Author Archives: Brooke Kaiden

Is Diet Coke better than Regular?

Most schools are a Pepsi campus, but personally I am not a fan. I like Coke better specifically diet coke. To me a diet coke and lemon in the hand is the best thing and always the best thing and always quenches my thirst. I like the taste of diet coke compared to the taste of the regular coke. I actually think that the regular coke is too sugary and it actually hurts my teeth when I drink it, so I never drink it. Although, drinking soda specifically coke isn’t good for someone’s health and if they want to loose weight, but which type diet or regular is “better” for you?

It could just be an extra label on the can/ bottle saying diet, but is diet any better than just regular coke? The reason why there is a “diet” name to coke is because there is no sugar used but rather artificial sweeteners that were considered safe by the FDA, Food and Drug Administration. Just because there is no sugar in the drink doesn’t mean that the artificial sweetener is healthy. There is no evidence yet to prove if artificial sugars are healthier. This article states that “recent research shows that artificial sweeteners are not inert- they alter human metabolism and gut bacteria and may be linked to Type-2 diabetes.”

A scientist at Washington University’s School of Medicine in St. Louis conducted study with the intent to find out how 17 obese humans processed glucose after drink water or sucralose, otherwise known as Splenda. The conclusion was that the people who had the sucralose released 20% more insulin compared to the people who drank water before the glucose.  So artificial sugars have no role in the functioning of the metabolism. There is going to be another experiment with a control group being the non- obese subjects.

Researcher Bjorn Richelsen did an observational study to see if sugar sweetened soft drink increased obesity through our appetites. The conclusion  was that the regular sugary coke led people with a larger appetite and the people who drank diet coke did not increase their caloric intake. This website claims that “the researchers found that, on average, people who drank diet soda over the course of the 12- week study lost about 13 pounds, which was 4.5 more than those who had switched to water. They said that was due to the fact that diet soda make people feel more full and leave them with a larger appetite than water.

From a lot of the research that I was looking into, nothing was very conclusive or gave definite answers. So my conclusion is that there needs to be more tests to see if what I am actually drinking, which is the diet coke, is a faux and I should be drinking the regular to not gain any extra weight or add not safe sugars into my body. I like the taste of diet coke better, but if it worse for my health then it is not worth drinking.


Lactose Intolerance

All I know is that I am lactose intolerant and my stomach hurts very badly every time I eat a dairy product. That the only thing I know is I can’t have dairy but I don’t know the direct science behind it. Why am I affected but not my sister? Why not my best friend? Is it genetic? Why does this happen? Is there a certain age when it typically happens? Why do some dairy products affect me more than others? These are all questions that I have wondered about but never got the answers to.

According to The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease lactose is a sugar that is found in dairy products. One of the tasks of the small intestine is break down good and where food digestion and nutrient absorption take place and because of that it produces and enzyme called lactase. That breaks down lactose into glucose and galactose. Lactose intolerance is when someone is unable to digest lactose normally so they typically have stomach issues because the lactose gets broken down by bacteria instead.

Genetic home reference it is uncommon for infants to become lactose intolerant. “Approximately 65% of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy. Lactose intolerance in adulthood is most prevalent in people of East Asian descent, affecting more than 90% of adults in some of these communities. Lactose intolerance is also very common in people of West African, Arab, Jewish, Greek and Italian descent.” I really didn’t think that lactose intolerance was genetic, but it actually can be inherited by genes from your parents. If an infant has issues it is because of they have something called congenital lactase deficiency and that is inherited by recessive genes of LCT. If someone became lactose intolerant in their adulthood it is typically due to the MCM6 gene that they inherited from their parents.

