Can drinking a blend of oats, water and lime juice help you lose weight? Here’s what nutritionists think about the ‘oatzempic’ trend.

Yahoo! Life

Can drinking a blend of oats, water and lime juice help you lose weight? Here’s what nutritionists think about the ‘oatzempic’ trend.

Maxine Yeung – April 10, 2024

A bowl of uncooked oats and two glasses of what looks like oat milk.
Experts say “oatzempic” doesn’t offer a balanced or sustainable approach to weight loss. (Getty Images) (izhairguns via Getty Images)

Weight loss drugs continue to gain in popularity, but not everyone who wants them can afford these medications, leaving some people hunting for more cost-effective alternatives. While natural options may seem promising, their effectiveness can be unpredictable. Berberine, for example, has been labeled “nature’s Ozempic,” though it may help more with managing blood sugar levels than aiding in actual weight loss. Meanwhile, psyllium husk — an inexpensive fiber supplement — is sought-after for its ability to temporarily suppress appetite by promoting a sense of fullness, but it’s important to note that fiber alone does not directly cause weight loss.

More recently, there’s been a viral trend involving the consumption of “oatzempic,” a drink crafted from oats, water and lime juice blended together. Its name cleverly references the prescription diabetes medication Ozempic, which is also well known for its weight loss benefits. This trend has gained lots of attention on platforms like TikTok, with claims suggesting it can help individuals shed as much as 40 pounds in two months.

“The oatzempic trend may seem enticing due to its simplicity and potential for rapid weight loss, but it’s essential to approach it with caution,” Vandana Sheth, registered dietitian nutritionist and author of My Indian Table: Quick & Tasty Vegetarian Recipes, tells Yahoo Life. So what are the downsides — as well as any possible benefits — of oatzempic, and can it really help with weight loss? Here’s what experts have to say.

How do you make oatzempic?

To prepare oatzempic, blend a half cup of raw oats, 1 cup of water and the juice of half a lime together until smooth. Drink it on an empty stomach, aiming for one to two servings a day. If you aren’t a fan of the taste, some people add a dash of cinnamon or honey, though the latter will add some calories and sugar.

Why the lime?

It’s unclear why lime juice is a key ingredient, though many suspect it’s primarily for enhancing the flavor of the drink, which has been described as chalky. Plus, lime juice provides a healthy dose of the antioxidant vitamin C.

Despite what some believe, Sheth clarifies, “there’s a misconception that acidic foods like lime juice can aid in fat burning, which is not supported by scientific evidence.” Dr. Amy Lee, head of nutrition for Nucific, tells Yahoo Life that a stomach’s acidity is greater than that of the fruit anyway.

What are the benefits?

Oatzempic’s benefits have been touted by people on social media trying it out for a 40-day challenge, but its impact on health hasn’t actually been researched. That said, oats alone boast many health advantages: They contain antioxidants and are linked with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, lower cholesterol and better blood sugar control. Research also shows potential for oats to help with regulating appetite and maintaining weight.

In just half a cup of oats, there are 5 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Oats are an excellent source of soluble fiber, particularly beta-glucan, which helps slow digestion, moves food and waste through the gut and promotes regular bowel movements.

Does oatzempic help with weight loss?

Substituting a meal with oatzempic can support weight loss efforts. However, as Julie Pace, functional dietitian and founder of Core Nutrition Health and Wellness, tells Yahoo Life: “It’s important to understand that this weight loss is primarily due to calorie restriction rather than any unique properties of oatzempic’s ingredients.” With just about 150 calories in a half cup of oats, oatzempic is low-calorie. Its fiber content may also promote a feeling of fullness, leading to less overall eating during the day.

Experts advise embracing this trend with caution since oatzempic does not offer a balanced or sustainable approach to weight loss. “Simply substituting high-calorie meals with low-calorie shakes may result in quick weight loss,” Sheth explains, “but without sustainable lifestyle changes, it may lead to health complications and weight regain once regular eating habits resume.”

Lee agrees: “I don’t think it is a long-term solution. Changing just one meal and its composition is a good start, but overall, one has to be mindful of the rest of the day as well.”

What are the downsides?

Pace says that oatzempic “encourages an unhealthy, unsustainable and restrictive approach to weight loss that is not supportive of overall health and well-being. Sustainable weight management involves making gradual, sustainable changes to diet and lifestyle rather than relying on quick fixes or extreme measures.”

Sheth warns that “rapid weight loss through extreme measures can lead to health complications such as nutrient deficiencies, loss of lean muscle tissue, hair loss and hormonal imbalances.” Not only are trends like oatzempic restrictive, especially if done for an extended amount of time, but they also risk promoting disordered eating habits.

While some people recommend using oatzempic as a meal replacement, experts point out it doesn’t contain nearly enough calories, protein or fat to be considered an equal swap. Generally for meals, you want to aim for about 15 to 30 grams of protein and at least twice as many calories as what’s found in a single serving of oatzempic.

“I do see some people adding protein powder and altering it by squeezing in some good oils,” says Lee. However, these additions change the simplicity of oatzempic and resemble more of a balanced breakfast.

Final takeaways

“If one is trying to just feel full in the morning to start their day strong, there are definitely other ways to do so,” says Lee. Instead of drinking oatzempic, aim for a satisfying breakfast of oatmeal, including fruit, seeds (hemp, chia and flax) and nuts (walnuts, almonds) for added protein, fiber and fat. If you prefer the drink version, consider swapping in milk for water or adding nut butter.

Although drinking oatzempic may increase fiber and water intake, experts agree that prioritizing overall health and wellness with sustainable habits is best if weight loss is your goal, and they note that weight loss alone doesn’t always mean improved health.

Maxine Yeung is a dietitian and board-certified health and wellness coach.

25% of U.S. adults say they drink 1 or 2 glasses of water a day — and 8% rarely or never drink it, Yahoo/YouGov poll finds. Here’s how to sneak more hydration into your day.

Yahoo! Life

25% of U.S. adults say they drink 1 or 2 glasses of water a day — and 8% rarely or never drink it, Yahoo/YouGov poll finds. Here’s how to sneak more hydration into your day.

Kerry Justich, Health and Wellness Writer – April 18, 2024

How much water should you be drinking a day? (Getty Images)
How much water should you be drinking a day? (Getty Images) (fizkes via Getty Images)

A new Yahoo News/YouGov poll has revealed that many Americans are coming up short in hydration. The survey of 1,746 U.S. adults, conducted from April 11 to April 15, found that 8% say they rarely or never drink water, while 25% are drinking just one to two glasses of water a day. The overwhelming majority of respondents (66%) reported drinking three or more glasses a day.

Is that enough? According to Edwina Clark, a registered dietitian, certified specialist in sports dietetics and owner of Edwina Clark Nutrition, the answer is no. Clark tells Yahoo Life that she’s “concerned” about the 8% of Americans who are getting very little water intake, especially given the popularity of sugary beverages.

How can people who are skimping on their water consumption make sure they’re still getting hydrated — and what’s the ideal water intake we should all be getting? Experts share their recommendations.

How much water should you drink a day?

According to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), the daily recommendation for water consumption is nine glasses a day for women, totaling 2.2 liters assuming a standard 8-ounce cup size, and 13 glasses, or 3 liters, for men. These guidelines account for “fluid intake from beverages including water, tea, broth and milk,” says Clark. “Food typically provides another 0.5 to 1 liter of fluid intake per day on top of water from beverages.”

