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The truth about health drinks – Which? – Which?

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Supermarkets, health food shops and even coffee shops are filled with teas, lattes, shots and other drinks claiming to offer health benefits above and beyond a standard coffee or glass of juice. 
But are these claims valid? And do we need to be including these products in our diets for optimum health?
Here we look at some of the most popular products and uncover the facts behind the headline-inducing health claims.
Turmeric, the bright yellow spice, is a popular addition to many drinks from milky teas and lattes to juice shots.
Turmeric contains curcumin, an antioxidant that's claimed to have anti-inflammatory properties and to reduce joint pains and your risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
However the evidence available doesn't support these claims, and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded in 2017 that a cause and effect relationship between the consumption of curcumin and maintenance of joint health had not been established. 
This is because many of the studies these claims are based on are animal studies and we can't assume the same will be seen in humans. They also contained very high doses of curcumin, between 1,000 and 4,000mg taken at least once a day.
Comparatively, the levels of curcumin in turmeric are very low (around 2-3%) and it's poorly absorbed. This means that a drink containing a teaspoon of turmeric will contain around 60mg of curcumin. As such it's hard to get high-enough levels of curcumin through diet for it to have a medicinal effect.
While drinking a latte or juice containing turmeric is perfectly safe, you should be wary of taking high dose turmeric or curcumin supplements which are increasingly popular. EFSA has set a safe acceptable daily intake of up to 3mg of curcumin per kg of body weight a day. That means a 65kg woman could safely consume 195mg curcumin a day.
Green tea is made by adding hot water to green tea leaves whereas matcha powder is made from green tea leaves that are dried and ground into concentrated powder. Matcha powder is added to milk to make matcha lattes or hot water to make matcha tea.  
Green tea leaves are high in a polyphenol, catechin, which is an antioxidant. Claims around the benefits of green tea include that it helps increase metabolism so it is often touted as helping weight loss; however this claim has been disproven. 
Other research shows it might help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, and the risk of liver disease, stroke, dementia and certain types of cancer. However overall there's not enough evidence to prove this or support using green tea to help with these conditions. Cancer Research UK says 'there is not enough reliable evidence to say [green tea] might prevent certain cancers'.
Green tea contains tannins (as does black tea) which interferes with iron absorption so shouldn't be drunk with meals. It also contains caffeine (though not as much as black tea or coffee) so drinking too much can affect your sleep.
Be wary of high-dose supplements of green tea or matcha that contain 800mg of EGCG (one of the catechins) – these have been shown to cause serious liver damage. But green tea and matcha drinks are perfectly safe to drink in moderation.
Charcoal lattes are popular on social media – the dark grey or black drink is very photogenic.
Charcoal lattes are usually made up of milk, a flavouring such as vanilla or honey and a teaspoon of activated charcoal powder. Claims include that charcoal can help you detox and cleanse, and that it helps digestion. 
Activated charcoal absorbs chemicals in our gut and because of this is used to treat cases of poisoning and drug overdoses. It binds to the chemical and removes it from the gut, thereby reducing absorption.
But activated charcoal isn't selective in what it binds to so it also restricts the absorption of good nutrients such as calcium and even oral medications, reducing their effectiveness.
While the dose of activated charcoal in a latte won't be as high as when it is used in a medical emergency, there's not enough strong scientific evidence to support its use in lattes and other foods.
If you're on any oral prescription or over-the-counter medicine you should avoid food and drinks that contain it.
Kefir is fermented milk which is made by mixing milk with kefir grains that contain live yeast and lactic acid bacteria. The end product contains live bacteria similar to those found in probiotic supplements. 
It tastes like a liquid yoghurt (and increasingly is available in yoghurt form too, as well as drinks) and is a good source of calcium and protein. Kefir Water is a dairy-free option, but watch out for sugar content added for flavour.
The scientific evidence behind kefir and other probiotics is limited and these products have no authorised health claims. However some people report they help with gut and digestive issues by improving the balance of bacteria in the gut.