Become lactose intolerant isn’t something that a person can control, just we start to slowly not be able to break down lactose and why that happens is something that scientists are still looking into according to The Wall Street Journal. People just start to stop producing large amounts of the enzyme, which causes the pain. I use the Lactaid pills that make my stomach settle much better, but I try to stay away from any dairy so the Berkey Creamery is torture for me. It is annoying that I have these problems and my sister doesn’t, but because I have had it for so many years I have adjusted my diet and even my sister has adjusted her diet to stay away from dairy because she doesn’t want to risk any future stomach pains.Unknown-1

Sushi Can Be Dangerous

Every time my mom asks me what I am in the mood for or what I want to eat for dinner I always say sushi because it is my favorite food. I love it and would eat it all the time. I know that fish and seaweed is good for you so that part of the roll is healthy. The thing that makes it unhealthy is if there is large amount of rice and if the fish inside is tempura or fried. This past weekend my mom came up for parents weekend and we went out to sushi and my friend said I have it way too much of it and that I am going to have so many health problems. I wanted to explore that further and see if there was any relation with eating too much sushi to health problems.

This study contains researchers from Rutgers that went to food stores in the Tristate area and Chicago and collected sushi to look at mercury levels as well as interviewed over 1,200 people and asked how many times they had standard fish and sushi-fish in a month. The researchers already knew that 90% of fish with mercury is methylmercury and they took that number with the average amount of meals the volunteers said that they had in a month to find that mercury levels in the fish. “Total mercury levels varied significantly by type and quality of sushi, with tuna sashimi having the highest mean levels…” the mercury exposure level was in the 90th percentile with averaged out to 19.3g of mercury per piece of fish like tuna. The conclusion was that there are high levels of mercury in sushi and that it is a risk.


When there is too much mercury it becomes toxic to our nervous system.Natural Resources Defense Council said that “in adults, mercury poisoning can adversely affect fertility and blood pressure regulation and can cause memory loss, tremors, vision less and numbness of the fingers and toe. A growing body of evidence suggests that exposure to mercury may also lead to heart disease.” So if we have a lot of sushi, which contains a high level of mercury, we can get mercury poisoning and perhaps get the symptoms mentioned above.

“Raw fish poses several potential hazards for consumers besides parasites” (Life Science staff). It is common for a fish to not be fresh and when it isn’t bacteria develops and it produces histamines, which could potentially lead to Scombriod poising. Also some fish that live in tropical water could contain ciguatera, which is a natural toxic that creates gastrointestinal and neurological problems.

My conclusion that I got is that eating fish specifically sushi could be dangerous and that although fish is good for humans too much increases someone’s chance of mercury poisoning. Also I learned that before I eat a piece of fish I am going to look at the coloring to make sure that it is fresh. If the fish isn’t fresh than I have a higher chance of getting horrible toxins in my body. I love sushi, I just have to eat it less often and to be more aware of what I am eating.

Breakfast Is the Most Important Meal of the Day

When I wake up in the morning I am always starving and craving something unhealthy for breakfast, something like waffles and pancakes. I love eating breakfast because it is my favorite meal of the day. The best is when at home sometimes we had breakfast for dinner. To me breakfast is comfort food and makes my belly happy. The fact that I have always ate breakfast was good because we all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but I am curious as to why?

Just as I thought, breakfast is a very important meal because it gives one energy and nutrients to participate in the day such as in classes and during the work hours. According to John Hopkins we could miss the daily amount of vitamins that we get from our breakfast. It also mentions that for someone to have a healthy body weight they shouldn’t skip breakfast. One reason for that is because people might snack unhealthily until lunch.Harvard School Of Public Health conducted a Study that evaluated the importance of eating breakfast. Their hypothesis was if skipping a meal like breakfast would influence coronary heart disease (DHD). To do this they looked into eating habits. They found that men who missed breakfast had a 27% increased risk of CHD. Then they looked at the men who snacked and ate at night had a 55% high risk of CHD. There was no correlation between the amounts of times someone ate in the day to the increased risk of CHD. The conclusion was that eating breakfast significantly lowered the risk of CHD.

Harvard School of Public Health conducted another study on 46,289 women over six years to look at their health outcomes from their eating habits. Their conclusion was that the women that occasionally skipped breakfast had a 20% increased risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Women who skipped breakfast more often than occasionally had a 54% increased risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Also inWomen’s Health it talks about another study that found that skipping breakfast increases chances of obesity and high blood pressure.

