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What to know about prescription drugs promising weight loss

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Obesity is a major and growing problem around the world, but especially in the U.S., where more than 40% of adults and about 20% of children now meet the criteria for what doctors say has become an intractable chronic disease.

Rates of the disease have soared in recent decades, spurred by the complex interaction of genes that make people more likely to store food as fat, a food system that provides easy and cheap access to processed treats explicitly designed to be overconsumed, and social settings that limit access to healthy options and exercise for many people.

Obesity is linked to scores of health problems that can lead to disability or even death, including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer and joint problems.

Researchers have long looked for medications that can help people lose weight, mostly with disappointing and, in some cases, dangerous results. In recent years, however, drugs designed to help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar levels have had the added effect of paring pounds.

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Ozempic, a Novo Nordisk drug approved to treat diabetes in 2017, skyrocketed in use after celebrities and ordinary people on TikTok reported that their doctors prescribed it “off label” for weight loss. Wegovy, a higher dose version of the same medication, called semaglutide, was approved for weight loss for adults in 2021 and for children aged 12 and older late last year.

Now, a new drug made by Eli Lilly and Co., called tirzepatide, is poised to become the most potent obesity drug on the market, promising users losses of more than 30 to 50 pounds over time. Already approved under the brand name Mounjaro to treat type 2 diabetes, tirzepatide is being considered for fast-track approval as a weight-loss drug based on the results of key trials, with the latest announced on Thursday.

The new study found that patients with diabetes — who find it notoriously difficult to lose weight — could shed about 16% of their body weight, or more than 34 pounds using tirzepatide. An earlier study found that people without diabetes lost up to 22% of their body weight, or more than 50 pounds on the highest dose of the drug.

Tirzepatide and other medications spur weight loss by targeting the metabolic conditions that lead to extra pounds. Here’s what to know about these new prescription drugs that promise weight loss.

What are these new weight loss drugs?

The drugs that have drawn the most attention have been a class of medications that activate a hormone known as GLP-1. They include Ozempic and Wegovy, which are two versions of the same medication, semaglutide.

Tirzepatide targets GLP-1, but also affects a second hormone, called GIP, which developers say contributes to its increased effectiveness. Mounjaro was approved to treat diabetes in May 2022.

The drugs are delivered through once-weekly injections. Users are advised to follow a healthful, reduced-calorie diet and to exercise regularly while using the drugs.

How do Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro work?

The drugs work by mimicking the actions of hormones, found primarily in the gut, that kick in after people eat. The hormones help regulate blood sugar by triggering the pancreas to release insulin, another hormone, and slowing the release of sugar from the liver. People who are overweight or have obesity can become insulin-resistant, which means the body doesn’t respond to insulin properly.

The obesity drugs lower blood sugar and slow down digestion, so people feel full longer. They also affect signals in the brain linked to feelings of fullness and satisfaction, tamping down appetite, food-related thoughts and cravings.

Because people feel full longer, they eat less and lose weight.

How effective are the drugs?

In a trial, adults who took Wegovy saw a weight loss of nearly 35 pounds, or about 15% of their body weight. Adolescents lost about 16% of their body weight.

The latest study of tirzepatide studied the drug in more than 900 patients with diabetes who were overweight or had obesity over nearly 17 months. It showed weight loss of up to 16% of body weight, more than 34 pounds, when using the highest dose of the drug. Patients who received placebo, or dummy injections, lost about 3% of their body weight, or 7 pounds.

An earlier trial of tirzepatide showed weight loss of between about 15% and about 22% of body weight, or about 35 pounds to about 52 pounds, depending on the dose.

The drugs appear effective for chronic weight management over many months. In addition to weight loss, they also reduce health problems associated with obesity, such as high blood sugar and markers of heart and metabolic disease.

However, it appears that if people taking the drugs stop, they regain the weight they lost — and the health problems that came with it.

Why not just diet and exercise?

In a typical weight-loss program where participants rely only on diet and exercise, research shows only about a third of people will lose 5% or more of their body weight, said Dr. Louis Aronne, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Center at Weill Cornell Medicine.

Many people find it difficult to lose weight because of the body’s biological reactions to eating less, he said. There are several hormones that respond to reduced calorie intake by ramping up hunger to maintain body mass.

What are the side effects of the drugs?

The most common side effects are short-lived gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea and stomach pain. Other possible effects include serious issues such as inflammation of the pancreas, kidney, gallbladder and eye problems. People with a history of certain thyroid cancers or a rare, genetic endocrine disorder should avoid the drugs, because it is not clear if tirzepatide causes thyroid problems, including cancer.

How much do these drugs cost?

