Hospitals in chocolate crackdown

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“Super-sized” chocolate bars are to be banished from hospital shops, canteens and vending machines, NHS England says.

Sweets and chocolate sold in hospitals should be 250 calories or under, the head of the body says.

Under the plans, most “grab bags” will be banned – with hospitals given a cash boost for facilitating the change.

The proposals would also see 75% of pre-packed sandwiches coming in at under 400 calories.

Pre-packed savoury meals and sandwiches must also contain no more than 5g of saturated fat per 100g.

And 80% of the drinks stocked must have less than 5g of added sugar per 100ml.

Hospital 'super-size&#39 chocolate ban

250

calorie limit for sweets and chocolate sold in hospitals

  • 400 calorie limit for 75% of pre-packed sandwiches

  • 5g limit of saturated fat per 100g in meals

  • 5g limit of added sugar per 100ml in drinks

  • 54% NHS staff estimated to be overweight or obese

Reuters

‘Obesity epidemic’

In April, NHS England said it would ban sugary drinks if hospital outlets did not cut down on the number they sell.

Simon Stevens said the NHS was “stepping up” to combat an issue that was causing “an epidemic of obesity, preventable diabetes, tooth decay, heart disease and cancer”.

“In place of calorie-laden, sugary snacks we want to make healthier food an easy option for hospital staff, patients and visitors.”

NHS staff are also being targeted as part of the move to tackle unhealthy eating, including those on overnight shifts.

It is estimated that nearly 700,000 of the NHS’s 1.3million staff are overweight or obese.

NHS premises have huge footfall from the communities they serve, with one million patients every 24 hours.

The Royal Voluntary Service, the biggest hospital retailer across the UK, said it had already begun introducing healthier choices and had seen fruit sales go up by a quarter.

Public Health England says hospitals have an “important role” in addressing obesity and not just dealing with the consequences.

Campaigners says more action is till needed.

Helen Dickens from Diabetes UK said: “We look forward to seeing more information on how it will work in practice.

“However this is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to tackling obesity. We need to go much further, which is why we are also calling for the Government to toughen restrictions on junk food marketing to children, end price promotions on unhealthy foods and introduce mandatory front of pack food labelling.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We restricted the sale of chocolate bars and other sugary products from vending machines in Welsh hospitals nine years ago. We’re pleased NHS England is now looking to follow our lead.”

How many calories?

  • A 51g Mars bar contains 230kcal
  • A 48g Snickers chocolate bar contains 245kcal
  • A 45g Cadbury Dairy Milk bar contains 240kcal, while a 119g bag of Cadbury Diary Milk Giant Buttons contains over 535kcal
  • A 93g Maltesers Pouch contains nearly 470kcal
  • A 190g of Haribo Tangfastic contains nearly 660kcal
  • A 140g M&Ms Peanut Pouch contains nearly 720kcal
  • A 200g packet of Milk Chocolate Eclairs contains around 900kcal

Related Topics

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-41630681

More than 25 million people dying in agony without morphine every year

Concern over illicit use and addiction is putting morphine out of reach for millions of patients globally who need it for pain relief

More than 25 million people, including 2.5 million children, die in agony every year around the world, for want of morphine or other palliative care, according to a major investigation.

Poor people cannot get pain relief in many countries of the world because their needs are overlooked or the authorities are so worried about the potential illicit use of addictive opioids that they will not allow their importation.

Staring into this access abyss, one sees the depth of extreme suffering in the cruel face of poverty and inequity, says a special report from a commission set up by the Lancet medical journal.

In Haiti, for instance, says the report, there are no nursing homes or hospices for the dying and most have to suffer without pain relief at home.

Patients in pain from trauma or malignancy are treated with medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen, says testimony from Antonia P Eyssallenne of the University of Miami School of Medicine. Moreover, nurses are uncomfortable giving high doses of narcotics even if ordered to do so for fear of being responsible for the patients death, even if the patient is terminal.

Death in Haiti is cruel, raw, and devastatingly premature. There is often no explanation, no sympathy, and no peace, especially for the poor.

A doctor in Kerala, India, which has a palliative care service, told of the arrival of a man in agony from lung cancer. We put Mr S on morphine, among other things. A couple of hours later, he surveyed himself with disbelief. He had neither hoped nor conceived of the possibility that this kind of relief was possible, said Dr M R Rajagopal.

But when he returned, morphine stocks were out. Mr S told us with outward calm, I shall come again next Wednesday. I will bring a piece of rope with me. If the tablets are still not here, I am going to hang myself from that tree. He pointed to the window. I believed he meant what he said.

The commissions three-year inquiry found that nearly half of all deaths globally 25.5 million a year involve serious suffering for want of pain relief and palliative care. A further 35.5 million people live with chronic pain and distress. Of the 61 million total, 5.3 million are children. More than 80% of the suffering takes place in low and middle-income countries.

Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank, said things had to change. Failure of health systems in poor countries is a major reason that patients need palliative care in the first place. More than 90% of these child deaths are from avoidable causes. We can and will change both these dire situations.

Morphine is hard to obtain in some countries and virtually unobtainable in others. Mexico meets 36% of its need, China meets 16%, India 4% and Nigeria 0.2%. In some of the worlds poorest countries, such as Haiti, Afghanistan and many countries in Africa, oral morphine in palliative care is virtually non-existent.

Oral and injectable morphine is out of patent, but costs vary widely and it is cheaper in affluent countries like the USA than in poor countries. A second issue is opiophobia the fear that allowing the drugs to be used in hospitals will lead to addiction and crime in the community.

The world suffers a deplorable pain crisis: little to no access to morphine for tens of millions of adults and children in poor countries who live and die in horrendous and preventable pain, says Professor Felicia Knaul, co-chair of the commission from the University of Miami, calling it one of the worlds most striking injustices.

Knaul says she only realised that many people suffered without pain relief when she was working to improve access to cancer treatment in low-income countries. I was shocked. I had no idea. When people were showing me the data I thought it cant be in this world, she told the Guardian.

She had also experienced the need for morphine herself after a mastectomy for breast cancer. When I woke up I couldnt breathe because the pain was so bad. If they hadnt arrived with the morphine I dont know how I would have got through it. And as a young girl in Mexico, she had to watch her father suffer as he died without pain relief.

I dont think that we have cared enough about poor people who have pain, she said. It doesnt make them live any longer. It doesnt make them more productive. It is simply the human right of not suffering any more pain and we dont care about that for people who are poor.

The commission recommends that all countries put in place a relatively inexpensive package of effective palliative care for end of life conditions that cause suffering, including HIV, cancers, heart disease, injuries and dementia.