But water needs, she adds, can “vary widely depending on age, activity level, size, climate or season, and illness.” People might also need more than what’s been recommended by the NAM when considering water loss through factors like sweat.

“Fluid intake is particularly important before, during and after exercise to combat sweat-related losses,” says Clark. “Some people may need a sports drink during and after exercise to replace electrolytes lost through sweat as well as fluid. However, this is largely dependent on exercise intensity, duration and ambient temperature.”

What are people drinking instead?

Of the 8% of poll respondents who report rarely or never drinking water on a daily basis, 38% indicated that soda is their preferred beverage. Clark says that this is cause for concern.

“While soda may not increase fluid depletion [meaning it won’t contribute to dehydration], drinking sugar-sweetened beverages on a consistent basis is associated with a raft of health problems, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, cardiovascular disease and tooth decay,” she says.

Clark adds that while “the occasional sweetened drink is fine for most,” consistently opting for it over water could pose problems.

The second-most-popular drink among this group was tea, preferred by 21%, which Clark says is a good alternative to water if unsweetened. The 15% who go for coffee, however, could have trouble staying hydrated depending on the amount of caffeine they drink over a day.

“Low to moderate caffeine consumption has not been shown to impact fluid balance,” she says, noting that a 16-ounce Starbucks cold brew won’t leave an average-size adult dehydrated. A 2017 study indicates that higher caffeine intake, amounting to four or more coffees a day, could lead to a diuretic effect.

How can you tell if you’re hydrated?

Ingesting fluids is important for maintaining a good blood pressure, heart rate and electrolyte balance, according to Dr. Amber Robins, a family and lifestyle medicine practitioner at Rochester Regional Health. She tells Yahoo Life that the easiest way to determine if you’re hydrated is taking a look at your urine.

“Having clear urine can mean that you have an adequate amount of fluid intake,” she says. “If your urine is darker in color, this likely means that you are dehydrated.”

Simple ways to increase water intake

If you notice that you might be dehydrated, Clark suggests the following to amp up your fluid intake:

Have water within reach. Keep a large water bottle on your desk, in your gym bag, etc. and sip frequently throughout the day. The more visible water is, the more likely you are to stay hydrated.

Make it fun. Add fruit wedges and herbs to water to make it more appealing; some have even credited the “sexy water” trend with spurring them to sip. If you’re not a water lover, unsweetened tea and sparkling water are good alternatives without added sugar.

Eat your fruits and veggies. Water-rich foods like fruit and veggies can contribute up to 20% of your fluid intake. Make sure you get at least three servings of veggies and two servings of fruit a day to help top off your water tank. Cucumber, iceberg lettuce, bell peppers, watermelon, radishes, tomatoes, spinach and berries are more than 90% water.

Watch out for water depleters like alcohol. Alcohol will make you lose fluids more quickly, which is why bathrooms at bars often have a line.

Other ways to start would be to make a goal of drinking water before each meal or once you wake up in the morning, according to Robins. Clark adds: “People generally wake up dehydrated after consuming little or no fluid overnight, so starting your day with a big glass of water is generally a good idea.”

Many of us turn to food for comfort. But when does emotional eating become an issue?

Yahoo! Life

Many of us turn to food for comfort. But when does emotional eating become an issue?

Ashley Broadwater – April 18, 2024

How to determine and break emotional eating habits. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Getty Images)
How to determine and break emotional eating habits. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Getty Images)

When Sam Thomas, a writer, speaker and mental health campaigner, was 11 years old, he experienced homophobic bullying at school. To escape the bullies, he would hide in the bathroom and eat the food in his lunchbox. “It was a sanctuary, as it was the only place I knew I wouldn’t be found,” he tells Yahoo Life.

This common and understandable behavior — emotional eating — was a source of comfort for him, and it didn’t end when he left school. Instability in his home life as a child and teen contributed to Thomas’s eating habits and difficult relationship with food. “It helped fill a void that felt like numbness or emptiness,” he explains.

He’s far from alone in that experience. In fact, about 75% of eating is emotionally driven, according to psychologist Susan Albers from the Cleveland Clinic, a nonprofit academic medical center. But Thomas’s experience is reflective of a more significant issue when the quest to become emotionally satiated by food leads to a cycle of shame and guilt, while underlying anxiety or stress remains.

What is emotional eating?

In a nutshell, emotional eating is using food to soothe, numb or cope with (usually difficult) feelings. “The emotional connection that we have to food exists every time we eat, even when we’re eating primarily because we’re hungry,” Christine Byrne, a registered dietitian and the owner of Ruby Oak Nutrition in Raleigh, N.C., tells Yahoo Life. Emotional eating, however, isn’t motivated by hunger. Instead, it is “the act of using food to cope with various feelings you’re experiencing,” she explains. Like turning to McDonald’s to soothe, distract or calm the mind and body after a stressful work day, rather than to feel satiated.

Emotional eating isn’t defined as an eating disorder, according to Healthline. However, it is a pattern of disordered eating that is heavily tied to mental health.

According to Byrne, “it’s tough to say definitively what the signs of emotional eating are, since the same behavior can either be healthy or maladaptive depending on the intention behind it, the intensity of it and how often you engage in it.”

However, some signs of maladaptive (or disordered) eating she encourages folks to look out for include:

  • Frequently eating because of feelings (such as boredom, sadness, loneliness, stress, happiness) instead of hunger
  • When eating is the only way you know how to deal with uncomfortable feelings
  • Frequently eating until you’re uncomfortably full as a way to numb or escape feelings
Why does emotional eating happen?

The connection between food and emotions has been evidenced through culture and science. “As humans, one way we connect and soothe from infancy is through food,” Rachel Heinemann, a therapist who specializes in eating disorders, tells Yahoo Life. “We build community over joint meals, we comfort those who are grieving with food and we welcome new neighbors with food.”

A study in the International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science also helps to explain the phenomenon of emotional eating, as it points out that sweet, high-calorie foods are often what people crave when experiencing a spike in cortisol from stress. These foods are linked to the release of serotonin, which can boost mood.

Thomas’s go-to foods when he was feeling depressed, for example, were cookies and chips (although he says he’d eat anything he could find in an effort to relieve emotional discomfort). This habit was also informed by past experiences of his mother rewarding and comforting him with sweets. “I associated certain foods with a whole range of emotions,” he says.

Childhood experiences, like being rewarded with sweets, are a notable cause of emotional eating. Other contributors include social influences, boredom, suppressed emotions and stress. Existing body image issues and restrictive dieting are also risk factors, as any one of these can be an emotional trigger that leads to a specific food craving. It’s not inherently a bad thing; however, feeding those feelings doesn’t always bring the intended result or relief.

In Thomas’s experience, food would provide him a kind of high while eating, to eventually experience what he refers to as a “come down” after the fact, in which the difficult feelings return. This is then paired with the discomfort that can come from mindless eating or eating beyond fullness. Breona O’Brien, a licensed mental health counselor with Mindoula, says that that aftermath can perpetuate a negative cycle with body image as well.

“This overeating can lead to weight gain and a feeling of a loss of control. These two things then lead to more negative thoughts about their bodies and can lead to more emotional eating,” she tells Yahoo Life.

When determining events and triggers that lead to emotional eating, it’s important to address the frequency in which it happens. “Frequent emotional eating can be an indication that there is something going on in your life, family, job [or] living environment that is making you distressed,” says O’Brien, “and no one deserves to live in a constant state of discomfort.”

