All Sauce from Weekly Gravy:

With sales of electronic cigarettes skyrocketing, Americans remain divided on whether the devices are a boon or a threat to public health. That’s the main finding of a new HealthDay/Harris Poll that surveyed over 2,000 adults on their e-cigarette views. Vaping has long been promoted as a way to help smokers kick the habit — offering them a route to get nicotine without the carcinogens in tobacco smoke. But e-cigarettes aren’t harmless, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health authorities. There’s particular concern about young people vaping — in part, because nicotine can harm brain development, which continues until about age 25. In the poll, most adults did have misgivings about e-cigarettes: 85 percent said they were worried that the long-term health effects of the devices are unknown; and 83 percent were at least “somewhat” concerned about teenagers using e-cigarettes. In fact, 43 percent of adults felt that e-cigarettes are actually more dangerous than traditional cigarettes. On the flip side, about as many people (41 percent) viewed e-cigarettes as “healthier” than traditional cigarettes. And 42 percent rated them as an “excellent way” to quit. It all adds up to differing views, and possibly confusion, about e-cigarettes and their health effects. There are, in fact, many unknowns. “Unfortunately, at this time we have no scientific evidence on the long-term…  read on >

Americans’ love affair with fast food continues, with 1 in every 3 adults chowing down on the fare on any given day. That’s the finding from a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When asked by researchers, 37 percent of adults said they’d eaten fast food at least once over the past 24 hours. There was one surprise: Bucking the notion that poorer Americans favor fast food the most, the report found that intake actually rose with income. For example, while about 32 percent of lower-income folks ate fast food daily, more than 36 percent of middle-income consumers had fast food on a given day, as did 42 percent of those with higher incomes, the report found. Whatever your income bracket, fast food probably isn’t doing your health any favors. That’s because it “has been associated with increased intake of calories, fat and sodium,” the CDC team said. All that adds up to widening waistlines and hardening arteries, one nutritionist warned. “Most fast food is not good for our bodies,” said Liz Weinandy, a registered dietitian at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center. “The more of it we eat, the more likely we are to be overweight or obese and have increased risk for several diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndrome when talking to patients,” she…  read on >

There’s no shortage of creative excuses people come up with to stay stuck on the sofa, but three of them top the list. Here’s how to hurdle the obstacles standing between you and getting in shape. “I’m too tired to exercise.” Being too tired to work out is a common theme among procrastinators. And while it sounds counter-intuitive, exercise gives you more energy — it feeds on itself in a good way. Researchers at the University of Georgia found that healthy but sedentary adults who did as little as 20 minutes of low-to-moderate cardio (think brisk walking) three days a week felt more energized after just a few weeks. “I don’t have time to exercise.” Who doesn’t feel squeezed by a busy schedule? And yes, driving back and forth to the gym can double the time you need to allot to a workout. So skip the trip and invest in home equipment. But still can’t find a 30-minute block of time? Break up your workout into a few short segments a day. Steal 10 to 15 minutes before the kids wake up and another 15 after they go to sleep. “I’m too out of shape to exercise.” Being out of shape is no reason to sit on the sidelines and stay out of shape. Fitness can start with just one step. If you’re unhappy with…  read on >

New research suggests there is no perfume a man loves more than the scent of a fertile woman. Researchers in Switzerland determined that women who are the “fittest” for reproduction have a distinctive scent that makes them particularly appealing to men. “Women with high estrogen and low progesterone levels are most attractive to men in an olfactory sense,” said study leader Daria Knoch, from the social psychology and social neuroscience department at the University of Bern. Knoch added that these hormone levels signal high fertility, suggesting that men are more attracted to women who can reproduce successfully. The study involved 28 women and 57 men. The women were asked to follow strict guidelines to isolate their scent and minimize any outside influence from things like detergents, soaps, alcohol or spicy foods. The women were also told to avoid hormonal contraceptives, to sleep alone and use unscented products during the study period. When the women were most fertile, they collected their scent overnight by placing cotton pads in their armpits. The men included in the study were asked to sniff these cotton pads in a lab and rate their smell on a scale of 0 to 100. The researchers also collected saliva samples from the women to measure their hormone levels. The investigators also considered other factors that could influence a woman’s scent, including the stress…  read on >

Your parents’ jobs likely had a strong influence on what you do for a living, according to a study that questions the belief in social mobility in the United States. “A lot of Americans think the U.S. has more social mobility than other western industrialized countries. This makes it abundantly clear that we have less,” said researcher Michael Hout, a sociology professor at New York University. He analyzed national data gathered between 1994 and 2016. Taking pay and education into account, occupations were given a socioeconomic score on a 100-point scale, ranging from 9 (shoe shiner) to 53 (flight attendant) to 93 (surgeon). “The underlying idea is that some occupations are desirable and others less so,” Hout said in a university news release. He found there was a good chance that children would have similarly ranked occupations as their parents. For example, half the children of parents in top-ranked occupations now have jobs with a score of 76 or higher, while half the children of parents in bottom-ranked occupations now have jobs that score 28 or less. “Your circumstances at birth — specifically, what your parents do for a living — are an even bigger factor in how far you get in life than we had previously realized,” Hout said. “Generations of Americans considered the United States to be a land of opportunity. This research…  read on >