One of their most emphatic recommendations, says Knaul, is that immediate-release, off-patent, morphine that can cost just pennies should be made available in both oral and injectable formulations for any patient with medical need. The disparity and access abyss between the haves and have-nots is a medical, public health and moral injustice that can be effectively addressed by the commissions recommendations.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/oct/12/more-than-25-million-people-dying-in-agony-without-morphine-every-year

Trumps pro-coal agenda is a blow for clean air efforts at Texas’ Big Bend park

For decades the national parks stunning vistas have been compromised by poor air quality, and prospects of improvement were derailed by Trump Tuesday

Big Bend national park is Texas at its most cinematic, with soaring, jagged forest peaks looming over vast desert lowlands, at once haughty and humble, prickly and pretty. It is also among the most remote places in the state.

Even from Alpine, the town of 6,000 that is the main gateway to the park, it is more than an hours drive to one of the entrances.

So far from anywhere, it might seem an unlikely location to be scarred by air pollution. Yet for decades its stunning vistas have been compromised by poor air quality that Texas, working with the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is supposed to address.

But environmental advocates fear that the Trump administrations pro-coal agenda will derail the prospects of improvement, at least in the short term. Tuesdays announcement that the EPA plans to abandon the 2015 Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon emissions came less than two weeks after the agency revealed a revised plan to combat regional haze in Texas and Oklahoma that critics say will do little to cut pollution.

Chrissy Mann, Austin-based senior campaign representative with the Sierra Clubs Beyond Coal campaign, said: Taken in combination with the Clean Power Plan, what were seeing is an attempt from this administration and this EPA to dig in their pockets and find whatever kind of tricks they think are going to stick to provide a lifeline to the coal industry across the country and here in Texas. Its disappointing.

Texas is part of a multi-state coalition that sued to stop the Clean Power Plan, which was placed on hold by the US supreme court last year.

Ken Paxton, the Texas attorney general, said in a statement: Its gratifying that our lawsuit against Obama-era federal overreach was a catalyst for repeal of the plan. We look forward to working with the administration to craft a new strategy that will protect the environment without hurting jobs and the economy.

The
The Perseid meteor shower at the Texas Bend in Big Bend national park in August 2016. Photograph: Jason Weingart / Barcroft Images

A back-and-forth between the EPA and Texas over regional haze has been in motion since 1999, when the agency launched a concerted effort to deal with the problem, bidding to improve the air quality in Big Bend national park, Guadalupe Mountains national park and in Oklahoma, the home state of the EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt.

In 2009, the state enforcer, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, issued a plan that would restore natural visibility to Big Bend by the year 2155. That was rejected as inadequate by the EPA in 2014.

The EPA wanted Texas to cut 230,000 tons of sulphur dioxide emissions per year to improve visibility and reduce the risk of worsening respiratory diseases and heart disease and damaging soil, water, fish and wildlife.

Two years later, finding Texas relied on an analysis that obscured the benefits of potentially cost-effective controls, the EPA replaced parts of Texass emissions plan, calling for plant upgrades and a target of natural visibility by 2064.

Texas sued the agency and won a stay of implementation in a federal appeals court. The state argued that it is making reasonable progress and, along with industry representatives, claimed that enacting the structural improvements notably fitting some electricity plants with sulphur dioxide scrubbers would cost $2bn and be a backdoor way of forcing the closure of coal-fired power plants. That, it said, might put the state at risk of power shortages and increased prices for consumers.

Last December, in the sunset days of the Obama administration, the EPA proposed another scheme that would also have required older plants to upgrade their technology.

But in August this year, Pruitts EPA asked a federal court for more time until the end of 2018 to come up with a way forward. When the judge refused, on 29 September the EPA unveiled a path that is much more palatable for Texas and the power companies: one that wouldnt require retrofitting, instead claiming to achieve comparable results with an intrastate cap-and-trade programme. That would give polluters allowances within an overall emissions budget that can be used or traded in a marketplace.

Such programmes can be effective, but Mann, of the Sierra Club, contends that the cap is too high so will not provide any incentive for meaningful reductions. Its not very aggressive. In other words, the amount of pollution that coal plants in Texas are allowed to produce is actually higher than our emissions from last year from the same coal plants, taken all together, Mann said.

The National Park Service and EPA carried out a study in 1999 to understand what causes haze in Big Bend, which is worse in the warmer months. It found that sulphate particles formed from sulphur dioxide sources such as coal power plants and refineries were a key cause.

Researchers discovered that substantial amounts of sulphate particulates came not only from Texas and Mexico, but the distant eastern US. When air flows from the east, production in Americas coal heartlands has an effect on Big Bends scenery.

Even if Trumps efforts to boost coal collide with economic reality and market forces spur more growth in renewable energy, any delays in transitioning to cleaner energy and reduced emissions prolong the haze problem.

Air quality has not improved and ozone has seen a slight deterioration over the past decade, according to Jeffery Bennett, physical sciences program coordinator at the park. Nitrogen deposition has not changed and remains a significant concern. Desert landscapes are especially sensitive to nitrogen, he wrote in an email in July.

Mercury is an emerging concern, he added, based on levels found in fish; it is unclear whether this is because of atmospheric deposition or the legacy of nearby abandoned mercury mines.

The park faces Mexico and since Donald Trump entered the White House it has attracted attention as a particularly unsuitable place to build a wall.

Still, in a few years, tourists might find that while Trump might have failed to wall off the Big Bend from Mexico, the view is blocked all the same. If youre standing here in Panther Junction and not able to see the Sierra del Carmen thats 20 miles away, because of the sulphates and other pollutions that blew in, youre missing a big part of why this became a park, Jennette Jurado, the parks public information officer, said earlier this year at the main visitor centre.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/11/trumps-pro-coal-agenda-is-a-blow-for-clean-air-efforts-at-texas-big-bend-park

Disturbed sleep patterns may be key to ADHD, study finds

Research links disruption of body clock to number of chronic conditions

Struggling to concentrate, having too much energy and being unable to control behaviour the main manifestations of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been linked to disruptions in sleep, researchers will reveal on Sunday.

The findings underline a growing awareness among doctors that disturbed sleep is associated with many major health hazards. Other ailments linked to the problem include obesity, diabetes and heart disease. The work opens up the possibility of developing treatments for ADHD without drugs, the researchers say.

Speaking at a pharmacology conference in Paris, Professor Sandra Kooij, of VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam, will outline research which shows poor sleep is a sign that the timings of many physiological processes are not properly synchronised.

The onset of ADHD is one of the clear signs that this is taking place. Our research is making clear that sleep disruption and ADHD are intertwined. Essentially, they are two sides of the same physiological and mental coin, said Kooij, speaking before her presentation.

Symptoms of ADHD, which also include mood swings and impulsiveness, are generally noticed at a fairly early age, often when a child is being sent to school for the first time, although cases are sometimes not recognised until adulthood. It is estimated that between 2% and 5% of people are affected by ADHD at some time. According to Kooij, the condition is very often inherited and usually has a pronounced neurological background.