The new anti-obesity medications are expensive. Wegovy costs about $1,300 a month and Mounjaro starts at about $1,000 a month. People with private insurance may be able to receive the drugs with only a small co-payment. However, many insurers don’t pay for the medications or they have restrictions regarding coverage. Medicare doesn’t cover most weight-loss drugs. Medicaid and the military insurer Tricare may cover them in some cases with prior approval.

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Several Vitamins Recalled Due to Potential Metal Contamination, Including Products Sold at Costco and Walmart

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Several types of vitamins, including some popular brands sold at major retailers like Costco and Walmart, are being recalled due to the possible presence of metal fibers. Health Canada issued three recall statements on Friday, highlighting the affected products and advising consumers on the necessary steps.

Among the brands involved in the recall is Kirkland Signature, a staple at Costco, along with Webber Naturals and other brands sold at multiple retailers across Canada, including Walmart and Shoppers Drug Mart.

The vitamins listed in the recall are:

  • Kirkland Signature: B100 Complex Timed Release
  • Life: Vitamin B Complex with Vitamin C
  • Option+ & Life: Prenatal Multi-vitamins 100 Tablets with Folic Acid, Spectrum Prenatal Postpartum, Multivitamins & Minerals Women, Spectrum Women 22 Vitamins & Minerals plus Lutein, Lycopene
  • Webber Naturals: B50 Complex Timed Release, Most Complete Multi Womens 50+ One Per Day, Most Complete Multi Mens 50+ One Per Day, Vitamin B50 Complex
  • Wellness by London Drugs, Option+ & Life: Multi Women/Femmes 50+ with Lycopene and Lutein Multivitamin and Mineral, Multivitamin & Minerals Women 50+, 50+ SPECTRUM Women/Femmes 50+ 23 Vitamins & Minerals plus Lutein, Lycopene
  • Wellquest, Equate, Option+, Wellness by London Drugs & Life: Vitamin B100 Complex, Timed Release
  • Natural Factors: Hi Potency B Complex, RevitalX, Super Multi® IRON FREE
  • VegiDay Vegan Organic ALL IN ONE: VegiDay Vegan Organic ALL IN ONE

Health Canada advises consumers who have purchased any of the affected products to consult their healthcare provider before discontinuing use and to monitor for any health concerns.

Customers with concerns or questions can contact the recall firm directly. Additionally, any side effects or health product safety complaints should be reported to Health Canada.

For more detailed information, you can access the three Health Canada notices, which are listed under the Factors Group of Nutritional Companies Inc. recall, on the Health Canada website.

This recall serves as a reminder to consumers to stay vigilant about product safety and to follow recall advisories to ensure their health and well-being.

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8 Tips for Incorporating More Fruits into Your Dessert

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Incorporating more fruits into your desserts is not just a way to enhance flavours, but also a smart approach to add nutritional value to your treats. While desserts are often indulged as guilty pleasures, introducing fruits can transform these moments into healthier delights, enriching them with vitamins, minerals, and fibres. Whether you’re a home cook looking to improve your family’s diet or a culinary expert aiming to innovate your menu, adding fruits offers a myriad of benefits. These range from boosting the aesthetic appeal of your dishes with vibrant colours to enhancing the natural sweetness with a lower calorie count.

The tips provided here will help you seamlessly integrate more fruits into your dessert recipes, making them irresistibly wholesome and appealing to all ages. This approach not only caters to the health-conscious consumer but also opens up a palette of fresh, tantalizing flavours that can redefine what dessert means.

Explore Variety

Diversity is key in enriching desserts with fruits. Experiment with different textures and flavours, from berries to tropical fruits. This variety ensures each bite is unique and delightful. Try combining sour cherries with sweet mangoes, or add citrus segments to balance richer desserts. Even blending frozen bananas into a creamy texture can mimic ice cream. Consider adding a double fudge bar frozen dessert to your fruit platter for an indulgent twist.

Use Fresh and Seasonal Fruits

Seasonal fruits offer the best in flavour and nutrition. Incorporate fresh, local produce into your desserts to capture peak tastiness. Fresh strawberries or peaches can elevate simple dishes like ice cream or cakes. Local farmers’ markets are ideal for finding the freshest options. Remember, the closer the fruit is grown to its consumption point, the more nutrients it retains. This approach supports local agriculture as well.

Make Fruit the Star

Create desserts where fruits are the main attraction. Dishes like fruit tarts or berry-packed pavlovas highlight the natural sweetness of fruits, reducing the need for added sugars. Let fruits dictate the dessert’s flavour profile and design, focusing on the natural colours to attract the eye. This strategy can make even simple dishes feel luxurious and crafted with care. Plus, it often leads to lighter, less calorie-dense desserts.

