritis and pain. Each lost weight over an 18-month period. Some had lost less than 5 percent of their body weight, some between 5 and 10 percent of their body weight, a smaller group shed between 10 and 20 percent of their body weight, and 20 percent or more of their body weight.

Everyone who lost weight improved in the areas of overall pain, quality of life, mobility, knee joint loads and inflammation. Researchers also found that the greater the weight loss, the greater chance of improvements in those areas.

More benefits were seen in the group that lost at least 10 percent of their body weight, and the best benefits were seen in the group that lost more than 20 percent of their body weight.

“Currently, there is no treatment that slows the progression or prevents this debilitating disease; hence, research has focused on improving clinical outcomes important to the patient,” Dr. Stephen Messier of Wake Forest University and lead author of the study said in a statement.

“A 10 percent weight loss is the established target recommended by the National Institutes of Health as an initial weight loss for overweight and obese adults. The importance of our study is that a weight loss of 20 percent or greater—double the previous standard—results in better clinical outcomes, and is achievable without surgical or pharmacologic intervention,” Messier added.

While the study was small, it showed that those who lost 20 percent of their body weight had an additional 25 percent reduction in pain and significantly higher quality of life compared to the group that lost 10 percent of their body weight.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Becca Rillo Photography(NEW YORK) -- The parents of a 6-year-old boy who suffers from a debilitating disorder likened to 'childhood Alzheimer's' have started a campaign to save their son.

"Carter is probably one of the most loving children you'll ever meet," Jennifer Sarker, Carter's mom, told "Good Morning America." "He's very affectionate, he's very playful. He keeps us on our toes and makes us laugh daily. He's sporty and outgoing and just loves to meet everyone."

In 2016, Carter Sarker was diagnosed with Sanfilippo Syndrome, a rare neuro-degenerative disorder will take his ability to talk, swallow and walk. It's likely Carter will develop seizures and suffer severe dementia.

There is no cure, and Carter's life expectancy is his mid-to-late teenage years.

Now, Carter's parents are urgently trying to raise $1 million in one month to fund a clinical trial that could not only save Carter's life, but many others in a similar situation.
Sarkar said her son has begun to stumble when he walks, has lost some language skills and is experiencing very early stages of memory loss.

"I think what's been most eye-opening to us is, we'll be at our favorite place and he will be so scared and frightened," she said. "He's crying because he doesn't know how we got there. He starts to cry, I start to cry."

Sarkar said that Carter was diagnosed after she brought him to the doctor for unrelated chronic pancreatitis. Because Carter was not yet potty trained, the gastroenterologist suggested she bring him to a geneticist.

"After 30 seconds [the geneticist] looked at him and said, 'He might have Sanfilippo syndrome,'" Sarkar said, adding that children with the disorder have similar facial features.

Sarkar said she inquired about treatment options, but doctors told her there wasn't a cure.

"[The doctor] said, 'You just have to go home and love on him," Sarkar recalled. "No parent should ever have to bury their child. My husband and I went into a dark place. It wasn't just about the pain and suffering that was going to happen to him, it was about our daughter and how this was going to affect her as well."

In 2017, ABC News covered Carter's story when his neighborhood held a Halloween block party for him five months early.

At the time, Cara O'Neill, a pediatrician and the scientific director at Cure Sanfilippo Foundation, had said Sanfilippo syndrome is caused by children not having enough of an enzyme to break down normal byproducts of cell metabolism.

"It builds up and causes damages to the cells, but particularly brain cells," O'Neill explained.

Divaj Vat, Carter's doctor, told "GMA" that Sanfilipo affects about 1 in 70,000 children.

"Unfortunately, because there is no proven treatment and the disease always gets worse, patients with this disease usually don't live past their teenage or early adult years," said Vat, a physician and biochemical geneticist at Kaiser Permanente in Southern California. "The metabolic genetics team at Kaiser Permanente is committed to assisting and guiding patients with these kinds of disorders to suitable clinical trials and treatments. Given Carter’s situation, he is doing remarkably well right now. His parents are doing a great job caring and advocating for him."

There are four types of Sanfillippo. Carter has Sanfillippo type A, which Sarkar said is the most common and the most severe.

For now, Carter's family keeps his brain active with speech therapy, physical and occupational therapy, music therapy and more.

