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Super Bowl Commercials: Can They Help Burn Calories?


Just in time for Super Bowl party planning -- news to help you with your menu, as well as figure out what to do during all those clever ads.

A new  study shows that you can burn more calories if you stand up and walk in place during commercials, instead of just sitting on the couch watching this year's  funny VW commercial in which dogs bark the "Star Wars" Imperial March theme.

And, speaking of calories, if you're planning on serving chicken wings at your Super Bowl party, it's going to cost you more. Their price has shot up to a record high,  Bloomberg News reports.

But first, let's talk waistlines.

A small study at the University of Tennessee suggests that you can burn extra calories while you watch TV if you stand up and walk in place every time a commercial comes on. (No telling how many calories are burned by embarrassment for doing this in front of guests, however.)

The study of 23 adults, ages 18 to 65, found that stepping in place during commercials burned an average 148 calories and resulted in an average 2,111 steps in about 25 minutes, the  L.A. Times reports.

Walking on a treadmill for an hour while watching TV burned an average 304 calories, while -- to no one's surprise -- sitting like a couch potato for an hour burned only 81 calories, about the equivalent of one measly chicken wing.

As for those wings, a staple food for football-watching, they will be the most expensive ever for the Feb. 5 game in Indianapolis.

The wholesale prices for wings are up 52 percent, mainly because fewer chickens are being processed so there are fewer wings to sell, Bloomberg News explains.

Or, as an economist put it, "Chickens only have two wings, so when the supply declines the price will rise because demand is relatively inelastic," said Paul Aho, a broiler industry consultant.

Government figures show wing prices rose to a record $1.79 a pound on Jan. 13, after doubling in six months.

The National Chicken Council says that 1.25 billion wings will be eaten during Super Bowl weekend -- or about 23 percent of the people watching those commercials, oops, I mean the game.

To save a few calories, you might try our  oven-barbecued wing recipe instead of deep-frying the fatty little suckers.

In other health news:

Sudden deafness might be tied to sleep apnea, a new study from Taiwan suggests. Researchers found that slightly more people who experienced a sudden loss of hearing in one ear had previously been diagnosed with sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that interrupts breathing.

A two-drug combo works better at fighting an aggressive form of breast cancer than either drug alone,  Harvard researchers report. The two drugs, Tykerb and Herceptin, used together in women with HER2-positive cancer, boosted the chances of eliminating microscopic signs of early cancer by the time a woman was due to have surgery. Researchers said they observed "a massive improvement" in women's response to the dual-drug approach.

Doctors disagree over giving healthy people statins to prevent heart disease. Critics say that there's no evidence that giving cholesterol-lowering drugs to otherwise healthy people will lead to longer life, and there is some evidence of troublesome side effects, such as diabetes, from statin use. A better idea: Use diet and exercise to lower cholesterol.

The element manganese can neutralize a deadly E. coli toxin, research on mice suggests. The Carnegie Mellon study found that mice given manganese were resistant to the toxin Shiga, which kills 1 million each year, and which caused last year's food-poisoning illness in Germany that left more than 30 dead.

Testing of imported orange juice for a banned fungicide has not turned up any product with dangerous levels of the chemical since Jan. 4, government health regulators said. The safe samples came from Canada, Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica and Belize. No  mention was made of Brazil, which supplies about half the U.S. imports. Testing began last week after trace levels of the chemical were detected in OJ products from Brazil.


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