Now I know that eating breakfast is really good for me as long as I make the healthy choices. A lot of information that I read was that for a healthy body weight eating breakfast is really good. That is only true if the breakfast options are healthy and more for the nutrients and victims rather than the carbohydrates and sugar. Yes Eggo waffles are good, but so is a scrambled egg with spinach and onions. I love eating breakfast also because is does give me more energy which is why I always had a healthy breakfast before taking the SAT. I also learned that eating breakfast will decrease my risk of getting diabetes will protect my heart from future problems and will lower my chance of obesity.


Walking or Running?

Exercise is just an important thing for every human. It is what makes us fit and healthy, which ultimately leads to a longer life. When I go to the gym I tend to use the elliptical because running hurts my knees, but everyone says that walking at a fast pace is better for the body, but I am not 100% sold on that.

Walking is just as effective as running and even better than it. According to Mother Nature Network there are 5 ways in which walking is better than running. The first one they talk about it that when you are running it could stress out the immune system. This is because when one runs it burns fat and muscle tissue, which affects the immune system. The second reason is that running can damage your heart. The American Heart Association did a study on 60 Boston Marathon runners and recorded their cardiovascular activities before the race started and 20 minutes into the race. 60% of those runners had a protein called troponin that elevated. When troponin is elevated it could cause cardiovascular problems. Although no research has proven this, running may cause osteoarthritis. Avid runners typically get this problem because a lot of running causes pain to the joint cartilage and bones, which then leads to osteoarthritis. That also means that running can cause damage to cartilage. The final thing they talk about is that running in warm weather could lead to heat stroke. When one runs they use more energy rather than walking. When it is hot out this could lead to multiple organ dysfunction.

In a lot of articles that I researched about walking v. running it stated it depends on the reason one is exercising. New York Times talks about weight loss and that when it comes to loosing weight running is better. A scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California named Paul Williams did a study about weight loss over a six year interval. Source He found that the participants with a BMI (body mass index) over 28, which would mean that they were overweight, had a 90% weight loss when they ran rather than the people who walked. His conclusion was as stated “Running is more effective ran walking in preventing weight gain and achieve weight loss; both groups shed pounds, but the runners lost more.” The only problem with that study was that there was no control group. Some of those runners could have been really trying to loose weight and they tried dieting and exercise as a weight of loosing that weight.

From what I took away from this research is that walking is healthier for the body rather than running, but when it comes to weight loss running is better. As an elliptical user I wonder if running is better than the elliptical for weight loss. According to Built Lean using the intervals and the specific workouts that advanced elliptical offer, it is better for weight loss than the treadmill because it “forces you to work out of your comfort zone.” I’ll be heading to the elliptical next time I enter the gym, which hopefully will be soon.


Chewing Gum

Chewing gum is a natural habit that most humans have. We use it for better breath or just to have something in our mouth. Personally I chew gum at least once a day and if I don’t I crave it. I am a fan of 5 gum because it is sugar free, has a long lasting taste, and has good flavors. But what is the gum really doing to my teeth and my gums?

According to the ADA, American Dental Association , chewing gum increases the flow of saliva in the mouth. With the more saliva in the mouth it helps break down and gets rid of the acids that causes decay and plaque in the teeth. “Clinical studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay” (ADA).

On the other hand The Health Wyze Report says that gum is a toxic and dangerous product. It says that Titanium dioxide is a typical ingredient that goes into gum and it is highly cancerous. When we chew gum the ingredients go directly into our bloodstream because the gum is touching the walls of the mouth. Health Wyze Report People like me typically go for the sugar free gum, but this source says that because they aren’t directly using sugar, they are using processed chemicals, which could cause weight gain or inflammation or serious stomach and immune system problems.