"He's progressing, which is great, especially when doctors say they lose their speech and language around 5 with this disease," Sarker said. "We are consistently trying to keep him on his toes so we have a little more time with him."

On May 22, Jennifer and Samir Sarkar created the crowdfunding page, which has generated more than $400,000 and will close on June 22. Their goal remains $1 million.

All funds will go to the nonprofit Cure Sanfilippo Foundation, which is funding the trial that could give Carter a second chance.

"The research is a novel enzyme replacement therapy that has had remarkable results of helping fix the brain in closely related diseases," Sarker explains on the website. "We are currently racing against time to fund this trial and get it up and running. It will help Carter and so many other kids also hoping for a chance at life."

Glenn O'Neill, president of Cure SFF, said that the Sarkars have been raising awareness and funding for research for not only Carter, but for thousands who suffer from this disease.

O'Neill explained that the only chance for these kids to survive is they must meet certain criteria to be included in a clinical trial.

A common reason why children with Sanfilippo syndrome are left out of trials is because there's a very limited number of trials and spots, O'Neill added. Currently, there is one trial one for type A of the disorder and one trial for type B. Both only have a handful of spots remaining, with Phase 1 trials only including six to 20 patients.

"Children left out of clinical trials, regardless of the reasons why, have no chance at life, unfortunately," he told "GMA" in a statement. "Saving Carter is a story of one family and one child. It is an urgent push to help raise $1 million to fund this novel enzyme replacement therapy and bring it to patients who desperately need it, like Carter."

"We know what the next five years are going to look like," Sarkar said of her son, "so we are trying to do everything we possibly can to change that for him."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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WPBF-TV(PALM BEACH, Fla.) -- This Father's Day, a daughter is giving her dad a priceless gift -- a second chance at life.

Florida high school music teacher Ronald Corbin had been on a waiting list for a kidney transplant for three years when his daughter, Candice Corbin, contacted him with good news, according to ABC Palm Beach station WPBF-TV.

After she grew tired of her father's waiting, she decided to take a test to see whether she could be a donor.

"I didn't know she was getting tested," Ronald told WPBF-TV. "She lives in New York, and she got tested up there. And one day she called me and said, 'Daddy, I'm a match.'"

At the end of May, at Cleveland Clinic Florida in Weston, Candice donated a kidney to her father, who had been on dialysis since 2015.

Ronald said he never would have asked or expected his daughter to donate a kidney.

"Wow, it's amazing -- it was beyond me to realize she would do this for me, but she's a great kid and I really love her," he said.

Both father and daughter are doing well after the surgery, WPBF-TV reported. Ronald said he's recovering quickly, and Candice is back singing in New York.

"I'm just blessed to have you in my life," he told her. "Thank you, and I love you."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Life can be stressful. Very stressful.

Dealing with work, relationships, family, social media and the struggles of daily life can be a lot.

Finding someone to talk about dealing with it all can be stressful in itself. Breaking away from work to meet with a mental health professional, the potential cost of those appointments and trying to navigate insurance to get mental health coverage -- just arranging to get help can be hard.

But if smartphones are good for anything, it's easier access to information -- and even help. They can make mental health support accessible anytime, anywhere.

Here are seven apps that provide mental health and mindfulness support on the go.

1. What's Up

What's Up is a free app that helps users cope with depression, anxiety, anger and stress through therapy methods and tools like a diary and a tracker for both positive and negative habits. The app also has forums to connect with others, guides on staying grounded and calming breathing techniques.

2. Insight Timer

This app offers nearly 10,000 free guided meditations to choose from. Users can modify the meditation to what they need at the moment, choosing from options ranging from ambient sounds to the sounds of bells.

Insight Timer also has more than 3,000 discussion groups and local meet-ups run by users.

3. Happify

Happify is one case where playing games on a smartphone can serve a meaningful purpose. The app, free with in-app purchase options, has different tracks –- from parenting to anxiety to confidence –- that are coached by trained professionals. Choose tracks and then play games and activities to progress.

4. Talkspace

Talkspace allows users to connect virtually with a licensed therapist. For $49 per week, there's private access to a therapist via text, audio or video chat, as often as daily or multiple times per day.