In addition, about 80% of cases are associated with profound sleep disturbances. This is most frequently manifested as delays in the onset of sleep, Kooij will tell delegates at the annual congress of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology in Paris.

People simply cannot go to bed and fall sleep at the end of the day like others, she said. And that has consequences. Affected individuals sometimes cannot get to sleep until around 3am but they still have to get up to go to work or school. The result is a drastic loss of sleep.

This problem is linked, in turn, to disturbances in levels of the neurological transmitters dopamine and melatonin in the brain, she said. These chemicals control when we fall asleep and when we wake up by directing the brains circadian system, the internal biological clock which keeps us in sync with the 24-hour day.

Other conditions linked to disturbed dopamine and melatonin levels include restless leg syndrome an irresistible urge to move your legs and sleep apnoea, in which breathing is disturbed during sleep. These disorders are also linked to ADHD, said Kooij.

This claim is backed by Professor Andreas Reif, of University Hospital, Frankfurt. A disturbance of the circadian system may indeed be a core mechanism in ADHD but beyond these considerations, sleep abnormalities are a huge problem for many patients, heavily impacting on their social life. More research is very relevant to improve patients lives. The crucial point is that a cascade of health disorders, including ADHD, appear to be triggered by disruptions to circadian rhythms, offering some routes to counter these conditions by attempting to restore a patients body clock. Kooij said her team was now looking for biomarkers, such as vitaminD levels, blood glucose, cortisol levels, 24-hour blood pressure, and heart-rate variability that are associated with sleeplessness.

Once we can do that, we may be able to treat some ADHD by non-pharmacological methods, such as changing light or sleep patterns. We may also be able to prevent the negative impact of chronic sleep loss on health in general.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/sep/02/disturbed-sleep-patterns-may-be-key-to-adhd

Could a drug that mimics a zero-carb diet help us live longer, healthier lives?

Researchers hope to develop a medication that mimics a diet stripped of carbohydrate, after two studies showed clear benefits in mice

A drug that mimics a zero-carbohydrate diet could help people live longer, healthier lives and have better memories in old age, US researchers claim.

Scientists hope to develop a medication after two independent studies showed that mice fed on a diet stripped of all carbohydrate lived longer and performed better on a range of physical and mental tasks than those that had regular meals.

Because the diet is hard to stick to, the researchers are working on a compound that aims to deliver the same benefits for humans. If they are successful, it would amount to an extra seven to ten years of life on average, and protection against the weakening muscles and faltering memories that are defining aspects of human ageing.

Im excited about this, and its hard not to be after what weve seen that it does. These are pretty profound effects, said Eric Verdin, a physician who led one of the studies at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in California.

The zero carb diet was designed to induce a dramatic change in metabolism, by fooling the mice into thinking they were fasting. When deprived of carbohydrate, the body shifts from using glucose as its main energy source to burning fat and producing chemicals in the liver known as ketone bodies.

In 2013, Verdin showed that a ketone body called BHB served as fuel in the body and might also protect animals against the microscopic damage that builds up in cells as part of the natural ageing process.

In a new study published in the journal Cell Metabolism, Verdin and his colleagues describe how they fed one-year-old mice either a normal high-carbohydrate diet; a high-fat, low-carb diet; or a high-fat, zero-carb diet, also known as a ketogenic diet. They found that mice on the zero-carb diet were more likely to reach old age and scored better on memory tasks than those on the other diets.

Similar benefits of the ketogenic diet were seen in a separate study by scientists at the University of California in San Diego. Megan Roberts and others found that mice fed on a zero-carbohydrate diet lived 13% longer, reaching an average age of 1,003 days compared with 886 days for mice given standard meals.

But while the zero-carb diet appeared to benefit mice, its health effects have yet to be proven in humans. To make up the calories, the mouse diet contained 90% fat, which could be dangerous for humans to adopt.

Stephen ORahilly, director of the Metabolic Research Laboratories at Cambridge University, said high-fat diets drive up LDL or bad cholesterol in humans, and so raise the risk of heart disease. Mice dont really use LDL cholesterol in the first place, so it doesnt have that bad impact on them, he said.

The work could still lead to valuable insights though. We may be able to learn from these studies what some of the pathways are that this sort of diet influences to keep mice somewhat generally healthier as they age. But for it to be useful in humans we would have to somehow dissociate these effects from the adverse effects on circulating LDL cholesterol, ORahilly added.

Verdin said that the difficulty of sticking to the diet was a major reason his team was searching for drugs to mimic the its effects. Tests are underway on a compound that produces BHB in the body in the hope that it could be taken as a supplement, he said.

The biggest problem with the diet is that it is difficult to maintain as a lifestyle, Verdin said. Its an antisocial diet. You can hardly eat anything that most of us like.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/sep/05/could-a-drug-that-mimics-a-zero-carb-diet-help-us-live-longer-healthier-lives

Here’s what would happen to Jimmy Kimmel’s son if Graham-Cassidy passes

(CNN)It was frightening news that every parent dreads: Hours after the birth of their son, Jimmy Kimmel and his wife were informed by doctors that Billy had a complex heart condition and would need immediate surgery.