According to Dental Health dental erosion is defined as the loss of tooth enamel caused by acid attack. Enamel is very important because it is the coating that protects us from cavities and other tooth pain and sensitivity. When we have problems with our teeth it is typically due to dental erosion, which is caused by citruses, fizzy drinks, and sugary food and drinks. All of those things destroy the enamel that protect our teeth. Dental Health States that “chewing sugar free gum for 20 minutes after eating or drinking can increase the flow of saliva, and help replace the minerals more quickly” (Dental Health).

This picture shows how enamel on our teeth are at risk because of the bad acids in the things we put in our mouth. Then it measures the amount of time it takes for the acid level to go back to normal after eating. The acid level is measured in pH. This shows that putting sugar free gum in to the mouth after eating lowers the acid level in the mouth helping fight dental erosion and helps protect the enamel.

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I researched both sides of the argument and I think that chewing sugar free gum is good and helps us protect our teeth from future problems. The most important thing to know is that gum is not a replacement for proper dental care such as brushing teeth, dental floss, and mouth washing, The other thing to know is that sugar free gum is okay to have after a meal and that sugary gum is really bad for the teeth.

Shopping Can Be an Addiction

I love shopping because it is my favorite activity. My mom personally hates it when I go shopping cause all of the money that she made that week just goes right down the drain. I do like getting new things and then wearing it the next day or waiting for it to be shipped to my house or now my dorm room. I know that I can stop shopping if I need to, but there are people who actually have a shopping addiction. And those people who have a problem usually rack up a lot of debt and they also have to go to shopaholics anonymous.

There are different types of shopaholics. There are those who need to shop to help them through an emotion. I have done this before. There are people who shop because they need to find the perfect item. Some shop because they want to give off the impression to other that they are wealthy and flashy. There are tons of people who love shopping the sales so they think they are getting a good deal but buying too much stuff on sale still adds up and sometimes the spenders don’t even need the stuff on sale. There are people who shop and get things but return it after so they get the same shopping sensation of purchasing something, but aren’t really wasting money.


The reason that people are addicted to shopping is that the way makes the person feels when they are purchasing something. When they shop the brain releases endorphins and dopamine making them happy and excited to get something new. When this happens every time someone is shopping, it can cause an addiction.

As of now there is no drug to take to help the shopping addiction, but many people who have this problem are told to take anti- anxiety drugs to help calm the nerves. There is still research into a drug called memantine that might be able to help shopaholics with their addiction. It was originally made to help treat people with Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers are looking into this drug because they think that it will help the shoppers think more clearly when they are shopping. It could also help with the compulsive behavior.


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The Horrifying Freshman 15

From the moment I stepped onto campus for move in day I feared the Freshman 15. The Freshman 15 is the inevitable 15 pounds first year college students gain. No matter how hard you try the Freshman 15 is gong to get you. “Studies show that students on average gain 3 to 10 pounds during their first 2 years of college.” Source 1


There are many reason why people gain the Freshman 15. These reasons include not having parents to make you eat vegetable and fruits. A lot of the weight comes from the consumption of alcohol. Binge eating, which comes from over excessive studying and late night hunger. Another thing is not getting enough exercise to work off all of that food. Finally, a lack of sleep plays a big role. Source 2

Here are some tips on how to beat the Freshman 15. Keep the stress to a minimum. College is stressful because there is always so much pressure, pressure to do well on tests and get the homework done, social pressures, and pressure to make new friends and essentially start over again. I think that personally I stress more about academics, but I cant let it get to me. I need to organize myself and break down assignments so I’m not doing too much work at one time. The next is to eat healthy. Snacking is so common so stock up on fruits and other healthy choices instead of chips and crackers. When my parents were here to drop me off we went to Walmart and I got carrots and humus and apples for a snack. This prevented me from reaching for the Doritos and buttery popcorn. The next is finding the best things in the dining hall. There are always unhealthy and healthy options in the cafeteria, so find the healthy things. I try to have protein at dinner and lunch. Either dinner or lunch I have a salad, choosing the healthy option. Whenever there are vegetables I get them and when I am in the mood for pasta I always go for the whole wheat. Also a good thing is to always drink water instead of soda or other sugary drinks. They have so many calories in them. while water is so simple and non-caloric. Source 3

It is so easy to avoid the Freshman 15 as long as you stay not stressed and do the healthy things. I walk to class no matter the distance and that helps me every day. I look at the health app in my phone and on an average day I walk around eight miles. That is great exercise; that is eight extra miles that I walk everyday and by taking the bus I eliminate that amount of exercise. Along with choosing not to take the bus I go to the gym when ever I possibly can. Even if I go for 20 minutes, it is 20 minutes of exercise that keeps the blood flowing and heart pumping. Gaining 15 pounds is something that I am trying to avoid and I feel that it is easily avoidable.