5. Stigma

Creating a word cloud may not be the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to therapy, but it is a tool in this app. Stigma provides an easy way to journal and then visually display the prominent words in that writing as a way to track thoughts and feelings. The app can also track mood in a visual calendar and graph how each person's mood adjusts over time.

6. Anxiety Reliever

The clouds featured on this app's background give a clue to where it leads: A calmer and more peaceful state. The subscription-based app has audio sessions that focus on relaxation and overcoming anxiety and stress.

7. Quit That!

The seeming inability to quit something -- whether it's alcohol or Diet Coke or the daily coffee rituals blowing budgets -- can lead to stress. Quit That! is a free app that tracks habits people are trying to quit and shows accomplishments along the way, like how long it's been since quitting and how much money it's saved.

Anyone in crisis, or who knows someone in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- An outbreak of salmonella that has infected 73 people in 31 states has led investigators to a suspected culprit: certain batches of Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal.

The Kellogg Co. has recalled packages of the cereal that are either 15.3 ounces or 23 ounces in size and have a “best if used by” date -- printed on the top of the box – between June 14, 2018, and June 14, 2019.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is urging people to throw away or return Honey Smacks cereals that fall under the recall.

"Even if some of the cereal was eaten and no one got sick, throw the rest of it away or return it for a refund," the CDC said. "If you store cereal in a container without the packaging and don’t remember the brand or type, throw it away."

“This is based on preliminary evidence linking the cereal to an outbreak of illnesses across the country," said Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in an agency brief. "The FDA has already initiated an inspection of the facility that we believe is linked to the salmonella contamination. And we’ve worked with the company to immediately initiate a recall of this product.”

The CDC is working along with the FDA investigating the outbreak.

Of the 73 people known to have been infected in this salmonella outbreak, at least 24 have been hospitalized, according to the CDC. No deaths have been reported.

People began falling ill in early March, with others becoming infected through the end of May, the CDC reports. More recent infections may not be known yet because it takes from two to four weeks for reporting of a salmonella-caused illness, the agency said.

Those known to be infected range in age from infants to 87-year-olds. Nearly two-thirds -- 65 percent -- of people affected are women, the CDC said.

Thirty-nine people with the illness were interviewed, and 30 of them reported eating cold cereal, with 14 of them recalling Honey Smacks in particular, the CDC said.

People infected with this strand of salmonella, called salmonella mbandaka, typically get sick 12 to 72 hours after eating it. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever and belly cramps, and can last from four to seven days.

Most people recover on their own without medical treatment. But if the infection is severe -- spreading to the blood stream and other parts of the body -- it can require hospitalization.  

The CDC is advising people to check the bottom of the cereal boxes for a UPC code. The smaller cereal box has a code of 3800039103; the larger, 3800014810.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A newly released study of about 15,000 high school students has found that fewer are having sex and fewer are using drugs.

The national Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) -- a study of students across 21 urban school districts covering 39 states -- was conducted from 2007-2017.

The number of teens engaging in sexual behavior declined to 39.5 percent from 47.8 percent, but those who did have intercourse were less likely to use a condom. That rate fell to 53.8 percent from 61.5 percent, which may concern some parents because half of all new sexually transmitted disease infections occur in 15- to 24-year-olds.

Teens identifying as sexual minorities -- including homosexual, bisexual or non-binary -- rose to 14.6 percent. This group typically experiences higher rates of substance abuse and is at greater risk of suicide or abuse from peers.

The use of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, inhalants, hallucinogens or ecstasy declined to 14 percent from 22.6 percent, but 14 percent of the students studied reported misusing prescription opioids.

"We were surprised to see that 14 percent of high school students reported having misused prescription opioids," Dr. Kathleen Ethier, director of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention Division of Adolescent and School Health, told ABC News. "Prescription opioid misuse can lead to overdose and increased risk for HIV. This is the first year we've had national YRBS data specific to the misuse of prescription opioids, and I think most people will agree that one in seven high school students reporting this behavior in the midst of a national opioid crisis is particularly concerning."

In 2015, the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) reported that the total number of drug-overdose deaths among teens was 772, with most linked to opioids.

Fewer teens are carrying weapons around. The number who reported carrying a gun, knife or club in the prior 30 days fell to 15.7 percent from 26.1 percent in 1991. But 3.8 percent still said they carried a weapon onto school property in the previous 30 days.