That life-altering moment for the late-night comic has spurred a heated national debate about the ongoing Republican campaign to repeal the Affordable Care Act. On his show Tuesday night, Kimmel blasted one Republican senator in particular — Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy — for having “lied right to my face.”
Kimmel was referring to Cassidy’s vow earlier this year to only support a health care legislation if it passed a “Jimmy Kimmel test” — that a child born with a congenital heart disease like Billy Kimmel would “be able to get everything she or he would need in that first year of life,” the senator said on CNN in May.
    But the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal bill, Kimmel argued this week, doesn’t even come close to fulfilling that promise of protecting people with pre-existing conditions.
    “Not only did Bill Cassidy fail the Jimmy Kimmel test, he failed the Bill Cassidy test,” Kimmel said in a lengthy monologue Tuesday night. “He failed his own test.”
    Both Cassidy and Sen. Lindsey Graham, the bill’s co-sponsor, have forcefully pushed back. “I am sorry he does not understand,” Cassidy said on CNN Wednesday morning. He insisted that under his bill, “more people will have coverage and we protect those with pre-existing conditions.” 
    Here’s what would be at stake for Billy Kimmel and others with serious health conditions if Graham-Cassidy became law:
    Billy Kimmel’s heart condition 
    Tetralogy of Fallot with pulmonary atresia, the condition that Billy Kimmel has, is a congenital heart defect in which there is a hole in the wall between the heart’s left and right chambers. Without a valve connecting the right ventricle to the lungs, not enough blood reaches the lungs. 
    Those born with the condition are usually diagnosed as infants or young children, according to the American Heart Association, with visible symptoms that include skin that is bluish in color. (Kimmel said a nurse happened to notice that Billy’s skin appeared to have a purple tint).  
    How is it treated and how much does it cost?
    The life-long condition typically requires multiple procedures, including open-heart surgeries to reconstruct the connection between the heart and lungs and catheterization to help enlarge arteries. Even after the children get older, they will need constant monitoring and sometimes follow-up operations as adults.
    Needless to say, it is an expensive condition to treat.  
    According to Dr. Roger Breitbart, the chief of Boston Children’s Hospital’s inpatient cardiology division, open heart surgery and hospitalization can easily cost upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars, while catheterization procedures can be multiple tens of thousand of dollars each. The total lifetime cost could easily surpass $1 million, he said.
    Breitbart has treated many children with the condition and said some of his patients who are now teenagers “wouldn’t be alive if they had not had the series of treatments. They may have had three or four open heart operations and as many as a dozen heart catheterization procedures in the first six to eight years of life.”
    How does someone like Billy Kimmel fare under Obamacare?
    Prior to Obamacare, Billy Kimmel could have found himself branded uninsurable for life. 
    Insurance companies routinely turned people with pre-existing conditions away or charged them sky-high premiums if they applied for coverage on the individual market. More than a quarter of non-elderly adults have health conditions that would have made them ineligible for coverage in this market, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. 
    Plus, they often limited how much they’d be willing to cover annually or over one’s life. Kids like Billy Kimmel would likely blow through the cap pretty quickly. 
    Those with employer policies fared better, but even there, it was possible to get hit. Health care bills were one of the leading causes of bankruptcy. 
    The Affordable Care Act changed all that. Insurers are no longer allowed to turn people away, nor charge them more, because of pre-existing conditions. And they must offer comprehensive policies that cover a wide array of treatments and medication. Plus, insurers cannot impose annual or lifetime limits on coverage of those essential health benefits.

      Cassidy: Health bill should pass Kimmel test

     
    What about the Graham-Cassidy bill?
    It would depend on where Billy Kimmel lives. The bill would allow states to set up their own rules for coverage, an idea that Republicans generally favor because they say it lets each address its unique needs. For example, one state might keep many of Obamacare’s protections, while another could loosen the rules considerably.
    Graham-Cassidy would not let insurers turn away those with pre-existing conditions anywhere. But states could opt to once again allow carriers to raise premiums because of people’s medical histories and to sell skimpier policies that don’t cover Obamacare’s 10 essential health benefits. 
    Also, insurers would be able to cap the amount they would pay for treatment outside what their states deems an essential health benefit. 
    “Families with young children with conditions such as this are likely worried most immediately about the pre-existing condition issue,” Breitbart said about the Republican proposal. As for the lifetime cap, “one has to wonder what are such families going to do after we have saved their lives quite literally as children and then can’t provide ongoing care.”
    All these changes are particularly troubling for those in the individual market since employers generally offer better coverage. And they are among the reasons why multiple patient advocacy groups, including the American Heart Foundation, have come out against the bill.
     
    Kimmel: Not everyone is as fortunate as he is
    The ABC late night host has made one thing clear as he has spoken about his son’s diagnosis: His family is incredibly fortunate.
    He has health insurance and the means to pay for his son’s care. As much as he has used his son’s diagnosis to draw public attention to the impact of various GOP proposals to gut Obamacare, Kimmel can at least rest easy knowing that his family can afford to pay for Billy’s treatments. 
    It’s a luxury that many other families don’t have. 
    “If your baby is going to die and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make,” Kimmel said in May. “No parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life. It just shouldn’t happen. Not here.”

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/20/politics/jimmy-kimmel-son-graham-cassidy/index.html

    6 Bizarrely Insulting Portrayals Of Other Countries In Games

    We don’t play video games for realism. We play to escape into a world where the right hat will make you better at fighting, and hiding behind a crate will quickly heal eight bullet wounds. But if a game takes place in a real country, wouldn’t it be worth it for the developers to spend a few minutes skimming that country’s Wikipedia page? You know, to avoid making something incredibly offensive? Something like …

    6

    Ghost Recon: Wildlands Thinks Bolivia Is a Drug-Lord-Controlled Wilderness

    Among the many gifts the late Tom Clancy left us is the Ghost Recon franchise. It’s a series of Ubisoft games in which you control a team of operators as they massacre confused enemies with an unlimited supply of overpowered gadgets. The tenth installment, Wildlands, takes place in Bolivia, and by the time you finish it, you will have killed more Bolivians than have been claimed by cancer and heart disease combined. Bolivia makes the perfect setting for a killing spree because it is a lawless, drug-filled war zone as far as the eye can see. Except for one detail: It totally isn’t.

    Bolivia, as you might know from geography class or general knowledge or fun facts from a bag of Brazil nuts (they’re not nuts OR from Brazil!), is a country with cities and an economy and a whole population of non-warlords. For example, here’s La Paz:

    However, according to Wildlands, all of Bolivia looks like this:

    Ubisoft
    Fun Fact: Brazil nuts get their smoky flavor because they’re harvested by gunfight!

    The landscape is nothing but vast, scrub-filled mountains. It’s like the entire country is trapped in a Cormac McCarthy novel, existing only as a backdrop for desperate murder and existential despair. There are bandits in every burned-out church and 80,000 percent more ammunition dumps than wildlife. The game does include some Bolivian cities, where everyone is dressed in bad hats and their economy seems based entirely around soccer balls:

    It seems like the developers invented an entirely new country based on old cowboy movies and cartoon salsa mascots and then accidentally named it after a place that actually exists and is nothing like it. And it wasn’t just a stupid little mistake; the game was so offensive to real Bolivians that the country filed a formal complaint with France (the home country of Ubisoft) over it. And they weren’t only upset about how their country was portrayed as a dusty wasteland of violent soccer ball farmers. The game seems to think Bolivia is filled with Mexican cartels and socialist guerrilla rebels. Remember, Bolivia’s government has a socialist president serving his third term.

    5

    Call Of Duty: Ghosts Has you Fight All Of South America

    Call Of Duty has always had difficulty creating villains that aren’t Nazis. The Modern Warfare subseries has vague Al-Qaeda stand-ins and a Russia inexplicably able to invade the entirety of Europe, whilst Black Ops has Soviets and a Nicaraguan arms dealer who starts a revolution against America before giving up and deciding to join a rock band. Yet for COD: Ghosts, Infinity Ward outdid them all. In that game, the villains are from the “country” of South America.

    In what can only be loosely described as a story, the Arabian Peninsula gets devastated by war. This gives South America a monopoly on the world’s oil supply. Rather than buying skyscrapers and soccer stadiums like normal wealthy countries, the entire continent decides to unite and declare war against the USA. That’s how much money they have. They have “Fuck you” money, and then on top of that they have “Kill the U.S.” money.