Netflix is Dangerous

Watching Netflix and dozing off into the night is a ritual for me. I am not able to go to sleep without watching what ever show on Netflix interests me. The thing though is that my mom and dad always yell at me because it is so bad. I always thought that they were yelling at me because they didn’t like the fact that I was watching television, but it is because the light of the screen is so bad for the eyes and for the body. Having the light on right before bed or even during bedtime can cause one to be depressed, mess up one’s sleep cycle, and the eyes.

The lights messes with the sleep cycle because the light disrupts the normal amount of melatonin that should be released before bed. This causes someone to feel drowsy and not awake the next day. Research has show that getting seven to nine hours of sleep reduces stress and help fight chronic diseases, increase the amount of cognitive function and memory and even help with loosing weight.

Television, cell phones, and computers all have a short wavelength that is typically called “blue “ light. “One study showed that one hour of moderately bright light exposure was sufficient to suppress nocturnal melatonin to daytime levels.”  Here Also the light before bed alert the neurons resulting in our mind to be awake. When someone is loosing sleep due to his or her screen it causes one to become depressed. It doesn’t directly cause it, but it plays a role.

Computer Vision Syndrome is what is it called when someone’s eyes hurt or sting when they are looking at a screen. It can involves itchy eyes, eye fatigue, burning of the eyes, blurry vision, and light sensitivity. This could all result from watching screens late at night.

I watch TV every night on my computer and I feel so exhausted the next day. I am going to try to go to sleep without watching it and see how I feel the next day. I also want to protect my eyes so I am going to lay off the screens.


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Effects of Alcohol

Alcohol means something different for every person. Some find it as a way to have a nice connection and bond between people, some use it as depressant, some use it to have fun, and for others it might just be a social habit. It is when people abuse it that it becomes a problem. People get addicted to it and it causes problems for them and the people around them, in any situation. No one wants to hold back a friends hair because they drank too much at a party, and no one wants to deal with drunk people and their actions. It is harmful to the body as well as the people around alcoholics.


Drinking a lot of alcohol can cause damage to the brain, heart, liver, and pancreas. Most people know that it causes damage to your brain. When people are under the influence, their reaction time is much slower; that is why drunk people aren’t allowed to drive cars. Essentially, people’s cognitive abilities are lowered. They become very talkative and inappropriate due to the alcohols affect of the cerebral cortex. People will start to feel all sorts of emotion due to the alcohol’s affect on the hippocampus. This is a big key on peoples mood when they drink. If they were happy before they were drinking typically they are a “happy drunk,” if someone was sad and depressed, that person would be sad and depressed for the time at which they were drunk. Also memory becomes hazy; it messes with peoples ability to control their actions and then remember it. Also, drunks tend to not have much balance. That is why people tend to fall over more and why if someone was pulled over for drunk driving the officer will tell the driver to walk in a straight line. Balance has to do with the cerebellum. The fact that alcohol is able to do all of that is scary.

A common thing that can occur with alcoholism is damage to the liver. The job of the liver is to detoxify the body. When people put toxins like alcohol into the body it causes oxidative stress. This is when our liver does its job and tries to break down the alcohol, which creates a chemical reaction that can damage the cells. Another is that alcohol can do damage to our intestine and that could let the toxins from our gut bacteria get into our liver. Both things can lead to liver cancer or liver disease.

There are not only short-term effects of alcohol, but there are long term effects that could be life threatening. It is okay to casually drink, but becoming an alcoholic is easy and so is abusing it.