In 2016, NVSS reported that for students aged 10-19, firearms accounted for 87 percent of all homicides and 43 percent of all suicides.

The CDC in 2016 reported that suicide had become the second-leading cause of death in the 10-34 age group. Among the students in the YRSB survey, more reported feelings of sadness or hopelessness over the previous 12 months, a figure that rose to 31.5 percent in 2017 from 28.5 percent in 2007.

Almost one in five said they had seriously considered suicide, and about one in 13 had attempted suicide in the preceding 12 months.

One-third of teens in the survey said they were obese or overweight, an increase from previous years. In addition to contributing to heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes and liver damage, being overweight can have significant effects on a teen's mental health.

Ethier told ABC News that the results of these studies are critical to "address public health issues and direct funding, help develop school-based health education and promotion programs, set goals for adolescent health and wellness, and monitor and measure long-term public health outcomes."

The report didn't include data from teens who aren't attending school, which includes many high-risk teens and dropouts. Students' body-mass indexes were calculated from self-reported heights and weights, meaning obesity rates likely are higher.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Vitamin D helps maintain bone health, but could it also help prevent cancer? Researchers think it could lower the risk of colon cancer, because of its role in pathways related to cell growth and regulation.

This large international study looked at vitamin D blood levels of 5,700 people with colon cancer and 7,100 without it in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. This new research comes from scientists from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the American Cancer Society (ACS), the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, and 20 other medical centers around the world.

The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, found that being deficient in vitamin D (under 30nmol/L) was associated with a 31 percent higher risk of colon cancer in both men and women, after they followed them for an average of 5.5 years.

Having “adequate” levels of vitamin D was linked with a 22 percent lower risk of colon cancer in women, but no significant difference in men. At higher blood levels, beyond 100nmol/L, there was no added benefit.

Colon cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the U.S., and represents 8.1 percent of all new cancer cases. According to the ACS, the lifetime risk of colon cancer is 1 in 22 for men, and 1 in 24 for women.

It is important to be aware that too much vitamin D can be a problem. The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine previously suggested avoiding levels over 125-150nmol/L, due to possible links to kidney stones, mortality, pancreatic cancer, cardiovascular events, and falls and fractures.

What is the sweet spot for vitamin D levels? Future recommendations on optimal vitamin D doses may trend higher (75-100nmol/L) for colon cancer prevention. Now the dose recommended for bone health is a bit lower (less than 50nmol/L).

Though vitamin D is created when skin is exposed to sunlight, people should not spend more time in the sun to change their colon cancer risk – because their skin cancer risk would rise. Experts recommend that the best way to up vitamin D intake is from food (egg yolks, dairy, or fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel). With regards to supplements, people should talk to their doctors regarding a blood test to measure their vitamin D levels, to determine if their levels are low enough to require supplements. Other studies have found vitamin supplements aren’t as effective as vitamins from food.

There’s more work to do. This study used just a single blood sample to estimate vitamin D levels, and it’s an observational study that only lasted a few years. Since the researchers didn’t take any action, they just looked at associations, they can’t say that low levels of vitamin D “caused” colon cancer, just that they are linked somehow. In addition, some racial/ethnic subgroups were not well represented in this study.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The rate of suicide for women increased by a staggering 50 percent between 2000 and 2016, according to a new study by the CDC.

The rate of suicide for men increased 21 percent over the same period, the study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.

Lead author Dr. Holly Hedegaard told ABC News that the report uses the most recent data from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) “to update trends in suicide from 2000 through 2016, and describes differences by sex, age group and means of suicide.”

The study comes at a critical time, in light of the heartbreaking, newsmaking suicides by designer Kate Spade and TV cooking personality Anthony Bourdain.

Though men still commit suicide more frequently than women, this sobering new report reveals the rate of increase in suicides was approximately even until 2007, when female suicide rates started to rise faster.

The ratio of male-to-female suicide rates was 4.4 men to 1 woman in 2000; it dropped to 3.6 men per one woman in 2016.

A leading cause of death, especially in teens, young adults

Since 2006, suicide rates have been increasing by a staggering 2 percent per year. Since 2008, suicide has ranked as the 10th leading cause of death for all ages in the U.S.