Addressing the root issues

Mindfulness is key to addressing emotional eating and its causes, according to O’Brien. She says it’s important to take a moment to reflect on the messages that our bodies and brains are sending us when it comes to food. This would allow an individual to come to understand if they’re reaching for food because they’re actually hungry or if there’s an emotional reaction at play.

Mount Sinai offers a guide that suggests observing eating patterns and how they relate to certain feelings, situations or places; as well as working on developing new coping skills to handle those moments. This might include reading a book, talking to friends or going for a walk, for example, rather than heading to the pantry.

This isn’t to say that people should emotionally detach from food, or that all emotional eating is inherently a bad thing. (In fact, Heinemann emphasizes that food is meant to be a way for people to “connect, soothe and enjoy.”) These interventions, however, may be more helpful — or are at least other options you can turn to.

Other helpful tactics include eating slowly, planning ahead so that you’re not in a situation that feels urgent and working with a professional to avoid further discomfort, body image issues and the threat of an eating disorder.

Seeking therapy is ultimately what helped Thomas. “Having had trauma therapy, I realized my addictions had been with me since a very young age,” he says. “Therapy sessions enabled me to recognize the pattern [of my emotional eating] and find ways to break it.”

Thomas has found that activities such as going to the gym and writing in a journal also help him meet his emotional needs. To say that he hasn’t turned to food for comfort since wouldn’t be accurate. However, he has “a much healthier relationship with food” after ridding himself of guilt and shame surrounding it.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder please visit the National Eating Disorders (NEDA) website at for more information.

‘Miracle’ weight-loss drugs could have reduced health disparities. Instead they got worse

Los Angeles Times

‘Miracle’ weight-loss drugs could have reduced health disparities. Instead they got worse

Karen Kaplan – April 16, 2024

Donna Cooper holds up a dose of Wegovy, a drug used for weight loss.
Wegovy is part of a new generation of weight-loss medications that made some doctors optimistic about reversing longstanding racial and ethnic disparities in obesity. So far, the pricey drugs seem to have made those disparities worse. (Amanda Andrade-Rhoades / Associated Press)

For the record:
9:10 p.m. April 15, 2024An earlier version of this article misspelled the name of Dr. Serena Jingchuan Guo of the University of Florida as Jigchuan.

The American Heart Assn. calls them “game changers.”

Oprah Winfrey says they’re “a gift.”

Science magazine anointed them the “2023 Breakthrough of the Year.”

Americans are most familiar with their brand names: Ozempic, Wegovy, Mounjaro, Zepbound. They are the medications that have revolutionized weight loss and raised the possibility of reversing the country’s obesity crisis.

Obesity — like so many diseases — disproportionately affects people in racial and ethnic groups that have been marginalized by the U.S. healthcare system. A class of drugs that succeeds where so many others have failed would seem to be a powerful tool for closing the gap.

Instead, doctors who treat obesity, and the serious health risks that come with it, fear the medications are making this health disparity worse.

“These patients have a higher burden of disease, and they’re less likely to get the medicine that can save their lives,” said Dr. Lauren Eberly, a cardiologist and health services researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. “I feel like if a group of patients has a disproportionate burden, they should have increased access to these medicines.”

Why don’t they? Experts say there are a multitude of reasons, but the primary one is cost.

The injectable drug Ozempic sparked a revolution in obesity care.
The injectable drug Ozempic sparked a revolution in obesity care. (David J. Phillip/Associated Press)

Ozempic, which is approved by the Food and Drug Administration to help people with Type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar and reduce their risk of serious cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks and strokes, has a list price of $968.52 for a 28-day supplyWegovy, a higher dose of the same medicine that’s FDA-approved for weight loss in people with obesity or who are overweight and have a weight-related condition such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, goes for $1,349.02 every four weeks.

Mounjaro is a similar drug approved by the FDA to improve blood sugar levels in Type 2 diabetes patients, and it comes with a list price of $1,069.08 for 28 days of medicineZepbound, a version of the same drug approved for weight loss, has a slightly lower price tag of $1,059.87 per 28 days. For now, at least, all the new drugs are meant to be taken indefinitely.

Read more: The new beauty regimen: Lose weight with Ozempic, tighten up with cosmetic surgery

Few health insurance programs cover the medications when prescribed to help people reach and maintain a healthy weight. Federal law requires that weight loss drugs be excluded from basic coverage in Medicare Part D plans, and as of early 2023, only 10 states included an antiobesity medication in the formularies for their Medicaid programs.

“If everybody had equal access, then this would be a way to help,” said Dr. Rocio Pereira, chief of endocrinology at Denver Health. “But without equal access — which is what we have now — it’s likely this is going to increase the disparity we see.”

U.S. obesity rates have been rising for decades, and they’re consistently higher for Black and Latino Americans. Among adults 20 and older, 49.9% of Black Americans and 45.6% of Hispanic Americans have a body mass index of 30 or greater, compared with 41.1% of white American adults and 16.1% of Asian American adults, according to age-adjusted data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Obesity rates are also associated with income. In 2022, the age-adjusted rate was 38.4% for adults with household incomes between $15,000 and $24,999, compared with 34.1% for those with household incomes of $75,000 or more.

The two are related, said Pereira, who studies health disparities in diseases related to obesity. Black and Latino Americans are more likely to live in lower-income neighborhoods, where fast food is usually cheaper and more convenient than grocery stores.

“If you look at a map of the U.S. and plot out the neighborhoods where there’s no grocery store within a mile and there’s a high percentage of people who have no car, those are the areas where there’s the highest rates of obesity,” she said.

There’s also the time factor, she said: “Can you afford to cook your own meals, or do you have to work two jobs?”

An unusual experiment by the Department of Housing and Urban Development demonstrated the degree to which physical surroundings can influence obesity risk, Pereira said. In the 1990s, hundreds of mothers who were living in public housing were offered housing vouchers they could use only in wealthier neighborhoods. Ten to 15 years later, the women randomly assigned to receive the windfall had significantly lower rates of severe obesity (14.4%) than women in a control group who weren’t offered vouchers (17.7%). They were also less likely to have a body mass index of 35 or higher (31.1% vs. 35.5%).

Two obese women talk in New York.
Two women talk in New York. (Mark Lennihan / Associated Press)

The American Medical Assn. recognized obesity as a disease in 2013. People with the chronic condition are at heightened risk of cardiovascular diseaseType 2 diabetes, 13 types of cancer, osteoarthritis, asthma and other health problems. Researchers have pegged the annual medical costs associated with obesity at $174 billion in the U.S. alone.

Some people with obesity are able to lose weight by changing their diets and burning more calories through exercise. But that doesn’t work for people who have developed resistance to leptin, a hormone that suppresses appetite.

“If you try to lose weight with diet and exercise, your body is going to fight you,” said Dr. Caroline Apovian, co-director of the Center for Weight Management and Wellness at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “Your leptin levels go down, and when leptin goes down, a signal goes to the brain that you don’t have enough fat to survive.” That prompts the release of another hormone, ghrelin, that triggers feelings of hunger.

Read more: Ozempic overdose? Poison control experts explain why thousands OD’d this year

Leptin resistance also makes exercise less worthwhile.

“Your body fights you by decreasing your total energy expenditure,” Apovian said. “When your muscles work, they work more efficiently. If you want to lose 10 pounds, you’re going to get really, really hungry. And you can’t fight that. Your body thinks it’s starving to death.”