Kombucha is another fermented product but this time made from tea. A live culture of bacteria and yeast, known as a SCOBY, is added to sweetened black or green tea. The sugar in the tea feeds the bacteria and allows them to multiply.
Like kefir, kombucha contains live bacteria but the evidence behind the benefits of these drinks is still limited. Because the tea is sweetened, Kombucha can often be high in sugar so check the label when choosing.
You can also feed the friendly bacteria in your gut by eating a varied diet that contains a range of fibre-rich foods such as onions, garlic, leeks, oats, apples and bananas.
Find our more in our full guide to probiotics and gut health.
Many people swear by downing a 'shot' of apple cider vinegar in the morning or before a meal. 
The claimed health benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar range from boosting weight loss to lowering blood sugar levels to improving digestion and immunity. 
However the studies that show these results aren't very robust and there isn't a strong body of evidence to support these claims – for every study that shows a benefit there's another that doesn't.
While the benefits of apple cider vinegar may not be proven, there is a real risk of consuming it on a daily basis, especially by drinking it – tooth erosion. 
To minimise dental damage, it's best to consume it as part of a meal, for example as part of a salad dressing.
Wander down the tea aisle and you'll see plenty of health-focused teas promising to detox you, support your immune system and metabolism – and more besides. But don't be fooled, many of these claims are overblown or an expensive way to get your fix.
Twinings Cold Infuse Metabolism teabags contain zinc which is needed to metabolise carbohydrates but it won't boost your metabolism. At 37p a teabag it's a pricey way to get this nutrient which is found in meat, fish, dairy foods, and wholegrains and cereals. 
Products labelled as 'detox' are banned from being advertised in the UK and EU as they imply a health benefit. However Pukka teas and Twinings still sell 'Detox' teas. This is because under the current regulation these can continue to be sold until 2022.
These teas won't rid your body of 'toxins' or do anything your body doesn't already automatically do. We have an in-built detox system – our liver and kidneys.
Flavoured waters with added vitamins tend to be low calorie drinks with added vitamins or minerals, for example vitamins C and D. 
However they're not the most efficient way to get your nutrients – you'd need to drink 500ml of the mango and passionfruit 'Get More' vitamin D to get your daily dose of vitamin D at £1 a serving. 
You could get the same from a vitamin D supplement costing as little as 3p. This serving would also give you 15% of your daily calcium requirement. 
V Water pomegranate and blueberry contains vitamins C and E, selenium and zinc -500ml of it will give you all the vitamin C you need for the day and 75% of the zinc you need but set you back £1.35. 
Vitamin C and zinc are widely found in foods such as citrus fruits, green leafy veg, meat and fish so it's not necessary to buy these drinks.
Smoothies are a staple of the health drinks market and they can be a good way to increase your nutrient intake thanks to the blend of different fruits, veg and extras such as yoghurt or oats.
However they can only count towards one portion of your five-a-day regardless of how much you drink. This is because while the smoothie will contain the vitamins and minerals from the fruit and veg contained in it, the blending process breaks down much of the fibre. 
Smoothies can also be high in sugar because of all the fruit in them. Once blended or juiced this sugar counts as free sugars which are damaging to teeth and which we should limit our intake of.
If you're making your own, try to use mainly vegetables with one or two fruits to reduce the sugar content.
5 things you need to know before embracing a juice or smoothie diet – see more tips from our nutrition expert
Small bottles (60-100ml) of juice that cost around £2 each are becoming increasingly popular. 
They usually contain ingredients such as ginger and turmeric and are sold as a ‘boost’ or ‘lift’ to your day. While much is made of the anti-inflammatory or antioxidant properties of these ingredients the benefits aren’t proven. 
These drinks don’t offer anything you wouldn’t get from eating the foods and spices contained in them – you’d also get more fibre from eating the whole fruit and vegetable as opposed to them being juiced. 
Some also have vitamins added to them but again this is an expensive way to boost your nutrient intake.
If you're on medication you should avoid charcoal lattes, and other foods and drinks containing charcoal. 
If you like any of these other drinks and juices, there's no harm in continuing to drink them. However they are very unlikely to offer any benefits above what you would get from a healthy, varied diet, despite often costing a lot more than alternatives. 
It's also worth keeping an eye on sugar levels and if you are going to drink them, do so with meals to protect your teeth.
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ChalleNGe Academy graduate prepares for West Point journey – West Virginia MetroNews