In 2016, suicide became the second leading cause of death among those aged 10-34 and the fourth leading cause among those aged 35-54. Nearly 45,000 people died from suicide – approximately one death every 12 minutes -- in 2016, according to the CDC.

Methods of suicide vary by age group and gender

Kate Spade, who died at age 55 by suffocation, was unusual for women in her age group, according to the new report. Suffocation is the most common method of suicide for young women (under age 25), poisoning by drug or gas is most common in women aged 45 and over.

Bourdain, who died at age 61 by suffocation, was also unusual. Men 15 and over are much more likely to die by firearm use. The CDC recently reported that people without known mental health conditions were more likely to be male and to die by firearm.

Dr. Hedegaard told ABC News, “This report shows that the methods of suicide differ by age group and sex. The observed patterns might help inform prevention efforts.”

Although the federal program Healthy People 2020 target is to reduce suicide rates to 10.2 per 100,000, this NVSS report, made with information on suicide deaths from death certificate records from all 50 states, shows that we have a ways to go.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- On a platter of cheese, pretzels and donuts, most people will probably reach for the donuts, according to a new study.

That could be because the brain values foods like donuts, with both fats and carbohydrates, more than foods high in only fats, like the cheese, or only carbs, like the pretzels.

People could be wired to want that deadly combo: Fats and carbohydrates together.

"We were interested in exploring mechanisms that drive food reinforcement," lead author Dana Small, director of Yale University’s Modern Diet and Physiology Research Center, told ABC News.

So how do the digestive and emotional system work for different types of macronutrients, like carbs and fats? And how do "man-made," processed foods that contain both fats and carbs affect these mechanisms?

To find out, the researchers took fMRI images of participants' brains while showing them photos of different foods. They were given a limited amount of money they could use to bid on their first-choices of the foods.

Their answers were telling. Most were willing to pay more for foods with fats and carbs together -- mostly processed foods like donuts, M&Ms or hamburgers -- as opposed to foods with just carbs, like bread and pretzels, or those with fats and no carbs, like cheese or salami.

The brain scans showed participants' brains lit up more when they were shown foods containing fats and carbs, regardless of the number of calories, amount of sugar or portion sizes.

This suggests that foods with both fats and carbs activate the reward centers in the brain and are more alluring and habit-forming, almost the same way drugs are addicting. The participants were also not as good at predicting the number of calories of foods with fats and carbs together, or carbs alone. They were better at guessing the calories of foods with just fats.

"Our study shows that when both nutrients are combined, the brain seems to overestimate the energetic value of the food," Small said.

The findings of the study suggest that the brain may have distinct pathways that guide information about the fat-and-carb combination foods.

This study may also provide "important insight in understanding how the food environment is contributing to the obesity and diabetes pandemic," Small said.

But,the study was limited in some ways: It did not evaluate what participants normally consume in their lives. What if somebody eats a lot of M&Ms normally – or never eats M&Ms, but is offered some? In addition, this was a small study done in Western Europe and eating habits can differ by culture.

Small said further research could give more information about why people crave the foods known to lead to obesity, why people eat even when they aren't hungry, why it is difficult to lose or keep off excess weight and how the brain-gut connection works for people with eating disorders.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Kate Spade was a designer whose name was synonymous with style and fun.

Anthony Bourdain was a celebrity chef and TV host who seemed to be at the top of his game, traveling the globe eating at exotic locales and connecting with people.

Yet they both ended their own lives.

Their deaths, combined with new data showing suicide rates are increasing in the United States, have shown that celebrity and success are no barrier to suicide.

Emotional troubles don't pay attention to income, and people who seem to “have it all” can also have the mental health difficulties that cause people to kill themselves.

"Whether you’re at church or at school or in an office, some portion of the room is having thoughts of suicide, now or recently," said Dr. Christine Moutier, chief medical officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). "The fact is that if you think your life has not been touched by suicide ever, it probably means that it’s just not being talked about."

The stress of modern life has us on a treadmill of daily routine, a disappearing work-life balance and never-ending screen time. We're also jumping on that treadmill without the historical safety nets of tight-knit social groups and social services to catch us.

There is also the social stigma that surrounds talking about topics such as depression, anxiety, therapy and suicide, leaving us unsure about what we can do to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

Mental health encompasses not just depression and anxiety, but also wellness and connection in life.