If you’re happy and you know it, so will a goat. New research suggests that goats can read people’s facial expressions and prefer those who appear happy. The study included 20 goats that were shown pairs of images of the same person’s face with happy or angry expressions. The goats were more likely to interact with the happy images, approaching them and exploring them with their snouts. This was particularly true when the happy faces were placed on the right of the test arena, suggesting that goats use the left hemisphere of their brains to process positive emotion, according to the researchers. The study was led by Queen Mary University of London researchers and was published Aug. 28 in the journal Royal Society Open Science. “The study has important implications for how we interact with livestock and other species, because the abilities of animals to perceive human emotions might be widespread and not just limited to pets,” said Alan McElligott, who led the study. He is now based at the University of Roehampton in London. The study’s first author, Christian Nawroth, is now at Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology in Dummerstorf, Germany. “We already knew that goats are very attuned to human body language, but we did not know how they react to different human emotional expressions, such as anger and happiness,” Nawroth said…  read on >

Weight loss depends on eating fewer calories than your body uses up. But when you eat those calories could make a difference that you’ll see on the scale. An Italian study found that you can boost weight loss by about 25 percent just by eating 70 percent of each day’s calories between breakfast and lunch, including a mid-morning snack, and the other 30 percent as an afternoon snack and dinner. The researchers used the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet for their study. Participants all cut their intake by 600 calories a day. Their calorie breakdown was 55 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent fat and 15 percent protein, with over 30 grams of fiber daily. At the end of three months, the participants who ate 70 percent of their daily calories through lunch lost 18 pounds compared to 14 pounds lost by those who ate just 55 percent of their calories through lunch. Plus, they lost more body fat and used insulin more effectively, which can help ward off diabetes. It will take some effort to rebalance your calories, especially if you’re used to eating more later in the day and evening. But the results could be more than worth the switch. Key guidelines for following the Mediterranean diet: Most of the foods you eat should be plant-based, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Use plant-based oils, notably…  read on >

Do you get way too involved when following sports events? Whether it’s the World Series, the Super Bowl or the Olympics, it’s important to draw a line between being a fan and being a fanatic … so your actions don’t spiral out of control. Rooting for your favorite team is one thing. But researchers from the University of Arkansas found that overly involved sports fans are more likely to engage in unhealthy lifestyle behaviors — such as too much food and alcohol — than non-sports fans. This can increase their risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and even early death. One of the first health problems is often a rise in BMI or body mass index, a ratio of weight to height. This results from eating a high-fat diet with a lot of fast foods, fewer vegetables and whole grains, and too many alcoholic beverages. High-profile football game days, for instance, are among the heaviest days for alcohol consumption, on a par with New Year’s Eve. Diehard sports fans often feel like they must drink during “big games” — and in doing so may become belligerent, arguing over game plays and refs’ calls, as well as with fans of opposing teams. This behavior has social disadvantages, too, leading to the potential loss of friends and alienating co-workers, depending on whom you’re with. While being…  read on >

Alcohol contributes to 2.8 million deaths a year worldwide, and there is no safe level of alcohol consumption, researchers say. The new analysis of hundreds of studies conducted between 1990 and 2016 found that one in three people worldwide (2.4 billion people) drink alcohol, and that 6.8 percent of men and 2.2 percent of women die of alcohol-related health problems each year. How the United States fits into those figures is unclear. It was not among the top or bottom 10 for the most or the heaviest drinkers in 2016. Denmark led the list for most drinkers (97 percent of men and 95 percent of women), while Romania (men) and Ukraine (women) had the heaviest drinkers. Worldwide, alcohol use was the seventh-leading risk factor for early death and disability in 2016. It was the top cause for early death and disability among 15- to 49-year-olds, accounting for one in 10 deaths. In this age group, the main causes of alcohol-related deaths were tuberculosis (1.4 percent), road injuries (1.2 percent) and self-harm (1.1 percent), the findings showed. Among people 50 and older, cancer was a leading cause of alcohol-related death, accounting for 27 percent of deaths in women and nearly 19 percent of deaths in men. Any protection alcohol may provide against heart disease is outweighed by the health problems it causes, particularly cancer, according to…  read on >

Many studies have pointed to the serious health threats of long periods of uninterrupted sitting at home or at work. Even if you get in a 30-minute exercise session a day, that may not be enough to undo all the damage of sitting. An overall sedentary lifestyle has been linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, some cancers and premature death. Compounding the problem, not enough people are even meeting that basic goal of 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. In North America and Europe, between 70 percent and 95 percent of people are classified as inactive. What’s the answer? According to a panel of British health experts, sedentary office workers must find ways to get off their rears during every workday. The ideal is to stand, move or do light activity for at least 4 hours daily. To make it easier, they suggest starting off with a goal of 2 hours, or about 15 minutes per hour of the average workday, and working up from there. One way to achieve this is with an adjustable workstation that allows you to alternate between sitting and standing. If it’s not possible to get a desk that lifts, investigate getting a desktop device that raises and lowers your computer. More ideas to get you moving: Twice a day, stand up and do a series of stretches targeting the…  read on >