Tricks to outsmart your sweet tooth

by MikeMeehan 10/24/2018 10:02 AM

It’s Halloween night, and your kids have returned from trick-or-treating with their sugary loots. Before digging in, consider the cavity-causing effects that candy can have on teeth. Enjoying sweets in moderation and managing your cravings can help you avoid tooth decay. Start taming your sweet tooth by learning how much sugar is OK to eat. The Food and Drug Administration recommends no more than 12.5 teaspoons, or 50 grams, daily for those over the age of 3. Because the sugar contents of fun-sized candies vary from 2.4 grams to 14.5 grams, there’s no general rule for how many you can eat each day. Check the packaging and brand websites to calculate the number of candies you should limit yourself to. And remember to factor in the added sugars from all the other foods and drinks you consume. It adds up fast! If you reach your daily limit but the candy bowl is still tempting you, try these tips to defeat the craving:  1. Chew sugar-free gum. Popping in a stick of sugar-free gum instead of a bonbon helps in a couple ways. A study by Louisiana State University found that chewing gum may reduce snack cravings. It’s also useful for cleaning your mouth. Gum washes away leftover food particles and reduces acids that threaten tooth enamel.  2. Distract yourself when a craving hits. Taking a walk has been shown to reduce the urge to eat treats. Plus, it gets you away from the candy bowl. You know what they say – out of sight, out of mind. And if you don’t feel like taking a stroll, do an activity like giving yourself a pedicure. Pick something fun that rewards you for skipping the sweets.  3. Keep healthy substitutes close by. When you really want something sweet but already ate too much sugar, choose naturally sweet foods like fruits and vegetables. Apples, cherries, bell peppers, carrots and others will give you the taste you want along with the nutrients you need. 4. Eat at consistent intervals. You might have heard the saying, “You’re not you when you’re hungry.” Well, that’s especially true when choosing foods. If your tummy’s grumbling, you might make unhealthy decisions like reaching for a candy bar instead of a nutritious snack. Eat every three to five hours to keep blood sugar in check and maintain a level head. 5. Power up with protein. Low protein levels can cause you to start craving sugar. Your body wants an energy boost and sugar is a quick source. Plan to get protein throughout the day with foods such as beans, eggs, nuts, fish and lean meats.  Even with moderation, good oral health habits are still essential for avoiding cavities. Clean your teeth and gums after consuming sugar by brushing for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste and flossing. If you aren’t able to sneak away to the bathroom, chew sugar-free gum and drink plenty of water.  

Halloween Strobe Lights — Are They a Horror on the Eyes?

by MikeMeehan 10/27/2016 3:53 PM

What’s a haunted house without strobe lights? You know the scenario. You enter a room thick with smog from a fog machine. Your only source of light is a strobe. Everything looks like it’s in stop motion. A bulky man ahead of you — you can’t make out any of his features, just that he’s coming toward you — he lifts a detoothed chainsaw above his head and lets it growl. Nothing to fear, you tell yourself. It’s detoothed. But what if it isn’t? Now you feel a scream forming in your chest. The stop-motion feel created by a strobe light can really enhance the mood of a haunted house. But what kind of effect does it have on the eyes? Not much, actually. Although two issues may arise. Two Ways Strobe Lights Can Take a Toll Rumors that strobe lights cause astigmatism are nothing more than that: rumors. But strobe lights can cause eye fatigue or, if the strobe light is powerful enough, a corneal surface burn. Eye fatigue Strobe lights can cause eye fatigue, because they distort the way the brain perceives motion. Think of it like a movie. A movie consists of frames, hundreds of thousands of them, moving in quick succession (24 frames per second). The mind can’t take in each frame individually, so it perceives all the frames together as being in motion. A strobe light, however, flashes light at a much slower rate. So it tricks the mind into seeing the world as “individual frames.” While this trickery isn’t necessarily bad for the eyes, it can cause you to focus more intensely, which can strain your eyes. If you’re experiencing eye fatigue, your eyes might: Ache Feel dry Have difficulty focusing Be sensitive to light But eye fatigue, other than being an annoyance, is rarely a serious condition. If you experience it, close your eyes for a few minutes. You might consider covering them with your palms. Corneal Surface Burn Corneal surface burn is more serious than eye fatigue. If the strobe light is more than 150 watts, the amount of lumens it puts out may be enough to damage your eye if you stare at it directly for a long period. Corneal surface burn is like a sunburn on the surface of the eye. When light is too strong or lasts for too long, it heats the colored part of the eye. That part of the eye absorbs the light — that’s why you see a bright spot when you look away — and the eye radiates the heat, which can burn it. Usually, corneal surface burn heals, but it might take a few days. Of course, it’s highly unlikely you’ll stare at the strobe lights directly, much less long enough to cause damage, what with being shuffled through a haunted house. Regardless, a basic rule of thumb is this: If the strobe light hurts your eyes, don’t stare at it. This Halloween, don’t let strobe lights scare you away from some haunted house fun. Just make sure your eyes feel comfortable. After all, some things you can’t unsee.

Leftover Candy Conundrum: What to Do with Extra Halloween Candy

by Noelle Reinhold 10/15/2015 5:22 AM

Once the costumes are tucked away, there always seems to be something scary left at the house.

Piles of candy.

Don’t turn your leftover candy into Halloween hoarding! Here’s how to use every last piece:... more...

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