Best Crackers to Snack on/Did You Know?

a close up of food

Are the ‘Reduced’ Versions All They’re Cracked Up to Be?

Three classic crackers come in two variations of the original—lower fat and lower sodium. But do you have to sacrifice flavor to get the nutritional benefits? Our trained sensory panelists did a blind taste test of the three varieties of Ritz, Triscuits, and Wheat Thins, and we analyzed the nutrition. Here, we recommend the best pick from each brand.

Triscuit Reduced Fat
Tastes similar to the original.
Only slightly lower in calories and fat than the original, but with an extra gram of fiber.
Though you save 100 mg of sodium with Hint of Salt Triscuits, the reduced-fat version is the top-rated cracker in our tests.

Ritz Hint of Salt
Same buttery flavor with the same crisp, flaky texture as the original.
About two-thirds less sodium than the original (30 milligrams vs. 105 milligrams per serving).
Reduced-fat Ritz has more sodium than the original and is noticeably drier and less tender and flaky.

Wheat Thins Hint of Salt
Flavor and texture are very similar to the original.
Big sodium savings: 55 milligrams per serving vs. 200 milligrams in the other two versions.
Reduced-fat Wheat Thins also tastes similar to the original, but sodium savings make Hint of Salt the better pick.

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Did You Know?/Cloudy Pee…Health Information

Cloudy Pee Is Something You Definitely Don’t Want To Ignore

1. You’re not drinking enough water.
Dehydration is a common culprit for cloudy pee, says Ayoub-but drinking more Diet Coke or iced coffee isn’t necessarily going to help you out. You need good old fashioned H20, she says.

That’s because any kind of caffeinated beverage can make dehydration worse. “When we don’t consume enough water, urine becomes more concentrated and crystallized,” says Ayoub. “This will cause irritation in the bladder and can lead to cloudy urine.” It’s recommended that the average adult drink about 70 ounces a day (barring any fluid restrictions for medical reasons, such as heart and kidney diseases), she says.
2. You have a urinary tract infection.
Yes, every woman’s favorite thing-a UTI-can definitely cause your pee to look a bit cloudy. That’s because UTIs happen when bacteria infects any part of the urinary system (your kidneys, bladder, and urethra), but UTIs typically only infect your bladder or urethra, and can be caused by dehydration, constipation, or just not emptying your bladder all the way, says Ayoub.
That bacteria is what makes your pee look opaque: “Urine will sediment, stagnate, and become a milieu for bacteria,” says Ayoub. A UTI can be treated with a round of antibiotics to crush the infection, and it’s definitely a “the-sooner-the-better” type of situation.
3. You have something called vaginitis.
Vaginitis is basically inflammation of the vagina, and it can also bring about murky urine along with abnormal vaginal discharge and an unpleasant odor, plus itching, and possibly even pain during sex, says Ayoub.
Vaginitis can also develop as a result of an allergic reaction to certain irritants and chemicals in personal care products like soaps or perfumed feminine products. If you think you might have vaginitis, see a doc-they’ll likely prescribe you an antibiotic or antifungal medication and things should clear up in a week or two
4. You have a sexually transmitted infection.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like gonorrhea and chlamydia, cause cloudy urine, says Ayoub-especially in the early stages of the infection. “These infections often result in discharge which taints the urine,” she says.
But cloudy urine can show up in more chronic stages of the infections, too: “In the chronic setting, they also cause scar tissue in the urethra which prevents the bladder from emptying and therefore results in cloudy urine,” says Ayoub.
The tricky thing is, you if you’re not paying close attention to your urine and discharge, you might miss an STI-aside from a change in appearance or amount of discharge, many STIs are asymptomatic, she says. Check with your doctor if you notice abnormal discharge, experience any itching or pain along with cloudy urine, and ask for an STI test.
5. You have a kidney stone-or multiple kidney stones.
Kidney stones are literally good for nothing–and those sharp, spiky, painful-to-pass suckers, could be the reason for the fog in your pee.
“When moving, the stones might cause tiny scratches that result in blood in urine which then shows up as cloudiness,” says Ayoub. If the stones contain bacteria, they might bring on a UTI too, which again results in cloudy urine. “Also, if the stones break up, some pieces will make urine look cloudy as well,” she says. There’s literally nothing fun about kidney stones, so check in with your doctor and pray for a swift exit.
6. Your urine might actually have blood in it.
So, yeah, blood is red-but if it shows up microscopically in your urine, it could make your pee look more cloudy than pinkish, says Ayoub.
“Causes of blood in urine include UTIs, kidney and bladder stones, enlarged prostate, and-rarely-urinary tract tumors.” It’s important to note that not every cloudy pee contains blood, she says, but you should get your urine tested and see a urologist to be sure.
7. You have chronic kidney disease.
Just so you know, this one is highly unlikely in an otherwise healthy person, but chronic kidney disease (CKD) is still a possibility with cloudy urine.
CKD is a progressive decline in the kidneys’ ability to perform one of its main functions: filtering metabolic waste products from the blood. “This can lead to the excretion of protein, which makes the urine look cloudy,” says Ayoub. Other symptoms include nausea, fatigue, difficulty breathing, muscle cramps, and yellowing of the skin. The kidney damage is usually permanent, but treatment can help ease progression.
8. You have diabetes.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that develops when your blood glucose (or blood sugar) is too high. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, helps regulate that sugar and use it as energy. But when your body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use it properly, the sugar stays put in the blood instead of going to other cells.
There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 occurs when the body isn’t producing insulin, and Type 2 (the more common of the two) occurs when the body isn’t responding to insulin properly. According to Ayoub, both types 1 and 2 can result in cloudy urine, “as they can cause sugar to appear in the urine when the blood sugar levels are elevated.”

If you’ve had cloudy urine for a while-along with other common diabetes symptoms like urinating often and feeling extremely thirsty-check in with your doctor.’t-want-to-ignore/ar-BBONb3s?li=BBnba9O&ocid=spartandhp

Did You Know?/Information Share

I opened the MSN news this morning and under the title, “50 Weight Loss Breakthroughs” I found these three interesting things.

I thought I would share them. I have never heard these facts or finds.

Learn about a new stomach pump

The Aspire Assist is a tube-like device that runs from inside your stomach to a valve on the outside of your abdomen. Doctors can install it without major surgery: A tube is inserted through a small incision into the stomach. After each meal, you can empty—aspirate—up to 30 percent of your meal into the toilet by opening a valve on the tube. It sounds bizarre, but ‘it works,’ Dr. Aronne says.

Avoid chemical exposure

Studies out of the Children’s Environmental Health Center at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York has found links between everyday chemicals called phthalates and obesity. Phthalates are found in fragrances, vinyl flooring, shower curtains and more. ‘Research has shown that exposure to these everyday chemicals may impair childhood neurodevelopment, but this is the first evidence demonstrating that they may contribute to childhood obesity,’ says the study’s lead author Susan Teitelbaum, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in a news release. ‘This study also further emphasizes the importance of reducing exposure to these chemicals where possible.’ There are other household items that may be causing your weight gain.

An appetite-suppressing pacemaker

The Maestro Rechargeable System is an implantable pacemaker that controls appetite through electrical stimulation. Pulses interrupt hunger signals from the brain to the stomach. And ‘it works even better when supported by a dietitian,’ says Louis J. Aronne, MD, an obesity medicine specialist at The Comprehensive Weight Control Center of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, & Metabolism at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City. A healthy lifestyle program that combined online support from a dietitian with the implant ‘doubled the weight loss we see with this device,’ he says.

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