The “breakthrough” drugs counteract this by impersonating a hormone called glucagon-like peptide 1, or GLP-1, that’s involved in appetite regulation. Inside cells, the drugs bind with the same receptors as GLP-1, reducing blood sugar and slowing digestion. They also last longer than their natural counterparts.

Oprah Winfrey walks onstage during the 55th NAACP Image Awards in March
Oprah Winfrey credits the new generation of medications for helping her keep her weight under control. (Chris Pizzello / Associated Press)

The first so-called GLP-1 receptor agonist was approved in 2005 to treat diabetes, and early versions had to be injected once or twice a day. Ozempic improved on this by requiring an injection only once a week. After clinical trials showed that the drug helped people with obesity achieve substantial, sustainable weight loss, the FDA approved Wegovy as a weight management drug in 2021.

Mounjaro and Zepbound also mimic GLP-1, along with a related hormone called glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide, or GIP.

Read more: Ozempic rehashed the fierceness of diet culture and body shaming in Latinx culture

Linda Morales credits Ozempic and Mounjaro for helping her lose 100 pounds and drop from a size 22 to a size 14. The 25-year-old instructional aide at Lankershim Elementary School in North Hollywood said she started to become overweight in middle school and carried 293 pounds on her 5-foot, 5-inch frame when she was referred to the Center for Weight Management and Metabolic Health at Cedars-Sinai two years ago.

She is no longer breathless when she climbs stairs, has an easier time when she goes bowling and fits comfortably into the seat on the Harry Potter ride at Universal Studios. Thanks to the medications, she is no longer on a path toward Type 2 diabetes.

Her job with the Los Angeles Unified School District comes with health insurance that covers the pricey drugs and charges her a copay of $30 a month for her Mounjaro prescription. She said she could swing a monthly payment of up to $50, but beyond that she’d have to stop taking the drug and hope the lifestyle changes she’d made would be enough to sustain the weight loss she’s achieved so far.

“It would definitely get hard for me, for sure,” Morales said.

Indeed, even when the drugs are covered by insurance or patients qualify for discounts from pharmaceutical companies, researchers have found that they often remain out of reach.

In one study, Eberly and her colleagues examined insurance claims for nearly 40,000 people who received a prescription for GLP-1 copycats. Patients who had to pay at least $50 a month to fill their prescriptions were 53% less likely to get most of their refills over the course of a year compared to patients whose copayments were less than $10. Even patients whose out-of-pocket costs were between $10 and $50 were 38% less likely to buy the medicine regularly for a full year, the team found.

In another study of insured patients with Type 2 diabetes, those who were Black were 19% less likely to be treated with these drugs than those who were white, while Latino patients were 9% less likely to get them, Eberly and her colleagues reported.

Read more: Forget gym memberships. Employees want Ozempic in their benefits packages

In some parts of the country, Black patients with diabetes are only half as likely as white patients to get GLP-1 drugs, according to research by Dr. Serena Jingchuan Guo at the University of Florida, who studies health disparities in pharmaceutical access. The disparity was greatest in places with the highest overall usage of the medications, including New York, Silicon Valley and south Florida.

“In those places, the drug is actually widening the gap,” she said.

Researchers have spent years documenting racial disparities in the use of effective treatments for obesity, such as bariatric surgery. Newer drugs such as Ozempic simply bring the problem into sharper focus, said Dr. Hamlet Gasoyan, an investigator with the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Value-Based Care Research.

“We get excited every time a new, effective treatment becomes available,” Gasoyan said. “But we should be equally concerned that this new and effective treatment reduces disparities between the haves and have-nots.”

2 foods Michael Pollan always buys organic to reduce his exposure to harmful chemicals


2 foods Michael Pollan always buys organic to reduce his exposure to harmful chemicals

Hilary Brueck – April 15, 2024

  • Michael Pollan has been investigating how US farmers grow plants and raise livestock for 17 years.
  • As a result of what he’s seen, he has changed his diet in a few key ways.
  • When he shops for wheat, bread, and strawberries, he tries to find organic versions.

When Michael Pollan is shopping for his family, he tries to buy organic food.

But he knows that’s not always realistic — and that the word “organic” is not a synonym for healthy or pure. It is mired in agro-politics.

Though organically grown foods tend to be slightly more nutritious and better for the health of the planet, they aren’t always. Organic farming techniques generally also lead to lower yields, meaning farms produce less food, and it’s more expensive to buy.

Still, there are a couple of items Pollan will avoid if organic options aren’t available. That’s largely because the non-organic versions are often so laden with toxic chemicals, he told Business Insider, ahead of the release of his new documentary, “Food, Inc. 2,” which came out April 12.

“I just think it’s a good idea to keep synthetic pesticides out of your diet to the extent you can,” Pollan said. “There are practices in American agriculture that if people really knew about them, they would be outraged.”

strawberry picking
Marcos del Mazo/LightRocket via Getty Images

After roughly 17 years of studying the food industry, Pollan can’t stomach non-organic strawberries anymore. They “are usually grown with some pretty nasty chemicals, soil fumigants and things like that,” he said.

Strawberries, with their delicate, permeable, soft skins have been a staple on the Environmental Working Group’s controversial “Dirty Dozen” list for years because the non-organic versions tend to have some of the highest surface pesticide levels of any fresh fruit or vegetable on the market.

As a result, demand for more organic strawberries has surged in recent years; organic strawberry acreage in California tripled between 2008 and 2019. (But nutrition experts stress there are still plenty of health benefits to eating regular strawberries, and giving a conventional berry a quick rinse in the sink can help reduce your pesticide exposure).

Organic strawberries aren’t grown that differently from conventionals — except when it comes to the fertilizers and weed killers farmers use. Typically, organic strawberries in the US are cultivated without soil fumigants or herbicides.

“In general, organic soils, they don’t get their fertility from chemicals, they get their fertility from compost and manure and things like that,” Pollan said. “Not in every case, but in many cases, they have more nutrients.”

wheat in field
Alain Pitton/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Pollan said he also buys organic flour and bread.

Conventional wheat hasn’t gotten the same bad reputation that strawberries have. It’s not listed on the Dirty Dozen list, in part because it’s not really considered fresh produce, and we don’t tend to eat it raw.

But studies suggest that conventional grains tend to harbor higher levels of cadmium, a toxic metal found in soil, than organic versions. Pollan worries, in particular, about the level of glyphosate that’s in conventional wheat at harvest.

“Wheat farmers have taken to spraying glyphosate on their crops to kill it — it’s a weed killer and plant killer,” he said. “We’re carrying body levels of glyphosate that are much higher than they used to be.”

Scientists are still arguing about whether this trend is worrisome, and some big grainmakers in the US are already phasing out their use of pre-harvest glyphosate, but Pollan is not waiting around.

“They’re taking this toxic pesticide, which has been linked to lymphoma and is banned in many countries, and they’re spraying it on our food right before harvest, very close to the time we’re going to eat it, he said. “It’s a very good argument for buying organic wheat and organic bread.”