    The first problem is the idea that the countries of South America could unite under one flag just because they came into some extra cash. It’s a diverse continent with centuries of history, and all the enmity that goes with that. In the past decade, we’ve seen Ecuadorian, Venezuelan, and Colombian troops facing off, Bolivia wanting its coastline back from Chile, and Argentina trying to start a fight with Britain over a sheep-filled rock.

    And why South America would want to eliminate the USA is a mystery. Not only is America super polite, but the Federation’s power comes from selling oil, and the U.S. would be their best customer. Even heroin dealers don’t intentionally murder their best buyers, and the USA would be that buyer forever. It’s not like we’re going to invest in renewable energy to eliminate our need for foreign oil. That’s a more fantastical idea than the one the game already has.

    Finally, the Federation doesn’t merely cripple and invade America; it also turns our best soldiers to their side with interrogation techniques robbed from the Aztecs. Which is dumb, but also maybe awesome? It’s obvious the developers were throwing in every detail they could think of related to South America, and there’s something almost refreshing about a story written by someone who truly believes there is no such thing as a bad idea.

    Reviews called out this laughable premise, with one critic stating that, “The background to Ghosts reads like a novel from the minds of domestic oil drilling supporters mixed in with some neo-conservative foreign policy, with a few sprinklings of pro-border security sentiment thrown in for good measure … it has arguably has one of the most right-wing premises in video game history.” You know who wrote that scathing review? Fox News.

    Yeah. Fox News was calling this game out for its extreme ideology, and Fox News will devote hours of a broadcast to pretending to love statues in order to defend historical racists. Call Of Duty: Ghosts was more right-wing than THAT. Hell, the most recent COD game has Jon Snow and Conor MacGregor trying to kill rebels, one of whom is F1 racing champion Lewis Hamilton, and it was somehow less ridiculous.

    4

    Uncharted 3‘s London Isn’t Much Like Regular London

    Despite being about a white guy shooting minorities and stealing their wealth in exotic locales, the Uncharted games have portrayed the settings surprisingly well. That is, except for London.

    Uncharted 3 starts with Nathan Drake meeting a well-dressed businessman in a London pub to sell his ancestor’s belongings. Said pub is filled with burly, unshaven roughnecks in traditional working man attire like flat caps and hoodies. They smoke and glare and grunt specifically British words like “geezer” and “bloke.” It is a shithole that would have absolutely had the lowest Yelp score in all of London if bars like it even existed there anymore.

    After a fight breaks out (during which Nate ignores signs of the upcoming apocalypse), Drake makes it outside, where he can admire the London skyline. The scene puts this pub on the southern side of the Thames — to be more exact, somewhere around the district of Southwark.

    Here’s a handy map if you’d like to visit it yourself and try to pick a bar fight.

    For those who don’t have London districts memorized, this isn’t some rundown Dickensian slum. This is the center of London, a stone’s throw from the financial district, and as such is one of the most expensive places in the country and exceptionally multicultural. A shithole pub populated entirely by Cockneys wouldn’t exist there, unless Nate accidentally wandered into some kind of Knight Rider villain cosplay convention.

    To use an American analogy, this’d be the equivalent of having a Manhattan bar overlooking Time Square being filled solely with escaped Harlem zoo animals. Most people familiar with the city noticed the nonsense anachronism, and critics (from Yahtzee to, uh, Red Bull) have been pointing it out since the game was released. If you’re wondering, here is what an actual pub in that area looks like:

    This pub would showcase a wide variety of cultures, with a wide variety of people and a shit-ton of tourists, and prices would be through the roof. They would be drinking fine wines and pretentious cocktails, not scowling at strangers until they punch them. If anyone from the Uncharted 3 sequence showed up, they’d be an ironic hipster or only there to scream how foreigners are ruining the place before they get arrested.

    3

    Street Fighter Has No Idea What Any Place In The World Looks Like

    Through the gaming ages, the Street Fighter franchise has not shied away from jamming as many foreign stereotypes in as possible. You can argue that it’s not hurtful to accuse Americans of shooting sonic booms, but when your Indian fighter has magic yoga stretching powers, breathes spicy curry breath, wears a necklace of human baby skulls, and decorates his fighting arenas with elephants, it starts to get a bit uncomfortable.

    Most of the stage backgrounds are the first thing a poorly educated person would think of if they had one second to describe a place. The Chinese stage is a chicken meat market crowded with bicycles. The Thailand stage is a giant Buddha statue. The Russian stage is a communist factory filled with vodka-chugging workers.

    In the latest outing in the series, Street Fighter V, the developers attempted to go back and redo the Thailand stage from Street Fighter II — the one we mentioned was a giant Buddha statue. It’s not as if Thai people have changed religions since then, so they kept the Buddhist theme. What didn’t make sense is they used a song with Muslim chants for the stage’s music.

    Simple mistake, right? It’s the wrong religious reference in a video game about fireballs and tatsumaki-senpuu-kyakus. Who cares? Well, there’s kind of been ongoing separatist violence between Muslim areas in Thailand and the Buddhist government. Here’s a chart you probably weren’t expecting in a Street Fighter article:

    Oops. Capcom quickly pulled the stage from the game and released a statement apologizing for any offense caused. Which is fine and all, but the minds behind the series don’t exactly have the greatest track record of progressive thinking. When discussing the lone female character from Street Fighter II, Chun Li, designer Yoshiki Okamoto talked about wanting to make her power bar shorter because “women are not as strong.” He said that out loud. To people.

    And it wasn’t even the last of the Street Fighter religious controversy. For the Rio stage, they wanted to use the iconic Cristo Redentor statue that overlooks the city. You probably know it — it’s a 100-foot-tall Jesus.

    Jesus might belong to everyone, but this statue of him is copyrighted by the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro, and they didn’t want him in such a violent game. (Although the statue did appear appear in Civilization VI, a game in which you can eradicate entire nations with nuclear weapons.) So what did Street Fighter replace Jesus with?

    2

    Spanish For Everyone: A Game That Teaches Spanish And A Bit Of Racism

    You probably haven’t heard of the Nintendo DS game Spanish For Everyone, which is absolutely for the best. It’s more or less what it sounds like, except it’s not so much for everyone. It seems designed exclusively for people who want to speak Spanish to threaten to deport their gardener.

    The goal of the game is to teach the user Spanish, but it gets too caught up in cringeworthy material to accomplish that. It also doesn’t help that it isn’t fun and sucks. The game starts with your character (a white kid) sharing his Nintendo DS with a Mexican child. You can watch the entirety of the sequence here:

    The other child runs off with your DS, which means the first Mexican character you’re introduced to is a thief. Not a great start. To its credit, the game mentions that the kid maybe forgot to return your property. However, if the makers of the game wanted this to come across as a simple misunderstanding, why is the kid’s father evilly staring out from the shadows of his limousine?