There are things you can do every day to not just stay afloat, but thrive as a happier, more joyful person.

1. Have real conversations

Your friend who has the great job and busy social life may seem like she has it all, but in reality, she could be hiding under the covers when she gets home at night.

You will never know if you only talk about the weather or what you did last night when you meet her for coffee or brunch.

Having what Moutier calls "real conversations" with friends and family now can both provide the connections that give life meaning and protect you in a crisis.

"Real conversations" means communicating in whatever form you want -- send a text, pick up the phone or meet for coffee -- but in a way that moves beyond the superficial "I'm okay" or "I'm just busy," to talking about hopes, dreams and challenges.

It means if someone asks how you are doing, you don't gloss over the difficulties that everyone encounters. Likewise, if someone you know says simply, "I'm fine," you feel comfortable asking more questions.

"You'll be amazed at how that feels when you get to connect to the people in your life on that deeper level," she said. "Once we’re able to do that, then when we hit a more serious time, we’ve created that foundation and we know who’s trustworthy and can handle it."

If you have trouble opening up to friends and family, a mental health professional can be an independent, confidential person in whom to confide.

"There is effective treatment available, and there is hope," said Dr. Selena Snow, founder of the Snow Psychology Group.

2. Build your own safety net

Identifying the activities that bring you joy and the people you can speak to openly creates an important network of support, experts say.

When you write down the things you like to do -- whether it's journaling, dancing, exercising, walking, meditating or reading -- and the people you can call in a moment's notice -- friends, family, co-workers or neighbors -- you have created a safety net for yourself.

You now have an actionable list you can turn to again and again.

You can write it out on paper or via a free app such as My Coping Plan.

3. Snap back into the moment

Doing something physical when you're stressed or feeling hopeless can snap you back into the moment.

Try a splash of cold water on your face, according to Moutier.

Snow recommends keeping a rock on hand that you can hold onto when you need to reconnect. The coolness of the rock can help bring you back in the moment.

4. Schedule a workout

After a stressful day at work or a weekend of indulging when you feel out of sorts, it’s exercise that can zap you out of that mode.

If exercise becomes a regular part of your life, it is medically proven to help more consistently keep those moods at bay.

Regular exercise can promote nerve cell growth in the part of your brain that helps regulate mood, research shows.

The key is to pick an activity that you won't dread doing every day, and one that you can continue doing for the long haul, experts say.

Even better, schedule a workout date with a friend or loved one so you can sweat and connect together.

5. Eat mood-boosting power foods

Healthy eating -- fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and whole grains -- has been linked in studies to a lower risk of depression and suicide.

One theory, backed by new research released in January, is that increased inflammation in the body could play a role in depression.

Tomatoes, olive oil, green leafy vegetables, nuts, fish such as salmon and sardines, and fruits such as oranges and strawberries are all foods that fight inflammation, according to Harvard Medical School.

In another recent study, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet -- low in foods with saturated fat and sugar -- was found to reduce the risk of depression later in life.

The DASH diet, ranked as the No. 1 overall diet by U.S. News and World Report for eight consecutive rankings, is rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grain, lean protein and low-fat dairy.

6. Be proactive

Think of suicide as a public health risk. In medicine, if a mom has breast cancer, her daughters are instructed to get more regular mammograms.

The same should be true for mental health, both Snow and Moutier agree. Though it may be difficult, families should talk openly about their mental health and the tools they use to overcome difficulties.

A family history of mental illness should not be ignored. Depression does have a genetic component.

"We can make choices and get very smart about how we tick," Moutier said. "We’ve been socialized so that if you’re at all capable of doing it, you hide these forms of distress. We need to be more aware."

Anyone in crisis, or who knows someone in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Wearable fitness trackers can help people log their 10,000 daily steps, but can the devices help get heart-disease patients off the couch to start exercising?

A new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association said the trackers -- when paired with a little cold, hard cash -- might just give people that push to start a regular exercise routine.

The 10,000-step goal adds up to 5 miles each day, arbitrarily. But it also approximates the 30 minutes of daily exercise recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine.

The total recommendation of at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week is challenging for many people, especially those with known heart disease -- the leading cause of death in the U.S.

