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Artificial Sweeteners to Blame for Belly Fat?

Artificial Sweeteners Won't Help You Lose Weight
Do you have "belly fat" that no diet or exercise seems to be able to eliminate? Artificial sweeteners, like the ones in diet soda, may be to blame. The problem: our bodies process artificial sugar like the real thing. This means that real or artificial, sugar makes us release insulin, which signals our bodies to store glucose as fat. Research shows that daily diet soda drinkers who suddenly stop drinking the stuff will lose 5 pounds in 6 weeks without making any other changes. Beware of diet foods that are calorie-free and loaded with artificial sweeteners, because they are not actually helping you with your weight loss plan.

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New Strain of Bird Flu Passes Easily from Birds to Humans
The World Health Organization is reporting that the new strain of Bird Flu is more easily transmitted from birds to humans.  Additionally, its ability to infect birds without causing noticeable symptoms makes it particularly hard to track. Scientists say there is little evidence that the strain could spark a global pandemic because, so far, it doesn't easily spread from person to person. Experts still don't know how people are getting infected, but evidence points to live poultry markets.

The Best Ways to Strengthen Your Brain
Have you been making sure that your brain gets a workout? Research, in the relatively new area of brain fitness, has shown that there are ways to actually strengthen and improve our brains. Paul Nassbaum, Ph.D. and author, suggests that weekly exercise three times a week can play a vital role in brain function and longevity. Nassbaum also adds that since the brain is 60 percent fat, and the body can't produce them, we need to make sure to eat the right balance of macronutrients and micronutrients. He suggests adding Omega-3 fish, bright fruits and vegetable to your diet. Other things that can help with brain fitness are learning new things and socializing.

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What If Fast Food Menus Converted Calories into Exercise?
Research has shown that seeing calories listed on a fast food menu is not likely to change the food items you will order. However according to a new study, when the menu lists the amount of exercise required to actually burn off each food's calories, this could cause you to order less calories. The study found that people who ordered off of a fast food menu that listed how many minutes of brisk walking it would take to burn off the calories in the meal, ended up ordering a meal lower in calories compared to those who ordered from a menu with listed calorie counts for the foods.

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Alcohol Could Improve Breast Cancer Survival
Drinking alcohol is considered a risk factor in developing breast cancer. But a surprising new study showed that drinking moderately after a breast cancer diagnosis could actually improve a person's chances for survival. Another benefit to moderate alcohol intake is a reduced risk in cardiovascular disease, a contributor to mortality among breast cancer survivors.

Readers – Do you use artificial sweeteners?  Are you planning to eliminate them from your diet?  Would you be less likely to order fast food items if you knew how much you had to work out to burn the calories? Let us know. Share your thoughts in the comments below. What do you think of these stories? Are there other pieces of health and fitness news you’d like to see us writing about? Leave a comment below, and let us know! Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter @LIVESTRONG_COMFacebookPinterest, and Instagram.

>> Read more of Crissy Van Meter's articles here! <<

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