    Activision
    “And steal the white child’s property! Steal his jobs!!! Ha ha! Ha ha ha!!!”

    Next, a cop car follows the limo. It’s important to make this clear: The only Mexican characters we’ve been introduced to so far are a boy who steals your DS and a sinister man in a limo being trailed by the police.

    Activision
    “Get him, officer! He took my DS! And my jobs!!!”

    Later, your aunt takes you to Mexico and just kind of abandons you in front of a building with a random Spanish word on its entry arch: FIESTA. Nearby is a Minotaur in the back of a truck. Good enough for the aunt — have fun, young unattended boy!

    As your truly ill-advised adventure continues, you hitch a ride in the back of the truck. It’s hard to believe a driver would be okay with something this close to kidnapping, but he takes you to the next city, which is nothing but a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Every window is broken and all the trees are dead. You meet a man who looks like Steven Seagal named Tio Juan. Which is maybe a pun? All we know is that no video game protagonist has ever encountered a more certain death than the little boy in Spanish For Everyone.

    Finally, you end up tracking down your “friend” and get your DS back. It was a long and dangerous journey for a toy that costs about $50 used. Along the way, you learn that Mexico and its people are lawless but helpful, which is a troubling lesson to teach a child learning Spanish via video games.

    And while we’re here …

    1

    Call Of Juarez: The Cartel Portrays Sex Slavery The Wrong Way Around

    Call Of Juarez: The Cartel takes place in a topsy-turvy world in which Americans want a war with Mexico, but their president doesn’t. Then the Juarez Cartel blows up the DEA and the government launches an investigation. And one of the early leads is that the Cartel is involved in sex trafficking. It’s pretty much the plot of Spanish For Everyone, but rated M.

    You are sent on a mission to an LA brothel, where you rough up some prostitutes to get information and chase down the villain. After a savage beating, he reveals that the cartel has been kidnapping young women, injecting them with cocktails of various drugs, and storing them in warehouses to be shipped off to Mexico.

    The mission is a success, and you save several American women from being deported as contraband-filled Mexican sex slaves! Yay! Except … every single thing about this scenario is backward.

    As mentioned on Extra Credits, sex slavers don’t, or very rarely, hijack women from America to smuggle across the Mexican border. The exact opposite is what law enforcement fights against every day — women from Mexico and elsewhere are trafficked across the border to work in brothels in the U.S. The game somehow took a reprehensible problem and got every detail about it wrong because they thought it would make the target audience care about it more. (“Cartels stealing our women!?!?”) It’d be like making a news channel that spreads the narrative that white Christians are being racially oppressed. It’s stupid, sure, but it also makes the real problem harder to deal with.

    Nathan Kamal lives in Oregon and writes there. He co-founded Asymmetry Fiction for all your fiction needs. Mike Bedard likes video games, especially if they’re filled with Pokemons. If you follow him on Twitter, he’ll be your friend. When he’s not writing, Sam Hurley co-hosts the funniest movie review podcast you’ve never heard, available now on iTunes, SoundCloud and, Stitcher, He also tweets unrequited appreciation at his fave celebs here.

    Also check out 5 Video Games That Pose (And Reward) Awful Moral Choices and The 5 Most Offensive Attempts at Video Game Marketing.

    Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and check out 6 Most WTF Endings In Video Game History, and watch other videos you won’t see on the site!

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    Get intimate with our new podcast Cracked Gets Personal. Subscribe for funny, fascinating episodes like How Illegal Drugs Saved Our Lives and Rape, Pee Funnels, and The Dolphin: Female Soldiers Speak Up, available wherever you get your podcasts.

    Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_24975_6-video-games-that-make-other-countries-look-crazy-af.html

    5 Answers To Questions You Didn’t Know You Had (Part 2)

    I didn’t pay much attention in school, which is probably why I have so many questions about the world. And why I do this for a living.

    As I explained last time, I’ve been making a conscious effort to keep little random questions that pop into my head every day in mind so I can look them up later to educate myself the way I actively prevented any teacher from doing. The column you’re about to read is the result of this admittedly unimpressive effort to remember to do basic things. But in the spirit of full disclosure, the questions that pop into my head can be a little … odd. For instance …

    5

    What Does Human Meat Taste Like?

    Even if you aren’t a legit cannibal and you’ve only eaten someone for basic survival, the stigma is going to be a bitch to scrub off. If you’re capable of eating someone at a party, that will be the elephant in the room every time you attend one. That’s a shitty reputation. And you know legitimate cannibals are crazy because they accept that possibility with open arms. And that’s how I figure human meat must be pretty good. Why risk being socially ostracized if people aren’t delicious, right?

    Right. Now that I’ve deduced that humans are yummy as fuck, it still feels too general. I want to know what we taste like, specifically.

    The consensus among several real-life cannibals who were asked that very question is pork. In 2007, German cannibal Armin Meiwes described the flavor as “like pork, a little bit more bitter, stronger. It tastes quite good.” Serial killer and cannibal Arthur Shawcross said humans taste like fresh ham, maybe even a little like roasted pork.

    Other cannibals disagree.

    Peter Bryan described his victim’s arms and legs as tasting like chicken, but that’s such a cliche answer, Peter. Either develop a more refined palate or expand your reference points.

    Jeffery Dahmer once likened the flavor of a thigh/bicep/internal organ stir fry to a filet mignon, which means human meat is overpriced and tastes like nothing. Eating people would be totally worth it if he said ribeye. I have standards.

    Others were a little too general in their description. Omaima Nelson was a former model whose career to the unexpected downturn when she ate her husband. She said husband meat is “so sweet.” Same as late-1800s American prospector/cannibal Alfred Packer, who described the taste of his prospecting party as “the sweetest meat,” which is too pervy. That’s the name Matthew McConaughey gave to his penis.

    So taking the most believable, trusted cannibals at their word, human meat tastes like sweet pork.

    4

    Why Don’t School Buses Have Seat Belts?

    Most school buses don’t have seat belts for their passengers. Bus seat belts are mandatory in only six out of 50 states in the U.S. At least 18 others are considering such laws, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. So a majority of kids are at risk of banging on everything as they flop around the inside of a bus.

    Federal law only requires seat belts in school buses that weigh under 10,000 pounds. On a federal level, only short buses which transport disabled students require seat belts. Every other bus is a giant lottery ball machine where the balls are made of people.

    The typical long yellow school buses you have in mind right now have been deemed so safe by federal agencies like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that they think seat belts aren’t even necessary. It has to do with the modern design.