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MONTGOMERY, W.Va. – A West Virginia National Guard Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy graduate is the first graduate to earn an appointment to the U.S. Army’s Military Service Academy, West Point.
William Farkas, 17, of Preston County, said he was has made a lifelong dream a reality.
It’s been something I’ve been dreaming about since elementary school and something I’ve been set on doing since middle school,” Farkas said during a Friday appearance on MetroNews “Talkline.”
He said the training he received at the Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy-South in Montgomery was key in developing the attitude and work ethic that enabled him to succeed. That level of focus was required to gain admission to one of the most prestigious universities in the country.
“Everybody was encouraging me there. Everybody wanted me to succeed,” Farkas said. “I kept testing on the ACT and I ended up scoring in the 30’s with my composite. I wouldn’t been able to do it without them.”
William Farkas becomes the first Mountaineer Challenge Academy graduate to receive an appointment to West Point. He talks about this next step in his life with @HoppyKercheval. WATCH: https://t.co/yCFQ3nDJuy pic.twitter.com/jJO0mae0Ap
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) January 21, 2022

Within a paramilitary structure, cadets are challenged to learn coping skills, how to lead as well as how to follow, citizenship and physical fitness. Farkas said the program is very demanding. He was awarded the Robert C. Byrd Distinguished Cadet Award and Adjutant General’s Award for Academic Excellence as well as the appointment to West Point.
“The first day was a shock and the first night was even more so a shock,” Farkas said. “I went to sleep and asked myself,,’Am I really doing this? Am I really sleeping on a cot in the gym on reception day?’”
Farkas is enjoying this success before the next chapter of West Point preparation begins.
“It was worth it,” Farkas said. “Despite the initial challenges it was worth it.”
The next stop for Farkas is one-station unit training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He is scheduled to report to West Point in June to begin his college career.

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Sick Day Management for Diabetes: How to Plan Ahead – Healthline

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When you have diabetes, taking care of yourself during an illness has extra importance — even if the condition is as common as the flu or a urinary tract infection.
To avoid complications, it’s a good idea to plan ahead for how you’ll handle sick days, illnesses, and infections.
This article provides some expert guidance on:
When you have diabetes, an illness or infection can deliver a powerful one-two punch to your body. Here’s how.
One reason to plan ahead is because illness or infection can worsen diabetes symptoms.
Your body reacts to them the same way it reacts to stressful events. It produces a surge of hormones, including cortisol. Cortisol is often called the stress hormone.
When your body is flooded with cortisol, your blood sugar can spike for several reasons:
Both of these actions can mean that when your body is dealing with an illness or infection, you may experience a bump in your blood sugar levels.
If you have diabetes, you may have a higher risk of certain kinds of infection or illness.
Research from 2021 shows that people with diabetes are more likely to develop certain kinds of infections, including pneumonia and cystitis (urinary tract infections).
If you do get sick, you may face a higher risk of hospitalization. For example, 2021 research associated diabetes with longer hospital stays, more complications, and a greater risk of death with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
That’s why it’s so important to work with your diabetes care team to plan ahead, so you’ll know how to handle an illness, injury, or infection if it happens. Your plan can give you some peace of mind now, and it may protect your health later on.
Advocates at the American Diabetes Association and the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) recommend that your sick-day plan address the following key questions.
Let’s tackle these questions one at a time.
To prepare yourself for the sick days you’re bound to face sooner or later, talk with your diabetes care team about testing, medications, and warning signs.
When you’re sick, your blood sugar may go up for several reasons:
To keep your blood sugar in your target range, keep eating and drinking as close to your usual routine as possible. That may be easier said than done, especially if you have symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
If you’re having trouble eating and drinking, aim for:
If your blood sugar is too low, you may need to follow the 15-15 rule. That means you’ll need to consume 15 grams of carbs, then test your blood sugar 15 minutes afterward.
Talk with your healthcare team about whether hard candies or glucose tablets would work if you’re not able to keep down food or drink.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends testing your blood glucose levels every 4 hours whenever you’re feeling unwell.
Keep a notepad nearby so you have an accurate record to share with your doctor. You don’t want to rely on your memory of the readings at a time when your recall could be clouded by lack of sleep or worsening symptoms.
You may also need to test your urine for ketones. Ketones are a sign that your insulin levels are low and your body is using fat for fuel.
Testing for ketones in your urine can tell you if you’re developing a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. This condition is life threatening, so it’s important to know in advance how to detect these chemicals in your body.
The NIDDK recommends that you test ketones every 4 to 6 hours during an illness.
It’s also important to track your weight, body temperature, and blood pressure. These metrics are important clues that may tell you if:
It’s especially important for people with type 1 diabetes to test their blood glucose more often when they’re sick. Insulin levels can drop sharply as the body fights an illness or infection.
An illness can change how much insulin you need. Talk with your diabetes care team about when and how much to adjust your dosage of insulin and any other medications you take.
It’s important to keep taking insulin, especially long-acting insulin, on the schedule your doctor recommends. It’s also important to continue taking long-acting insulin even if you’re not eating.
Some over-the-counter (OTC) medications — especially those that treat cough, cold, and flu symptoms — contain sugar. Other types of medication can affect the way your diabetes medications work.
Your diabetes care team may be able to give you a list of medications to avoid when you’re feeling unwell with a common condition.
It’s a good idea to stock up on easy-to-prepare foods, sick-day drinks, medications, and diabetes care supplies so you have these items on hand for those days when you’re not feeling well. Here are some items to include in your sick-day kit:
Keep a ready supply of:
Your sick-day kit should also contain:
Make sure your kit is stocked with:
If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor or someone on your diabetes care team right away:
Diabetic ketoacidosis is a medical emergency: It can lead to coma or death. Get medical help immediately if you’re experiencing symptoms such as:
If your employer or insurer offers telehealth services, consider downloading the app or keeping contact information in your phone to make it easier to get advice if you’re not feeling well.
Diabetes can damage your immune system, according to 2020 research. For that reason, it’s important to take good care of your health year-round, not just during cold and flu season.
You can do this by:
The CDC recommends that people with diabetes get flu vaccines every year. It’s especially important for children, who may have more severe flu symptoms for a longer period of time than kids who don’t have diabetes.
Diabetes can make an ordinary illness more challenging — and feeling unwell can make it harder to manage your diabetes.
If you have diabetes, talk with your healthcare team to plan how you’ll respond to an illness or infection. Together, you can decide in advance how to manage your blood sugar when you’re feeling sick.
You can also stock up on food, beverages, testing supplies, and medication you might need.
A good sick-day plan includes information on which medications are safe to take, which to avoid, how best to test your blood sugar, and what steps to follow to keep diabetes or another health condition from sidelining you for longer than necessary.
Last medically reviewed on January 21, 2022









