Question: My 16-year-old watches TV and plays video games all day. His health isn't at risk, it's what all kids his age do. He will take his health more seriously as he gets older. Is this a myth or fact?
Answer: The answer is this is a myth because there was a prospective study in Sweden and they sampled 16-year-olds many years ago, following them over time to see what their heart health was like. As people aged, people who played more video games or watched TV had a higher association of what we call the metabolic syndrome, which is obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and the presence of heart disease.
Question: Energy drinks help me push through activities I need to do. Is this safe?
Answer: This is also a myth. There was a recent report of a young woman that died in the 2012 London marathon. She was an accomplished athlete and was taking a supplement called Jack3d. She thought this would help her push to her record time of 4 hours. She was 25 miles into the 26 mile race and died of cardiac arrest. The autopsy results showed she had elevated amounts of this substance called DMAA. Interestingly, this is a supplement that has been banned in the US, Canada and Australia, but is readily available online. You can order it and it will show up at your door. There were also two military people that died of cardiac arrest and they were taking the same substance. The bottom line is, just because you can order it online doesn't mean it's safe for you.
Question: Myth or fact, all of the press about high fructose corn syrup is just a bunch of hyped nonsense. Sugar is sugar and you will gain weight with it no matter what type you choose.
Answer: This is also a myth. There was a study that looked at volunteers that were injected either glucose or fructose and they underwent brain imaging. It turns out that glucose ingestion resulted in reduced activation in the hypothalimus and the insulin and parts of the brain that activate appetite, motivation and word processing, where as fructose ingestion did not have these effects. So it turns out that there are natural off switches that glucose tends to induce where as fructose does not, which explains why people who eat sweets have a hard time saying no sometimes.