Regular physical activity can reduce the risk of stroke and heart attacks in those with heart disease, but many don't do it.

Participation in programs such as cardiac rehab, targeted to help those with heart conditions, is "extremely low for various reasons, including patient motivation and access to exercise facilities," Dr. Neel Chokshi, medical director of the Penn Sports Cardiology and Fitness Program and assistant professor of clinical medicine in cardiology, told ABC News.

So the study researchers were looking at different incentives that could give people the motivation to get up and start moving more.

"There is interest in developing creative remote strategies to engage patients in exercise programs, but there is little research for guidance," Chokshi said.

Wearable fitness devices can track daily steps, but this alone might not be enough to change exercise behavior.

Money might be that extra cherry on top. The researchers found that combining financial rewards with personalized goal setting and using wearable devices could be effective. Chokshi and his colleagues decided to test this approach through a clinical trial.

The study enrolled 105 patients into a home-based trial, using the Misfit Shine wearable device. For 24 weeks, they offered payment up front, into an "account," and then took money away based on whether daily step goals were reached.

All participants were given the device and a two-week startup period to establish baseline step counts, and $50 just for completing enrollment and the trial.

The participants were randomized into a control group -- the members of which received only the device -- and an intervention group, which also got money. In the intervention group, participants were given personalized step goals with daily feedback on their performance and got paid a small amount to a virtual account -- $14 per week for 16 weeks, or $224 total. Each day the step goal was missed, $2 was taken back.

The 24-week trial had two phases: The 16-week intervention phase ramped up incentives and then asked people to maintain the workout -- then they had an eight-week follow-up phase. During the "ramp-up incentive" phase, daily step goals increased from the baseline by 15 percent each week with a maximum goal of 10,000 steps per day. During the eight-week follow-up phase, they weren’t paid.

But people continued to increase their activity -- even after financial incentives stopped.

During the maintenance phase, those who got the money increased their physical activity by 1,368 steps per day more than those just wearing a device. And, surprisingly, that held up during the follow-up period. Even without money, people in the intervention group still had an increase of 1,154 steps per day more than patients in the control group.

"Framing rewards as a loss -- a technique from behavioral economics -- led to a meaningful difference in behavior," said Dr. Mitesh Patel, an assistant professor of medicine and health care management, and director of the Penn Medicine Nudge Unit. "During the six-month trial, the average patient in the intervention arm had step counts that totaled about 100 miles more than the average patient in control."

The wearable alone did not increase physical activity levels, researchers noted.

They suggested that more studies need to be done to evaluate whether the incentives work over a long period of time and if the financial incentives are maintainable. Studies of different groups, time periods or other differing designs could help isolate the effects of the financial incentives and personalized feedback.

For now, using a wearable device and having a friend dock your “pay” if you slack off could get you off the couch.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- More than one-third of American adults may be using prescription medications that can potentially cause depression or increase the risk of suicide, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Some hormonal birth control pills, heart and blood pressure medications, proton-pump inhibitors, antacids and painkillers were among the more than 200 commonly used prescription drugs that researchers said have depression or suicide listed as a potential side effect.

The researchers, from the University of Illinois at Chicago, looked at how more than 26,000 people from 2005 to 2014 used medications.

Because of how widely used some of these medications are, doctors and health care providers may be unaware of any increased risk of depression or suicide, even though they are known side effects, the researchers said.

Approximately 15 percent of adults who used three or more of these medications at the same time said they experienced depression while taking the drugs, while only 5 percent said they experienced depression among those not using any of the drugs.

For those using one of the medications, 7 percent said they experienced depression, and for those taking two drugs simultaneously, 9 percent experienced depression.

"The takeaway message of this study is that polypharmacy [being on more than one drug at once] can lead to depressive symptoms and that patients and health care providers need to be aware of the risk of depression that comes with all kinds of common prescription drugs -- many of which are also available over the counter," Dima Qato, the study's lead author and an assistant professor of pharmacy systems, outcomes and policy at the University of Illinois Chicago College of Pharmacy, said in a statement.

"Many may be surprised to learn that their medications, despite having nothing to do with mood or anxiety or any other condition normally associated with depression, can increase their risk of experiencing depressive symptoms, and may lead to a depression diagnosis," she added.