Trump Allies Have a Plan to Hurt Biden’s Chances: Elevate Outsider Candidates

The New York Times

Trump Allies Have a Plan to Hurt Biden’s Chances: Elevate Outsider Candidates

Jonathan Swan, Maggie Haberman, Shane Goldmacher and Rebecca Davis O’Brien – April 10, 2024

Two Skyhorse Publishing titles by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a Democrat running for president, in the office of the company’s founder, Tony Lyons, in New York, Aug. 10, 2023. (Jeenah Moon/The New York Times)
Two Skyhorse Publishing titles by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a Democrat running for president, in the office of the company’s founder, Tony Lyons, in New York, Aug. 10, 2023. (Jeenah Moon/The New York Times)

Allies of former President Donald Trump are discussing ways to elevate third-party candidates in battleground states to divert votes away from President Joe Biden, along with other covert tactics to diminish Democratic votes.

They plan to promote independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as a “champion for choice” to give voters for whom abortion is a top issue — and who also don’t like Biden — another option on the ballot, according to one person who is involved in the effort and who, like several others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the plans.

Trump allies also plan to amplify the progressive environmental records of Kennedy and expected Green Party candidate Jill Stein in key states — contrasting their policies against the record-high oil production under Biden that has disappointed some climate activists.

A third parallel effort in Michigan is meant to diminish Democratic turnout in November by amplifying Muslim voters’ concerns about Biden’s support for Israel’s war in the Gaza Strip. Trump allies are discussing running ads in Dearborn, Michigan, and other parts of the state with large Muslim populations that would thank Biden for standing with Israel, according to three people familiar with the effort, which is expected to be led by an outside group unaffiliated with the Trump campaign.

Many of these third-party-boosting efforts will probably be run out of dark-money entities that are loosely supportive of Trump. Both the Trump campaign and the main super political action committee supporting the former president, MAGA Inc., are already aggressively framing Kennedy as a far-left radical to draw potential Democratic voters away from Biden.

Whatever the mechanism, the Trump team’s view is simple and is backed by public and private polling: The more candidates in the race, the better for Trump. Biden’s team agrees. And in a race that could be decided by tens of thousands of votes — as the last two presidential elections have been — even small shifts in the share of votes could change the result.

“There is no question that in a close presidential race, independent or minor party candidates can have a disproportionately large impact,” said Roger Stone, who is Trump’s longest-serving political adviser and who has worked on third-party campaigns, including advising Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s nominee in 2012.

Republican donors are pouring funds into Kennedy’s independent bid for the presidency. He has raised substantially more from donors who previously supported Trump than he has from those who backed Biden. Some are big names in Republican politics who have so far given relatively small amounts, including $3,300 last August from Elizabeth Uihlein, whose family is among the GOP’s biggest contributors.

Timothy Mellon, the largest single donor to Kennedy’s biggest super PAC, is also the largest backer of MAGA Inc. Mellon, a reclusive billionaire from one of America’s wealthiest families, has over the past year given the Kennedy super PAC $20 million and the Trump super PAC $15 million, as of the most recent disclosures that were filed in March. Another prominent Kennedy backer is Patrick Byrne, the former CEO of who worked with Trump on his effort to overturn the 2020 election.

Trump himself is intensely interested in the third-party candidates, according to aides. He is eager to know what their effect is expected to be on the race and how they are polling, although his engagement beyond asking questions of those around him is unclear.

Trump has been worried about the Libertarian Party pulling conservative voters away from him in November. But Richard Grenell, who is the former acting director of national intelligence and who is expected to play a big role in any second Trump administration, has been using his connections with Libertarian activists and donors to try to persuade them to attack Biden more than Trump, according to people familiar with his efforts.

Other Trump supporters are trying to help third-party and independent candidates with the expensive and arduous process of gathering the signatures needed to get on state ballots. Scott Presler, the conservative activist whom Lara Trump said she wanted as an early hire at the Republican National Committee, publicly reached out on social media to Stein and Cornel West, a left-wing academic who is running for president as an independent, to offer his help in collecting signatures to get them on the ballot.

Presler could not be reached for comment.

The moves by Trump allies come as the Democratic Party, alarmed by the potential for third-party candidates to swing the election, has mobilized a team of lawyers to scrutinize outsider candidates, including looking into whether they’ve followed the rules to get on state ballots.

For decades, third-party candidacies have loomed large in U.S. presidential elections. The best known in modern history is Ross Perot, whose run as a billionaire populist independent in 1992 garnered 19% of the vote and helped Bill Clinton win with only 43% of the popular vote. Ralph Nader, a Green Party candidate, siphoned votes away from Vice President Al Gore in the nail-biter 2000 presidential race against George W. Bush.

And in 2016, Stein, as the Green Party candidate, gave a meaningful — and arguably election-deciding — boost to Trump by drawing progressive voters away from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. That year, billionaire businessperson and Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, a supporter of Trump, helped fund efforts to bolster Stein.

Polling shows that third-party candidates could play an especially large role in 2024. Most Americans are unhappy with the choice between Trump and Biden. Voters are increasingly disillusioned with the two major parties, and trust in American institutions has eroded over the past 30 years. Those trends provide an opening for candidates who style themselves as anti-establishment outsiders willing to blow up the system. Trump took advantage of similar conditions in 2016.

In a Quinnipiac University poll in late March, Biden and Trump both received less than 40% of the vote in a hypothetical five-way race, with Kennedy getting 13%, Stein receiving 4% and West capturing 3%.

In the multicandidate race, Trump led by a single percentage point; Biden led Trump by 3 percentage points in a hypothetical head-to-head race.

“The path to victory here is clearly maximizing the reach of these left-wing alternatives,” said Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist who also served as Trump’s campaign chair in 2016.

“No Republican knows that oil production under Biden is higher than ever. But Jill Stein’s people do,” Bannon added. “Stein is furious about the oil drilling. The college kids are furious about it. The more exposure these guys get, the better it is for us.”

Brian Hughes, a spokesperson for Trump, described Kennedy as a “leftist and liberal with a history of supporting an extreme environmental agenda.” He said more broadly of the Democratic push to challenge outsider candidates, “While Joe Biden and his allies claim to defend democracy, they are using financial and legal resources to prevent candidates access to the ballot.”

“President Trump believes any candidate who qualifies for the ballot should be allowed to make their case to America’s voters,” he added.

For months, the Trump team has been privately polling various iterations of third-party tickets in battleground states. It has concluded that candidates floated for the Green Party and No Labels, which recently abandoned its effort to field a presidential candidate, pulled substantially more votes from Biden than from Trump.

A person briefed on other polling by Trump allies said that while it varies by state, Kennedy also pulls more votes from Biden than from Trump. The person cited as an example the Trump team’s recent private polling of voters in Arizona. Trump loses Hispanic voters by a close margin in a head-to-head contest against Biden there, but he wins Hispanic voters on the full ballot in Arizona — an indication that third-party candidates draw more heavily from Biden’s core constituencies than from Trump’s.

Still, Kennedy is seen as more of a potential threat to Trump. He has spent the past few years appearing on conservative news media programs and talking about issues like his fierce opposition to the COVID-19 vaccine. Advisers to Trump say that many Republican voters don’t know anything about Kennedy’s liberal views on gun control and the environment, and the Trump team hopes to bring back some of those voters after framing Kennedy as a liberal Democrat.

Allies of Trump and Biden are in a tug of war to define Kennedy, who has far more support than any other third-party candidate.

Democratic lawyers and operatives, many of whom have privately said that neither Gore nor Hillary Clinton had teams that took third-party candidates seriously enough, are fighting hard to keep Kennedy off the ballot. The Democratic National Committee hired Lis Smith, a veteran communications operative, and tasked her with branding Kennedy as a pro-Trump spoiler candidate.

