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Change Your Diet, Change Your Eye Color?

In the video above, FullyRaw blogger Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram claims that eating a raw food diet turned her eyes from “a very dark café brown color” to a “hazel color with almost a honey lining around my iris and they’re actually starting to turn blue.” 

Posted a little over a year ago, the video has had time to gain traction—1.3 million views at this point—as well as comments, most of which are in disbelief of Carrillo-Bucaram’s claim. 

She’s not the only one to make it, though. Steve Factor, “The Pure Energy Chef,” has also experienced changes in eye color, according to a blog called Conscious Nourishment.’s Yulia Tarbath says that both the puffiness around her eyes has gone away and her eyes now appear brighter thanks to the raw food diet she’s been on since 2009. That we can believe: clarity is one thing, color is quite another.  

The term to know here is iridology, an alternative form of medicine that determines health through eye color. If a patient’s iris exhibits unusual patterns or colors, that might indicate disease, its practitioners believe. 

Carrillo-Bucaram, who was hyperglycemic as a child, “grew up eating a very poor Latin American and Lebanese diet—I ate a lot of fat, and was constipated my whole life,” she says in the video. Eating a low-fat raw, vegan diet consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables with few nuts and seeds, she rid herself of her hyperglycemia by the age of 18. But she also lost pigment in her irises. After consulting an iridologist, she says she learned that when “we have toxicity in our bodies, when we’re constipated and things are not moving through our systems, we become ‘stuffed up’” and we can see that toxicity in our eyes. “The cleaner you become, the cleaner your eyes become. I ate fully raw and I allowed my body to cleanse itself naturally.” Gradually, throughout her eight years of eating raw, she says her eyes have changed color.

No scientific evidence to date can back up this latter claim, though. Carrillo-Bucaram did not respond to emails.

“Food’s not going to affect the pigments in your iris,” said Dr. Deeba Chaudri of Cosmopolitan Eye Care in New York City. “I update my continuing education courses all the time and I have never seen a study that food could affect eye color.”

“We certainly talk about nutrition—that’s very important to eye health,” Chaudri continued. “You want to have a good amount of antioxidants and leafy greens, which nourish the back of eye where receptors are, but neither good nor bad food will affect the pigment of the iris.” 

Chaudri added that it would be nice to know more about Carrillo-Bucaram. What kind of supplements or medications does she take? What’s her medical condition? Does she use eye drops? Topical eyelash enhancements such as Latisse? Does she wear UV protection? What is her family health history? “You have to factor in a bunch of things when you talk about eye pigment.”

Dr. Juan Horta-Santini of Union Square Eye Care, also in New York City, agreed, suggesting that anyone who thinks diet has changed his or her eye color should see a specialist to rule out systemic diseases. After speaking with Yahoo Food, he consulted with a cornea specialist in Washington, D.C. and a retina specialist in Pennsylvania, neither of whom had heard of diet changing eye color, either. 

“The iris can change if you get a big trauma to the eye,” said Horta-Santini, “but they start looking whitish, not blue or green.”

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Americans’ new way of losing weight has left Weight Watchers behind

Don’t even think about it. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

This should be the perfect time for a company like Weight Watchers to thrive. The U.S. is still one of the fattest nations on the planet with a third of the country considered dangerously overweight. Global obesity has nearly doubled since 1980, growing into one of the world’s most intractable public health crises — and opening a huge market for the weight-loss industry.

Yet Weight Watchers, the 50-year-old diet giant selling a slimmer, fitter America, has never looked so gaunt. The company said Wednesday that its third-quarter revenue had plunged to its lowest point since 2010, extending an unprecedented seven-quarter money-losing streak. Its market value has fallen to $1.1 billion, its lowest point in history.

So what happened? Instead of paying for a subscription to one of Weight Watchers’ signature support groups or learning how foods translate into “points,” Americans seeking to shed a few pounds are looking, instead, to free fitness apps on their smartphones, a simple shift that has devastated one of the most iconic names in weight loss.

“We do not believe that free apps will solve the obesity epidemic,” chief executive Jim Chambers said in a call with analysts late last year. But “I see now that the situation we are facing as a business and organization is more difficult than it originally appeared.”

The rise of smartphones opened an entire ecosystem of new apps that could suggest diets, count calories and track progress, undercutting Weight Watchers’ longtime business model. And because many are free, they’re gobbling up the company’s most important audience: trial-minded newbies looking for a change but hesitant to fully commit.

The popularity of free health apps has exploded alongside fitness monitors, like the FitBit, which cost only a one-time fee and offer a simple, visual, social element to exercise in a way Weight Watchers still can’t. And Weight Watchers has never been cheap. Duke University researchers said in July that the average Weight Watchers subscriber paid $377 a year and only lost five pounds — in other words, paying about $75 per pound.

“It’s a matter of free vs. not free,” said Efraim Levy, an analyst with Standard Poor’s. “There are so many free apps out there to help people lose weight that people are choosing to at least try. … It’s really a cost initiative, and that will remain a challenge, and they have to restructure to hope to compete.”

Founded in the early ’60s by an overweight New York housewife, Weight Watchers found its claim to fame largely due to its social appeal: support groups of women meeting often to talk diets, and all the reasons they shouldn’t cheat. Over the decades, it ballooned into a corporate powerhouse, fueled by a sale in the late ’70s to the Heinz food conglomerate, which sold branded frozen meals to dues-paying attendees of the firm’s bustling weight-loss classes.