With the national suicide rate increasing, Qato said, "We need to think innovatively about depression as a public health issue, and this study provides evidence that patterns of medication use should be considered in strategies that seek to eliminate, reduce or minimize the impact of depression in our daily lives."

The study is cross-sectional, meaning it doesn't conclude that the medications used cause depression, but only that there is an association between the two.

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iStock/Thinkstock(DAVIE, Fla.) -- An incredibly fertile firehouse in Florida has produced nine adorable babies in 10 months.

“It brings joy and closeness to the families,” said Davie Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Jorge Gonzalez, adding that the fact that the babies were born so close to each other “forms great unity” within the fire department.

The cute photos of the babies and their parents were taken last week, and were posted on the firehouse's official Twitter account on Friday.

“I don’t think there was any plan,” Gonzalez told ABC News. “It’s just how it happened.”

Another fire official who declined to be named said she was impressed with the phenomenon.

"People said something must be in the water."

Asked whether the little tots might grow up to fight fires themselves, Gonzalez said he hopes so.

"We'll see what happens."

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you have ever sat on the couch to watch TV and eat “a few” chips and then stared down into an empty bag, mindful eating might make a difference.

The practice, which has gone from new-age to mainstream in the last decade, is now a wellness buzzword. It can mean not only losing weight but improving mental health, too.

“When people become more mindful eaters they become more mindful in the rest of their life,” Dr. Susan Albers, a psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic and New York Times' bestselling author of seven books on mindful eating, told “GMA.” “There is a ripple effect.”

The 'antidote to dieting'

What is mindful eating? Albers calls it the “antidote to dieting.”

“The concept of mindful eating is about balancing what you eat with how you eat,” she said. “We’re surrounded by food all the time and this is like a guidepost for how to navigate food in our world in a healthy way.”

"It's about eating the foods you love but in a mindful way, your awareness of hunger cues, your awareness of taste," Albers explained. "When you tune into these cues, you enjoy food more and you're more in control of your eating."

It can be a "radical shift" when you let go of a diet mentality and embrace mindful eating, Albers noted.

"One obstacle [to mindful eating] is letting go that there are “good” foods and “bad” foods, and learning to trust that your body will tell you when it's time to stop eating," she said.

While mindful eating may help with weight loss -- it aids with digestion and makes you aware of your food, according to Albers -- it is not the main focus of the practice.

Mindful eating is instead focused on strengthening a healthy, balanced relationship with food.

"The intention of mindful eating is to remain in the present moment by promoting acceptance, non-judgment, and curiosity about an individual’s direct experience," according to the Center for Mindful Eating, a non-profit organization that promotes the practice. "It is not outcome-based and does not promote any specific body shape or size."

Mindful eating can be done anywhere

Mindful eating applies whether you are eating a burger and fries or salmon on top of a bed of a lettuce in a 5-star restaurant

You are eating mindfully if you are focusing fully on the food you are eating and are aware and accepting of your thoughts.

That can be done anywhere, as long as you eliminate the distractions in your environment when you eat.

"It is about focus," said Albers.

1-second shifts

The biggest misconception about mindful eating, according to Albers, is that it means people have to commit hours to each meal.

“It is things that are 1-second, that shift your focus into the moment to have this different relationship with food and your habits around food,” she said.

Albers, for example, swivels her desk chair at lunch so she is eating her meal away from her computer, a 1-second shift toward paying attention to her food.

Another 1-second shift can be something as simple as putting chips in a bowl or on a plate instead of eating them from the bag -- you can actually see the chips and the portion, she explained.

Ready to try?

Albers has created what she calls the "five S's of mindful eating." Give them a try at your next meal.

1. Sit down: Make sure you have the time to sit down and tune into the taste of your food. Even if you are on the go, take time to park your car and eat instead of trying to multi-task, or if you are walking, find a bench to sit and enjoy your meal.

2. Savor:
Tune into the textures of the food and ask yourself, "What does it taste like? What is the sound I hear when I take a bite? What does it smell like?"

3. Slowly chew: Taste don't race, according to Albers.

4. Simplify your environment: When you eat, just eat. Put away distractions like your phone and turn the TV off. Look around your environment to make sure it is as relaxing as possible.

5. Smile: Smiling in between bites of off will give you an extra mindful moment in between bites.

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