Kennedy’s campaign and the super PACs backing him have paid an array of lawyers and consultants to secure ballot access. One of the consultants, Rita Palma, was captured in a video detailing a strategy to encourage New York voters to support Kennedy: “The Kennedy voter and the Trump voter, our mutual enemy is Biden.” Palma outlined a hypothetical scenario in which Kennedy would win enough electoral votes to prevent either Trump or Biden from winning 270 electoral votes, pushing the decision to Congress in what is known as a contingent election.

On her account on the social platform X, Palma has expressed support over the years for both Kennedy and Trump. In posts first reported by CNN on Tuesday, she had endorsed Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen and described Sidney Powell, who has pleaded guilty to six misdemeanor counts related to Trump’s efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss in Georgia, as “my person of the decade.”

Stefanie Spear, a spokesperson for the Kennedy campaign, described Palma as “a ballot-access consultant” for upcoming signature collection efforts in New York. Of Palma’s remarks about the hypothetical scenario, Spear said Palma’s statements “in no way reflect the strategy of the Kennedy campaign.”

Spear did not respond to requests for comment about the Trump allies’ efforts to elevate Kennedy, or to inquiries about Palma’s support for Trump’s claims about the 2020 election.

Many conservative news media personalities and influencers recently turned against Kennedy after he decided to run as an independent instead of as a Democrat and it became apparent that he could pull votes from Trump.

Still, one complication with attacking Kennedy is that Trump has made clear that he likes him.

Trump put out a statement on Truth Social, his social media platform, that called Kennedy “a radical-left Democrat,” but he has mostly laid off him otherwise. Trump has called Kennedy a “very smart person” and has even privately floated him as a potential running mate, though his advisers view that prospect as extremely unlikely.

An outside group aligned with Trump asked a question about a Trump-Kennedy ticket in a poll several weeks ago, according to a person with knowledge of the survey. The results were not particularly striking. Trump had told an ally that he believed Kennedy could help him with voters who were upset with him for his support of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I like Trump-Kennedy. I like the way that sounds,” Trump told another ally recently. “There’s something about that that I like.”

Inflation comes in hotter than expected in March

Yahoo! Finance

Inflation comes in hotter than expected in March

Alexandra Canal, Senior Reporter – April 10, 2024

What March inflation data could inform us about Fed ratesScroll back up to restore default view.

US consumer prices came in hotter than expected in March, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Wednesday morning.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.4% over the previous month and 3.5% over the prior year in March, an acceleration from February’s 3.2% annual gain in prices. The data matched February’s month-over-month increase.

Both measures came in ahead of economist forecasts of a 0.3% monthly increase and a 3.4% annual increase, according to data from Bloomberg.

The hot print complicates the Federal Reserve’s next move on interest rates as the central bank works to bring inflation back down to its 2% target. Fed officials have categorized the path down to 2% as “bumpy.”

Investors now anticipate two 25 basis point cuts this year, down from the six cuts expected at the start of the year, according to updated Bloomberg data.

Read more: What the Fed rate decision means for bank accounts, CDs, loans, and credit cards

On a “core” basis, which strips out the more volatile costs of food and gas, prices in March climbed 0.4% over the prior month and 3.8% over last year — matching February’s data. Both measures were higher than economist expectations of a 0.3% monthly increase and a 3.7% annual gain.

Markets sank following the data’s release, with the 10-year Treasury yield (^TNX) jumping more than 14 basis points to touch above 4.5% for the first time in 2024.

“Today’s crucial CPI print has likely sealed the fate for the June FOMC meeting with a cut now very unlikely,” Seema Shah, chief global strategist at Principal Asset Management, said in reaction to the print. “This marks the third consecutive strong reading and means that the stalled disinflationary narrative can no longer be called a blip.”

“In fact, even if inflation were to cool next month to a more comfortable reading, there is likely sufficient caution within the Fed now to mean that a July cut may also be a stretch, by which point the US election will begin to intrude with Fed decision making,” Shah added.

Ryan Sweet, chief US economist at Oxford Economics, agreed, adding the hotter data may push more policymakers “into the two-rate cut camp.”

“The Fed has a bias toward cutting interest rates this year, but the strength of the labor market and recent gains in inflation are giving the central bank the wiggle room to be patient,” Sweet said. “If the Fed does not cut interest rates in June, then the window could be closed until September because there is little data released between the June and July meetings that could alter the Fed’s calculus.”

“The odds are rising that the Fed cuts rates less than 75 basis points this year,” he predicted.

Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference the Federal Reserve in Washington, Wednesday, March 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference the Federal Reserve in Washington, Wednesday, March 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

But Greg Daco, chief economist at EY, cautioned investors to be patient: “I think we have to be very careful with this idea that it’s a play-by-play process.”

In an interview with Yahoo Finance, he noted that “these types of readings do still point to disinflationary pressures. It’s still moving in the right direction, and it will take time.”

Following the data’s release, markets were pricing in an 80% chance the Federal Reserve holds rates steady at its June meeting, according to data from the CME FedWatch Tool. That’s up from a roughly 40% chance the day prior.

Investors are also putting the probability that the central bank won’t cut rates in July at higher than 50%, with markets now largely anticipating the first cut will come in September.

Shelter, gas prices remain sticky

Notable call-outs from the inflation print include the shelter index, which rose 5.7% on an unadjusted, annual basis and 0.4% month over month, matching February. The shelter index accounted for over 60% of the total 12-month increase in core prices.

Sticky shelter inflation is largely to blame for higher core inflation readings, according to economists.

The index for rent and owners’ equivalent rent (OER) each rose 0.4% on a monthly basis. Owners’ equivalent rent is the hypothetical rent a homeowner would pay for the same property. In February, the index for rent rose 0.5% while OER increased 0.4%.

Energy prices — largely to blame for the increase in headline inflation — continued to rise in March, buoyed by higher gas prices. The index jumped another 1.1% last month after rising 2.3% in February. On a yearly basis, the index climbed 2.1%.

Gas prices increased 1.7% from February to March after rising 3.8% the previous month.

The BLS noted the motor vehicle insurance index rose 2.6% in March, following a 0.9% increase in February. The index for apparel increased 0.7% over the month. Other indexes that rose in March included personal care, education, and household furnishings and operations.

The food index increased 2.2% in March over the last year, with food prices rising 0.1% from February to March. The index for food at home held steady over the month.

However, food away from home ticked up 0.3% month over month after rising 0.1% in February.

Six Things to Know About ‘Forever Chemicals’

The New York Times

Six Things to Know About ‘Forever Chemicals’

Lisa Friedman – April 10, 2024

PFAS is everywhere, including drinking water. A researcher pouring a water sample.

Almost half the tap water in the United States contains PFAS, a class of chemicals linked to serious health problems. On Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that, for the first time, municipal utilities will have to detect and remove PFAS from drinking water.

Here’s what you need to know.

What are PFAS?

In 1938 a young chemist working on refrigerants for Dupont accidentally discovered a new compound that was remarkably resistant to water and grease, a finding that would lead to the creation of the Teflon brand of nonstick cookware.

Today there are nearly 15,000 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, which collectively go by the acronym PFAS, according to a database maintained by the EPA.

The common link is that they have a special bond of carbon and fluoride atoms, making them incredibly strong and resistant to heat, water, oil and dirt. For that reason, PFAS is used for everyday items as varied as microwave popcorn bags, water-repellent clothing and stain-resistant carpets. PFAS are also in firefighting foam, cosmetics, shampoos, toys and even dental floss.

