11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and fun … 1. The average cost of a wedding stands at $32,213, including $555 for the cake. (Learn more at The Knot) 2. Social Security records erroneously show that 6.5 million people in the United States have reached the age of 112. (Learn more at Associated Press) 3. Barbra, Nanette, Sondra, Elmo and Waldo are on their way to extinction as baby names. (Learn more at Yahoo! Parenting!) 4. The zorro bubble-nest frog, Amsterdam albatross and tropical …

Pants Too Tight? Could Be That Diet Soda

For older adults who think drinking diet soda helps their waistline, this will be hard to swallow: New research suggests that the more you drink of those artificially sweetened beverages, the bigger your belly grows. A new study of adults age 65-plus found that those who drank diet soda daily gained triple the inches of those who never drank it. The study is the latest to find that diet soda doesn’t actually help us diet. Instead, it may have the …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun. 1. A 16th-century German military expert believed that weaponized cats could burn down enemy fortifications. (Learn more at National Geographic) 2. A door handle dispenses hand sanitizer to kill germs in hospitals. (Learn more at Gizmodo) 3. Barbara Walters’s most flirtatious interview took place in 1982 with actor Clint Eastwood. (Learn more at AARP) 4. The rap group Wu-Tang Clan will make one copy of its next recording and hope it sells for millions of dollars. (Learn …

From Hugs to Music: 7 New Ways to Help Your Heart

Yes, we know that eating more veggies, getting more exercise and controlling blood pressure are the most effective ways to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, but new research also points to some simple, surprising ways you can protect your ticker. Give more hugs Hugging doesn’t just feel good – it’s good for you. A 10-second hug once or twice a day lowers blood pressure, says a recent Swedish study, published in the journal Comprehensive Psychology, that looked …

Diet Soda: Zero Calories, But Still Makes You Fat

Regular soda is full of sugar and calories that can make you fat, but what about no-calorie, diet soda? Shouldn’t it help keep you from gaining weight? A growing number of studies say no. In fact, drinking diet soda seems to have the same effect on your waistline as regular sodas, causing weight gain and a craving for more sugar, reports Msnbc.com. A new paper published in Obesity Reviews finds that consuming large amounts of fructose (a type of sugar), artificial sweeteners, and …

Pick Your Packet: Choosing The Best Sugar Substitute

Which is your favorite sweetener packet –white, pink, blue or yellow? That would be white for regular white sugar, pink for saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low), blue for aspartame (Equal), and yellow for sucralose (Splenda) — the most common ones found in restaurants and used in artificially sweetened drinks. The New York Times recently did a roundup of sugar substitutes, a timely topic in light of the fact that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently proposed a ban on super-sized, 32-ounce …