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Newcastle single mum of three dies suddenly after eating snack with peanuts – Daily Mail

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By Aidan Wondracz For Daily Mail Australia
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A single mother-of-three who was allergic to peanuts died suddenly after unknowingly eating a snack containing the allergen.
Hanna Scigala, 31, suffered a fatal anaphylactic attack after eating the snack at her home in Newcastle, on the NSW coast, on January 4.
Her condition spiralled quickly and she went into cardiac arrest, suffered brain swelling and was declared brain dead before passing away on January 7. 
She leaves behind a 12-year-old, nine-year-old and three-year-old boy who will now be looked after by their grandparents. 
A single mother-of-three who was allergic to peanuts died suddenly after unknowingly eating a snack containing the allergen
Hanna Scigala, 31, suffered a fatal anaphylactic attack after eating the snack at her home in Newcastle, on the NSW coast, on January 4
Her death has come as a complete shock to the family who say the single mother was always careful with the foods she ate.
Ms Scigala had been with her three children at home when she started to feel peckish and she reached for a snack. She had no idea it contained traces of peanuts.
The single mother immediately recognised the signs of an allergic reaction and rushed down the stairs and into the garage for the Epipen she kept in her car.
She administered the dose of adrenaline before calling an ambulance while her horrified nine-year-old son phoned family to come and help.
A neighbour managed to perform CPR until paramedics arrived and wheeled her into an ambulance.
Ms Scigala went into cardiac arrest on the way to hospital but paramedics were successfully able to treat her. 
But her condition continued to deteriorate the following day with the single mother suffering from brain swelling before she was declared brain dead on January 6.
Her devastated sister Stephanie as ‘inspiring’ and ‘very fun to be around’.
She leaves behind a 12-year-old, nine-year-old and three-year-old who will now be looked after by their grandparents
‘As a mum, I think her favorite thing to do was to introduce the kids to new things so they could develop new interests,’ she said.
‘Whatever she could think of or saw that she thought they might like she’d get them involved. She’d put them before anyone else.’
Stephanie has launched a GoFundMe to raise money for her children. The campaign was set up to raise $7,000, but has already drawn in $29,792 in donations. 
‘With their grandfather retired and grandmother working only part time, this go fund me has been made in hopes to help them be able to financially provide for their grandchildren,’ Stephanie wrote.
‘These funds will also go towards funeral arrangements and any other memorial type of function.’
Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd
Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group

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