Opt for Healthier Preparations

Instead of always baking or frying, try raw preparations or use healthier cooking methods like grilling or poaching. Grilled pineapple or poached pears offer a delightful texture and are easy to prepare. These methods preserve the integrity and nutritional value of the fruit better than baking or frying. Cooking fruit in this way can also unlock new flavours, enhancing your dessert experience. Try brushing fruit with a little honey or maple syrup before grilling for a caramelized finish.

Experiment with Spices

Spices can enhance the natural flavour of fruits. A dash of cinnamon, cardamom, or vanilla complements fruits like apples and pears beautifully, adding complexity to any dessert. Nutmeg and ginger are also excellent with juicy fruits like peaches and plums. Experimenting with spices can transform a simple fruit dish into an exotic and enticing dessert. Such additions are simple but effective ways to elevate the taste without added sugar.

Incorporate Dried Fruits

Dried fruits are concentrated in flavour and can be a great addition to desserts. Sprinkle raisins, dried cranberries, or chopped dates over oatmeal cookies or mix them into homemade granola bars for a chewy texture. Dried fruits work well in baked goods because they provide a burst of sweetness and texture. They are also perfect for decorating cakes and adding to snack mixes. Be mindful of the sugar content in store-bought dried fruits, opting for unsweetened varieties when available.

Create Colourful Fruit Layers

Layer fruits in parfaits, trifles, or cakes to create visually appealing and delicious desserts. Layers of colourful fruits not only look spectacular, but also offer varied flavours and textures. This layering technique can be applied in smoothie bowls and gelatin desserts for a stunning visual effect. Try to choose fruits that contrast in colour and texture for the most striking presentations. These desserts are particularly appealing to children and can make eating fruit more exciting for them.

Finish with A Healthy Twist

Top off your desserts with a nutritious twist, such as a dollop of Greek yogurt or a sprinkle of nuts and seeds for extra crunch and nutrients. These additions provide a contrast in textures and increase the health benefits of your dessert. Nuts add healthy fats and proteins, making the dessert more satisfying. Consider using a drizzle of natural sweeteners like honey or agave nectar to enhance flavour without resorting to refined sugars. Such finishes not only improve taste but also boost nutritional value, aligning with a healthier lifestyle.

Incorporating fruits into your desserts is an enjoyable way to make your sweet dishes healthier and more flavourful. By using fruits in various forms, from frozen to dried, and employing them in creative ways, such as natural sweeteners or vibrant toppings, you can transform any dessert into a delightful and nutritious treat. So next time you prepare a dessert, remember these tips and enjoy the added benefits of fruits in your culinary creations.

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5 Life-Transforming Tips to Make it More Fun-Filled

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Everyone wants to make the most out of life. From personal life to establishing a successful career, enjoyment is all that people crave the most. But the key to happiness is having fun most of the time. It can be challenging to find time and moments of fun in the routine as life becomes boring and dull for many.

However, you can cultivate your mindset and embrace more pleasure and laughter in your everyday routine. To transform your boring and dull life into a fun-filled one, here are a few tips that you can consider in this blog.

Read on to explore!

 

1.    Start Enjoying Little Moments

The fun doesn’t need to come from an extensive and spectacular event happening around your life all the time. There are so many small moments in your life that can turn into more fun. All you have to do is embrace those little times in your life and be happy.

For example, you can give yourself a little break from a hectic day and enjoy some chocolate. Or you can make time to enjoy things that you like.

 

2.    Be Spontaneous In Life

Just like life becomes unexpected most of the time, you can be a little unpredictable with it as well. To bring fun to your life, you can work on being more open to new and unplanned experiences.

If you get an invitation for any activity, event, or sport, don’t say no to it. Getting to indulge in more social activities will help you create new memories and experience new thrills in life.

 

3.    Bring a Furry Friend in Life

A boring life can easily distance you from fun. To embrace joy in life, having a furry company can do wonders. You can cherish love and warmth and have little moments of joy with a furry one.

If you don’t have a furry companion, you’re majorly missing joy. It’s time for you to look for the best puppy-selling company, such as Fou Fou Puppie’s website, to bring a cute puppy into your life.

 

4.    Practice Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness will help you to live the present to the fullest. As most people worry more about their future, it makes them overlook the current joys of life.

What you can consider best to bring fun to your life is practicing mindfulness for at least 2 minutes. Let go of all the thoughts that pop into your head and focus on the positive aspects of living.

 

5.    Participate More in Fun Activities

There should be no excuse for having fun in life as there are many low-cost fun activities for the community that you can explore to have fun. It can be simple, but it prevents you from living a boring and less-inspiring life.

For example, you can call your group of friends to have coffee together and share more laughter, or you can go to the movies to unwind yourself. These activities will not cost you a fortune and allow you to make the most out of your day, week, and month.

 

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