Where are PFAS?

Everywhere, including drinking water. The indestructible nature that makes PFAS useful in some products also makes them harmful. The chemicals are virtually indestructible and do not fully degrade, accumulating in the environment and the human body.

The chemicals are so ubiquitous that they can be found in the blood of almost every person in the country. One recent government study detected PFAS chemicals in nearly half the nation’s tap water. A global study of more than 45,000 water samples around the world found that about 31% of tested groundwater samples that weren’t near any obvious source of contamination had PFAS levels considered harmful to human health.

What does PFAS do to the body?

According to the EPA, exposure to PFAS can cause damage to the liver and immune system and also has been linked to low birth weight, birth defects and developmental delays as well as increased risk of some prostate, kidney and testicular cancers. New research published in the past year found links between PFAS exposure and a delay in the onset of puberty in girls, leading to a higher incidence of breast cancer, renal disease and thyroid disease; a decrease in bone density in teenagers, potentially leading to osteoporosis; and an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes in women.

Why didn’t the EPA regulate PFAS in water sooner?

Many environmental advocates argue that PFAS contamination should have been dealt with long ago.

“For generations, PFAS chemicals slid off every federal environmental law like a fried egg off a Teflon pan,” said Ken Cook, president and co-founder of the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit advocacy group.

Activists blame chemical companies, which for decades hid evidence of the dangers of PFAS, according to lawsuits and a peer-reviewed study, published in the Annals of Global Health, of previously secret industry documents.

The new EPA rule requires utilities to reduce PFAS in drinking water to near-zero levels.

How can I get rid of PFAS?

Not easily. In homes, filters attached to faucets or in pitchers generally do not remove PFAS substances. Under-sink reverse-osmosis systems have been shown to remove most but not all PFAS in studies performed by scientists at Duke University and North Carolina State University.

Municipal water systems can install one of several technologies including carbon filtration or a reverse-osmosis water filters that can reduce levels of the chemicals.

Now that limits have been set, when will PFAS disappear from tap water?

It could take years. Under the rule, a water system has three years to monitor and report its PFAS levels. Then, if the levels exceed the EPA’s new standard, the utility will have another two years to purchase and install filtration technology.

But trade groups and local governments are expected to mount legal challenges against the regulation, potentially delaying it even before a court makes a final ruling. And if former President Donald Trump were to retake the White House in November, his administration could also reverse or weaken the rule.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death for Americans. Here are 11 ways to reduce your risk.

Yahoo! Life

Cancer is the second leading cause of death for Americans. Here are 11 ways to reduce your risk.

Priscilla Blossom – March 1, 2024

Experts share ways to reduce your cancer risk. (Getty Images)
Experts share ways to reduce your cancer risk. (Getty Images) (ljubaphoto via Getty Images)

Chances are you or someone you know has been affected by one of the many types of cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is the second leading cause of death for Americans, and projections from the American Cancer Society show there will be more than 2 million new cancer cases in the U.S. this year.

What’s more, a recent government-funded study of 17 National Cancer Institute registries shows cancer is on the rise among younger Americans, particularly women (who saw a 4.4% increase), Hispanic and Asian or Pacific Islander populations. The research also shows that gastrointestinal (GI) cancers are the fastest-growing type of cancer among younger people.

That said, it’s important to understand that many cancers are known as “preventable cancers” and that very few (up to 10%) of cancers are inherited. “Cancers that are preventable are ones that we can take adequate steps to reduce the risk,” Heather Thompson Mackey, a nurse and senior director of cancer prevention for the Prevent Cancer Foundation, tells Yahoo Life.

While certain immutable factors — such as race, age or genetic predisposition — can influence cancer diagnosis and survival rates, there are lifestyle changes that can improve one’s chances. “About 40% of cancers overall can be related to modifiable risk factors,” Mackey says. Here, she and other experts share ways to cut one’s risk.

Cut alcohol consumption

As the CDC notes, drinking alcohol is associated with an increased risk of getting a number of different types of cancer, including liver, prostate and pancreatic. “It’s best for cancer prevention to not drink at all,” says Mackey. However, she acknowledges that if people do drink, they should stick to no more than one drink (for women) or two (for men) per day.

Don’t smoke

According to the CDC, cigarette smoking is the No. 1 risk factor for lung cancer, with statistics showing that smokers are 15 to 30 times more likely to develop or die from lung cancer than non-smokers. But it’s not just lung cancer smokers should worry about.

“There are multiple other cancers that smoking impacts,” Dr. Andrew Hertler, an oncologist and chief medical officer for Evolent, tells Yahoo Life. “Everything from bladder cancer, to cancer of the head and neck region, to esophageal cancer and pancreatic cancer.” (For tips on quitting, look here.)

Know your body

Dr. April Spencer, surgical oncologist and founder of Dr. Spencer’s Global Breast Health and Wellness Center, tells Yahoo Life that people should stay aware of their bodies. Report any changes — such as a mole that’s changed shape or color, a mysterious lump or differences in how the breasts look or feel — to a doctor.

Practice safe sun exposure

While too much UV radiation is associated with increased risk of skin cancer, there are benefits to soaking up the sun — safely, oncologist Dr. Katie Deming tells Yahoo Life. “Vitamin D deficiency is correlated with certain types of cancer, including breast cancer,” says Deming, who recommends the Dminder app for calculating the optimal amount of sun you need. “Safe sun exposure is the best way to boost vitamin D levels.”

To stay safe and avoid burning, Mackey advises wearing sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher whenever outside and avoiding intense periods of sun exposure between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Stay up-to-date on vaccinations

Certain vaccines can help reduce your risk of certain cancers. “Over 90% of cases of cervical cancer are associated with HPV [human papillomavirus], and so HPV vaccination has been a game-changer,” says Mackey. She also recommends making sure you have a hepatitis B vaccine. This vaccine has been named the first “anti-cancer” vaccine by the FDA as it can prevent chronic hepatitis B infections, which help prevent liver cancers caused by the virus.

Eat a healthy diet

It sounds simple, but putting nutrition first can help. “Increase the intake of fruits and vegetables, and reduce the intake of red meat and processed foods and beverages high in sugar,” says Spencer.

Additionally, Mackey suggests avoiding lots of cured or smoked meats due to the ways in which they are processed, which increases your exposure to carcinogens.

Document your family medical history

“Knowing your family history, sharing it with your primary care doctor and determining if you’re someone who should undergo more aggressive screening or genetic testing is very important,” Hertler says. For example, if there’s a history of colon cancer in your family, it’s worth talking to your doctor about getting a colonoscopy before the recommended age of 45 and learning about other preventative measures.

“It’s important to know the types of cancer, and at what age those family members were diagnosed,” says Mackey. “Have that conversation with your doctor, even starting in your 20s.”

For those with a known history of cancer in the family, it’s also important to have conversations about which cancers you might be at risk for. While Hertler says he doesn’t always recommend genetic testing, which can help evaluate an individual’s cancer risk, there are algorithms doctors can use that help estimate a patient’s particular risk and whether or not it’s worth moving forward with genetic testing.

Additionally, prophylactic surgeries — in which an organ or gland is removed before any signs of cancer appear, such as a preventative mastectomy to get ahead of breast cancer — can decrease your odds of developing those particular cancers to about 99%. However, Hetler warns it’s not something that is always recommended and that it isn’t something to go into lightly.