    To describe a child in a school bus accident prior to mandated design changes in 1977, Indianapolis Monthly magazine said, it’s like “placing an egg in a toolbox full of wrenches and gasoline, then throwing it down a flight of stairs and hoping it came out unbroken.” That’s the most graphic sentence about a toolbox I’ve ever seen.

    Fearing that we were at risk of turning our nation’s children into wrenches (I may have misunderstood the metaphor), the NHTSA packed bus seats closer together and gave them shock-absorbing steel skeletons. They raised the seat backs and bolted them to the floor (did the seats just slide around before that?). The buses’ fuel systems were improved to reduce the chance of roasting children. New mirrors were added so drivers could see whether kids were standing so they could brake real quick to teach them a lesson. And joints were strengthened to reduce the likelihood of buses shredding apart in an accident like a race car slamming into a corner at 200 mph. It’s a miracle anyone survived the ’70s.

    They basically redesigned buses like egg cartons. Kids can’t get hurt if their bodies have nowhere to move. It wouldn’t hurt to put seat belts in, but it’s just an added expense for a vehicle that’s already considered the safest form of transportation there is. Though I don’t see how they’re safer than parade floats. They go one mile an hour and are covered in soft mascots.

    3

    Why Is Breakfast In America Mostly Dessert Food?

    It wouldn’t make sense if one of our daily meals was just a cake. Yet that’s what a lot of American breakfast food is — waffles, pancakes, croissants, French toast, almost everything in the cereal aisle, donuts, muffins, and all the weird sub-categories, variations, and cultural twists on each. It’s dessert you eat in the morning to get a jump start on your diabetes. How did American breakfast menus come to look like they were written by pudgy children with Kool-Aid-stained lips?

    The culture of eating dessert in the morning was imported from all over the world, but we perfected it. And America defines “perfected” as “taken to its most self-destructive extreme.” And we can blame the Dutch for that. They brought pancakes, waffles, and donuts to America in the early 1600s. Nobody knew what time of day we should be eating any of them, so we ate them whenever the hell we wanted. Since they were bread-adjacent, we defaulted to eating them for dinner, like we do garlic bread with a bowl of pasta or a donut with salmon.

    It stayed that way, until one day we decided to not wait several hours to be our worst selves. Thin crepe-like pancakes were a staple of American dinners during the Revolutionary War. Then people added a leavening agent to make them rise and realized we’d all be much better off if we started our day with fleeting joy.

    Donuts weren’t associated with breakfast until we invented machines that could mass-produce them, which led to donuts showing up in more bakeries. This coincided with the increased availability of coffee in bakeries. People stopped in to grab a morning cup, and the sensual allure of glaze compelled them to grab a donut as well.

    Pop-Tarts and sugary cereals were a direct result of America’s obsession with convenience. Why make a whole meal of proteins when you can heat this pale slip of crumbly pastry with a thin smattering of fruity sugar sludge in a toaster real quick and launch out the door with your warm heart disease delivery device a minute later?

    2

    Why Do Buttholes Have Hair?

    Did our anuses need to be kept warm in the winter? Is butthole hair there to reduce the friction between our butt cheeks so our pants don’t catch fire? Evolution-wise, it seems counterproductive. The poop would stick to it and cause disease in primitive people who didn’t buy wet wipes, right?

    The frustrating thing about this question, which seems like it should have a simple definitive answer, is that it doesn’t. We’ve had them since forever, but we have no idea why we’ve got dry thickets of spooky forest vines surrounding our stink knots like they’re protecting the outside world from the witch that lives within. But we do have solid theories that we’re running with, since no one is brave enough to study asshole hair for a living. Turns out my joke about reducing friction between cheeks might be part of the explanation. Another is that butt pubes (bubes) might have something to do with olfactory communication.

    See, your unique stink is your body’s way of releasing pheromones that tell those around you a little something about yourself that they’d rather not know. One theory is that we’re kind of like dogs, in that the stench of our assholes was one of the ways we once communicated — and we still do. For instance, when you fart in an elevator, you’re telling passengers you’re a terrorist. The hair traps our unique natural body odors, which supposedly let other (I guess) people know who you are. So if you wax off your asshole hair, you’re a step closer to going off the grid. Soon, you’ll be free to spend your days building bombs and putting the finishing touches on your manifesto in your cabin in the Ozarks.

    1

    Do Chickens Care That We Take Their Eggs?

    I don’t want to speak for chickens, but if I were a chicken and I spent all that time making eggs in my chicken womb and then popped a few out of my chicken tube, and then some human came in and tried to take it, I’d be like, “Wha? No.” Then again, maybe I’m putting too many human qualities on poultry. I mean, it turns out that chickens don’t have vaginas and roosters don’t have penises, so they don’t have sex the way you’re imagining. But still, I’d imagine that any animal would get a little riled up if you try to take away their babies. But I don’t often hear about hens trying to peck out Farmer John’s still-beating heart after he tried to steal their eggs. Do hens even give a shit that we’ve industrialized the kidnapping of their children?

    Depends on the chicken.

    If they’re taking eggs from non-commercial breeds, there’s an element of timing involved. Hens form a “clutch” of eggs, which is when they lay up to 20 eggs but don’t actually do anything with them. They’re saving them up until the day their hormones ignite and they’re overcome with the desire to sit on the eggs and turn them into chicks. Try to take an egg from a brooding hen and pretty much nothing will happen; it’ll be pissed, but it’s a chicken and we invented the Naked Chicken Chalupa. What are they gonna do?

    Wild hens won’t lay another egg until their previous bunch has grown up and moved out of the house. By taking the eggs before they hatch, farmers are tricking hens into entering an infinite cycle of laying eggs which they, in their tiny chicken brains, probably think are duds.

    Jesus, that’s dark. But surely, commercial factory-farmed chickens have it much better!

    Brooding over an egg has been bred out of some commercial hybrid hens. The ones used for large-scale egg farming have had the will to fight back against a huge alien overlord stealing their young scrubbed from their instincts, which sometimes results in them crapping out an egg and walking away like they don’t even give a shit anymore. That’s almost as sad as the infinite loop of chicken infertility.

    As a counterpoint, here’s a picture of a really good breakfast sandwich I made the other day:

    Me

    Much respect, lady chickens.

    Luis would like everyone to know that cannibal Armin Meiwes is now a vegetarian. He (Luis, not Armin) is on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.

    Human meat tastes sweet, and you can try some.

    If you loved this article and want more content like this, please consider donating to our Contribution Page. Please and thank you.

    For more, check out 5 Random Questions You Didn’t Know You Wanted Answered and 17 Unanswered Movie Questions That Totally Have Answers.