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Why Green Tea is the Best for You

I was an avid coffee drinker. My routine consisted of stopping at Dunkin Donuts before school and getting a medium ice coffee sweet and light, basically cream and sugar. Then after school I would go back again to get the ice coffee and took it the same exact way. Knowing how much cream and sugar I took in daily I decided that in 2015 I would stop drinking coffee and switch to tea, specifically green tea. When I started that it was first hard and I was always exhausted. Then I realized I actually had a lot of energy in the mornings after my tea and in the afternoon also I had a lot more energy. Then about a month later, without switching up my eating habits and my typical gym routine, I went down two pant sizes. Why was this happening?

From a young age my parents have always used the word antioxidant, blueberries, strawberries, beans, and now green tea. Green tea contains antioxidants, which help in prevention of getting cancer. Green tea contains catechins, which is a type of antioxidant, but what is so special about green tea is that before you drink it, the natural herbs aren’t processed so there is a high amount of catechins in each cup. This tea is also really good for your heart, your brain, and your blood vessels. Research has shown that drinking green tea allows the brain to memorize more information, which could result in a lesser chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease. Catechins job is to also lower cholesterol and blood pressure, so drinking this tea often could help prevent diabetes.

Dr. Christopher Ochner, works at The Mount Sinai Hospital and specializes in nutrition, obesity, and proper diets. He said, “If you sub 1-2 cups of green tea for one soda, in a year you’d save over 50,000 calories.” It is know that green tea aids in weight loss. This is because it contains the antioxidant EGCG that helps an enzyme that breaks down norepinephrine and then it increases the amount. The more norepinephrine there is the better chance it has sending a signal to break down the fat cells, which are then used for energy in the muscles.

It contains caffeine, but not as much as coffee, but at least enough to get me through the day. Caffeine is known to help increase brain function like memory, reaction time, mood, and attentiveness because it blocks Adenosine, a neurotransmitter. Green tea has an amino acid in it called L-theanine, which increases the activity of the GABA neurotransmitter. With the L-thaenine in the tea it increases brain function.

Green tea is so healthy and good for your body. Not only is the taste delicious and the drink is relaxing, but you are getting the same effects of coffee, along with other good things for your body. The drink itself is an antioxidant, so it helps with decreasing chances of getting cancer. It is so good for the brain, which also decreases the chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease. It speeds up the metabolism and helps break down fat cells that help in weight loss. So next time you are craving that cup of coffee just think about how much better green tea is for you and you can still get the same amount of energy.


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Initial Blog Post

Hi I’m Brooke Kaiden currently a Freshman and I’m so excited for this semester and the ones that follow. I grew up in the suburbs of Bergen County in New Jersey and love it there. I miss it everyday. I also live in the best city in the world, New York City, so I got the best of both worlds. I am currently in the school of Health and Human Development majoring in Hospitality Management and love it. I’m so excited to go to my intro class every Tuesday and Thursday. I decided that this was a good major for me because I love travel and I love being organized and making schedules. Also, the major prides themselves on the fact that 95% of the graduates have job placement, which is an amazing rate.

The first thing that everyone should know about me academically is that I’m the english history person not the math science person. I dreaded going to science class everyday in high school. This is simply because I was never good at it, therefore I had no passion for the topic. Interestingly, the first test I failed was in third grade and it was a science test on energy. That’s when I knew that science was not my thing. That is why this class is so good for me. It is made for non- scientists, which I definitely am. I like fun science concepts, not straight up biology or chemistry. I think that I will get my best science knowledge out of this class and that is why I am so glad I am taking it.


Here is the theme song to Friends which is my favorite show. It’s pathetic that I can recite most of the lines in the show and my family cracks at least one Friends joke or line or even dance move everyday.

IMG_1939This is a picture of my dog. He is my favorite thing in the whole entire world. I miss him so much and he was without a doubt the hardest goodbye. His name is Guidry after the famous New York Yankee pitcher, Ron Guidry.