“All of these are tough procedures for patients to go through psychologically and physically, and the alternative is always very aggressive screening programs,” he explains. “I’d emphasize that it’s always an individual decision as to whether to have prophylactic surgery.”

Stay active

A sedentary lifestyle is associated with an increased risk for various cancers. Meanwhile, research shows that getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day reduces the risk of colorectal, endometrial and postmenopausal breast cancers. The Department of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans also recommends 150 minutes to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, 75 minutes to 100 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, or an equivalent combination each week, along with muscle-strengthening exercises twice a week and balance training to reduce the risk of chronic conditions including cancer. And our experts agree: The more movement, the better.

Release emotional trauma

Our minds matter. “Studies show that children with emotional trauma are at a higher risk of developing cancer and other illnesses later in life,” says Deming. In fact, adverse childhood experiences can increase unhealthy behaviors as well as increase chronic inflammation, which causes wear and tear on the body, leaving it at an increased risk of cancer.

“Working through emotional trauma is one way to mitigate this increased risk of cancer,” she adds. Keeping children safe from adverse childhood experiences is also recommended.

Do your best to avoid pollutants and carcinogens

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) has identified a large number of chemical substances that are known to be human carcinogens, including formaldehyde, soot, coal tar and coal tar pitch, asbestos and aflatoxins. While Hertler notes that “we all are exposed all the time to pollutants and carcinogenic chemicals,” there are ways to limit that exposure. One way is test your home for exposure to radon, asbestos or lead, suggests Mackey.

“We talk a lot about testing for radon to make sure that you don’t have that chemical exposure and increase your risk of lung cancer,” says Mackey. Other things you can do are test for asbestos and lead in your home. Deming also advises checking for contaminants in your local drinking water or using a filtration system. And be mindful of the ingredients included in the products you’re shopping for, adds Spencer. “Only buy personal care products with minimal preservatives and that are free of possible carcinogenic toxins like parabens, BPAs and phthalates,” she says.

Get cancer screenings as recommended

From mammograms to colonoscopies, cancer screenings are essential in preventing the development of more advanced cancers, and in improving survival rates. Age and frequency recommendations vary — from age 21 for Pap smear to detect cervical cancer to age 50 for a prostate exam — and are subject to change given a person’s risk factors. How soon and how often you screen for certain cancers often depends on family history; the earlier your relatives were diagnosed, the more likely your providers will recommend screening at an earlier age.

Why is prevention key?

While there’s never any guarantee that someone won’t get ever get cancer, staying on top of one’s health can achieve better outcomes and make it more likely that, in the event of a diagnosis, the cancer is caught early. “The earlier it’s diagnosed, the greater the overall survival rates,” says Hertler, who has practiced oncology for over 40 years and has seen advancements in the screenings being developed.

Thinking about the rising cancer rates in the U.S. can feel pretty overwhelming, Mackey says, but she stresses the importance of being proactive.

“This is something that can be very frightening, but there’s a lot you can do to really empower yourself to take steps to reduce your cancer risk,” says Mackey. “We may not be able to prevent all types of cancer, but we can live the healthiest life we can … to reduce our risk.”

What to know about the ‘oat-zempic’ weight loss trend growing on social media

Good Morning America

What to know about the ‘oat-zempic’ weight loss trend growing on social media

Jessica Mendoza – April 1, 2024

With the use of drugs like Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro growing in popularity for weight loss, some people are trying to get similar results using a lower-cost and easily accessible option, dry oats.

Experts say this trend does not mimic the way these drugs used for weight loss work and could have negative health impacts.

Anita Soth of California told “Good Morning America” she decided to try a meal replacement drink known as “oat-zempic” in order to lose weight for an upcoming trip.

“I’ve been struggling with my weight loss journey for a little while,” Soth said. “I have a trip in a couple weeks so I needed to lose a little extra pounds, so I just said, ‘I’m going to give it a try.'”

Soth told “GMA” she lost around four pounds in several days by following the “oat-zempic” routine along with intermittent fasting, or time-restricted feeding, where you limit the times during which you eat, typically only in an eight-hour time period.

The meal replacement drink known as “oat-zempic” is made by blending a mix of oats, lime and water with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

PHOTO: A video shared by TikTok user @withlove.renita shows her making an 'oat-zempic' meal replacement drink. (@withlove.renita/TikTok)
PHOTO: A video shared by TikTok user @withlove.renita shows her making an ‘oat-zempic’ meal replacement drink. (@withlove.renita/TikTok)

Brandy Frasier, a mom of three, told “GMA” she has found that combining the drink with low-calorie, high-protein meals each day has helped get her closer to her goal weight.

“I needed a pick-me-up because often when losing weight, it’s very slow. And when you don’t see progress on the scale, you get discouraged,” Frasier said, adding that the weight loss she’s seen has given her “energy back.” “And I’m able to walk longer, my knees are not hurting as much. So hopefully that all will continue.”

Ozempic, Mounjaro and Wegovy and other drugs used for weight loss can cost more than $1,000 a month without insurance coverage.

MORE: Doctor shares warning on dangerous ‘budget Ozempic’ weight loss trend

Both Ozempic and Mounjaro are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat Type 2 diabetes, but some doctors prescribe the medication “off-label” for weight loss, as is permissible by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

PHOTO: An Ozempic injection pen is seen on a kitchen table, Aug. 6, 2023, in Riga, Latvia. (Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images, FILE)
PHOTO: An Ozempic injection pen is seen on a kitchen table, Aug. 6, 2023, in Riga, Latvia. (Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images, FILE)

Wegovy, a medication that contains the same main ingredient as Ozempic, semaglutide, is FDA-approved for weight loss.

In November, the FDA approved Zepbound as a weight loss management treatment for people with obesity, or those who are overweight with at least one related underlying condition, such as high blood pressure — the same prescribing guidance as Wegovy. As a diabetes drug, Zepbound is sold under the brand name Mounjaro, as the two medications contain the same active ingredient, tirzepatide.

The medications work by slowing down movement of food through the stomach and curbing appetite, which can lead to weight loss.

Side effects of the drugs can include severe nausea and constipation.

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When it comes to “oat-zempic” as a substitution for a medication like Ozempic, Maya Feller, a registered dietitian and nutritionist, said people should not be confused.

“It absolutely does not mimic what Ozempic gives you,” Feller said Monday on ‘GMA.” “This is a drink based in oats, water, a squeeze of lime juice and perhaps a dash of cinnamon. It is not a medication and it does not mimic Ozempic.”

Feller noted that oats have important nutritional benefits, but she said, as a whole, the ingredients in the “oat-zempic” drink do not have all the nutritional benefits of a meal.

PHOTO: Stock Photo (Wagner Soares/WS Studio/AdobeStock)
PHOTO: Stock Photo (Wagner Soares/WS Studio/AdobeStock)

Feller said that people should seek the advice of a healthcare provider before starting a meal replacement drink to lose weight.

“If you’re looking for a meal replacement, it needs to be done under clear medical supervision,” she said. “I would not use this because you’re not going to get all the nutrients that your body needs. You’re essentially starving your cells of what they want so they can function optimally. It’s simply not worth it.”

Feller also said she encourages people to think of their “why” when it comes to losing weight and avoid following a crash diet to quickly lose pounds.

“I understand that folks out there really want to engage in weight loss. I get it,” Feller said. “But we have to be thoughtful about how we do it and not go to the extreme.”