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    Read more: http://www.cracked.com/blog/what-does-human-meat-taste-like-5-answers-to-odd-questions/

    Sleep Is the Most Effortless Workout You Can Do And It Actually Counts

    My yoga pants have seen more action running errands than actually running, and based on my actual workout habits, my Daily Burn account should be more accurately dubbed the Bi-Weekly Burn. Maybe it’s because I never played sports in high school (does a short-lived stint on the Ultimate Frisbee team count?) or because I used to eat chocolate-chip cookie dough straight from the mixing bowl with absolutely zero regrets — whatever the reason, I’ve never embraced strenuous workouts. But now that I’ve hit 25, my laziness is coming back to bite me. Chowing down on a load of Pop-Tarts is one thing, but wanting to walk up a few flights of stairs with breath still in my body is another. So I’m on the hunt for workouts that someone lazy like me can actually handle. The more shortcuts, the better. That’s how I stumbled on one fitness routine so easy, you can do it in your sleep.

    And, yes, I am literally talking about sleep. Sleep has been scientifically proven over and over again to benefit your physical health. On the flip side, when you sleep fewer than eight hours per night, you increase your risk diabetes, heart disease, and a diminished immune system – ouch.

    Since you already spend about a third of your life in bed, why not make the most of that time by hacking your sleep habits to support a (somewhat) healthier life?

    I consulted sleep expert Carolyn Schur and champion powerlifter Robert Herbst to get their take on using sleep as the easiest fitness hack in existence. This is what happens to your body when you sleep.

    This is how sleep can make or break your physical health:

    “You don’t get strong in the gym,” Herbst tells me, and I make a mental note to tell that to my husband the next time he suggests I join him for a fitness session. But, joking aside, Herbst continues: “You get strong outside the gym when you recuperate.”

    Herbst explains to me that weight training and other strenuous activities cause muscles to tear. It’s only after this strain that your body repairs and grows muscle, and that process happens largely during sleep.

    Schur points out that sleep also provides us with greater energy and motivation to exercise, plus the discipline to make better lifestyle choices, like improving our diet. According to Schur, someone who’s tired might lack the energy or the clear judgment to eat a nutritional meal. Instead, they’ll opt for “quick energy,” usually in the form of unhealthy sugar or carbs.

    In other words, sleep has numerous restorative qualities that lead to better overall wellness, including physical health. That’s good news for me, because if there’s one thing I love, it’s sleep.

    You can use sleep to hack your fitness routine.

    Of course we should never use sleep as a complete substitute for other healthy habits, like eating well or staying physically active. But if you don’t follow proper sleep hygiene, those other habits are less likely to stick.

    For example, rather than depriving yourself of valuable rest to get up at the crack of dawn for the gym, Schur says “you are better off sleeping.” Then, she says, you can make time for a walk or run at lunch or in the evening. Moderate exercise a few hours before bedtime will, in turn, lead to deeper sleep.

    Now you have science to back you up the next time your gym buddy tries to drag you out of bed for a morning run – you’re welcome.

    Herbst recommends one hack that turns this pattern on its head: He suggests taking a short nap before exercise to trick your body into releasing the hormones that help produce muscle.

    Either approach means relying on sleep as a vital element in your fitness routine.

    Here’s how you can sleep better at night to enhance your fitness:

    Schur explains that you should “sleep at a time that is physiologically appropriate for you.” This means that one person’s natural sleep rhythms might fall later than another person’s rhythms, hence the common distinction between night owls and early birds.

    Find the time that your body naturally starts getting tired and set a regular sleep schedule based on that.

    Schur further recommends avoiding naps too close to bedtime, and using the time just before bed to do a 10-minute mental dump – writing down anything and everything occupying your thoughts in order to empty your mind before sleep.

    Along with my diet and fitness routines, as I’ve reached my mid-20s, I’ve had to reevaluate my own sleep habits.

    When I started experiencing back pain (yay for getting older), I graduated from a hand-me-down mattress on the floor to a more supportive mattress on a decent bed frame. I’ve also reduced the time I spend on my phone in the evening hours, and I try to eat sleep-inducing foods like bananas or yogurt.

    If you want to use sleep to enhance your physical health, the most important lesson you can learn is to protect your sleep like it’s sacred: Treat yourself to a bedroom environment that promotes restful sleep, commit to a healthy bedtime routine, and engage in habits that will support your sleep rather than detract from it.

    Read more: http://elitedaily.com/wellness/what-happens-to-your-body-when-you-sleep/2069930/

    Curvy swimsuit model cyberbullied over revealing Instagram photo

    Plus size model Alexa Phelece routinely uses her Instagram to post body positive shots of herself in swimsuits and curve-hugging fashions.

    Through her posts and uplifting messages, Phelece has grown her following to nearly 80K. However, her largely supportive fans weren’t as encouraging when the model posted a picture of herself and a much thinner woman wearing the same swimsuit – a $40 khaki monokini from Fashion Nova.

    “So here we have two girls in the same swimsuit. Let me just point out a few things,” Phelece captioned the splitscreen photo.

    MODEL CLAIMS PROSTITUTION IS COMMONPLACE IN THE INDUSTRY

    “One girl is in size Sm (I looked online) and one is in 3x- different skin colors,” she continued. “– one may be considered privileged- one is more commonly seen as healthy based on size – one is more commonly recognized as beautiful on tv or media,” Phelece said.

    However, it was the similarities the Instagram influencer listed that whipped her followers into a frenzy.

    “Both [women] are models – both are wearing the same swimsuit,” Phelece said. “LETS NOT FORGET: BOTH are beauty – BOTH should be treated equally – both should be able to love their bodies – BOTH should be judged on the content of their character NOT their skin color and definitely NOT their size – Both women are equally capable and worthy.”

    Her empowering speech is in line with other captions the Every Body Deserves Love founder has posted. This time, though, her fans were not feeling the love.

    “At first I was getting a lot of love and encouragement to continue my self love journey but it quickly got very negative,” she told Yahoo Style. “I received a lot of comments mentioning the status of my health and how I am promoting obesity.”

    On the photo, which received over 8,000 likes, one woman commented, “Girl from the right picture represents- laziness, obesity, and this type of post is just an excuse for fat persons, to continue leaving unhealthy life.”

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    And another person wrote, “’Fat but Fit’ is a myth. There are a myriad of studies out there that all come to the same conclusion. Being overweight, especially obese (yes, she IS obese), increases your risk of heart disease. Love yourself all you want, but you can’t deny reality that your weight puts you at risk for an early death. Period.”

    Phelece, who told Yahoo Style that she was “heartbroken” to see the amount of hate her photo received, feels that women need to build each other up more rather than attack each other over physical differences.

    Still, she is addressing the hate head on in her follow-up posts calling out those who have “fat shamed” and accused her of “promoting obesity,” and posting the ways she stays healthy like exercising and embracing her curves.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/2017/09/03/curvy-swimsuit-model-cyberbullied-over-revealing-instagram-photo.html