About a million people attend more than 40,000 Weight Watchers meetings every week worldwide, according to an SP report, and the program remains well-reviewed: The U.S. News World Report this year ranked it the country’s best diet for losing weight.

But Weight Watchers is far from the only player in America’s $60 billion weight-management industry. Their competition has expanded beyond longtime rivals like Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem – both with their own sales woes – to larger sophisticated players like Nike seeking to win over a growing fitness-minded clientele.

Half of the company’s revenue comes from meeting dues, with the rest tied to online subscriptions and sales of things like snack bars, books and points calculators. But even the packaged parts of Weight Watchers’ business model are shrinking, losing out to health-conscious eaters opting more for fresh foods. The market share for Weight Watchers’ frozen-ready meals has fallen to its lowest level since 2005, beaten handily by Stouffer’s, Lean Cuisine and Healthy Choice, data from market research firm Euromonitor show.

Weight Watchers has tried to change with the times. They launched a mobile app with a barcode scanner, food log and meeting finder, announced partnerships with fitness trackers and, this month, unveiled a few upgrades to better match the iPhone’s new health and fitness suite. Earlier this year, the company spent an undisclosed sum to buy Wello, a Silicon Valley startup offering streaming video of fitness classes.

But other campaigns have done little to fatten their business. The number of subscribers to, their online plan, dropped about 7 percent last year, and a big push to appeal to both genders has mostly floundered; only 18 percent of today’s online users are men. The company is working to win over corporate America by installing company-wide fitness plans, but even those membership numbers remain slim.

“They’ve signed up some bigger companies, but even if you’re an employer with 100,000 employees, the number of people signing up will be … a drop in the bucket,” said Kurt Frederick, an analyst with Wedbush Securities. “They need a lot of big companies to make a big swing in that mix. And they haven’t gotten to the point where its a big piece of the business.”

Every quarter of this year is expected to see double-digit sales decreases over the year before, a losing streak the company didn’t even see during the Great Recession. Investors have also lost confidence the company can turn it around: Shares today are selling 65 percent below their 2011 peak. And there’s little optimism about future prospects: JPMorgan analysts wrote this summer that 2015 looks like “another difficult year.”

As the crucial New Year’s diet season nears, the company said it’s trying hard to engineer a turnaround. Their big strategy to compete with the app-store diet, they said: The human touch.

“It is our fundamental belief that tools alone, technology alone, food programming alone will never reach the levels of success that are possible when they are combined with human engagement,” said Chambers, the chief executive, in an analyst call in July. “The strength of the Weight Watchers brand is and always will be in the human connections that make a weight-loss journey more successful.”

Al Sharpton’s Diet Secret: Don’t Eat

Photo: Andrew Burton/2014 Getty Images

The Daily News has officially dubbed him the “incredible shrinking Sharpton,” but how exactly did reverend and civil-rights activist Al Sharpton manage to shed 60 percent of his body weight? If his daily food diary is to be believed, he did it the same way you did it after watching that Lifetime movie sophomore year of high school: by simply not eating.

According to the News, Sharpton consumes about 1,000 calories a day, walks daily on a treadmill, and doesn’t eat after 6 p.m. Since sticking to this plan, which he’s been doing for years, Sharpton has dropped from 305 pounds to 129.6 pounds — which, according to doctors, is just two pounds away from landing him in the “underweight” category.

Here’s his slightly worrying food diary:

Whole wheat toast, 3 slices = 300 calories (15 g of protein)
Doctor Earth green juice from Juice Press, 2 bottles = 360 calories (4 g of protein)
Salad with egg and balsamic vinaigrette = 240 calories (6g of protein)
Banana = 100 calories (1g of protein)
Total = 1,000 calories and 26g protein. For a man of his age and weight, 2,000 calories and 56g protein are typical.

“I’m conditioned now so that I never get hungry,” Sharpton says.

Same. Now, should I eat Chipotle or Chipotle for lunch?

Diet craze sends ‘miracle’ supplement flying off shelves – WXIA

ATLANTA — Americans spend $4 billion on weight loss supplements every year.

Now, another “miracle drug” has hit the shelves, and health food stores are having a hard time even keeping it in stock. When 11Alive’s Kaitlyn Ross started making calls on Garcinia Cambogia, it was sold out at stores across metro Atlanta.

Is the supplement worth the hype?

Heavy sales based on high expectations
Return to Eden has been slammed with people searching for Garcinia Cambogia.

“Everyone always wants a quick fix for weight loss. So anytime anyone talks about it in the media we gets tons of calls,” General Manager Troy DeGroff told 11Alive.

The latest craze sound familiar: the extract of an exotic fruit, endorsed by a TV doctor, guaranteed to make you thin.

“There are some people who are absolutely addicted to it and they keep coming back, and they say yes, this is helping me get to my weight loss goal,” DeGroff said.

Health experts warn about results
The online reviews would have you believe that Garcinia Cambogia can shrink you to half your natural size, but health experts say it’s never that easy.

Holistic Dr. Taz Bhatia says the supplement is supposed to regulate the insulin in your body, suppressing hunger, but it’s not a pill everyone can swallow. Garcinia Cambogia, like a lot of weight loss supplements, works for certain people. The supplement has been successful in rats, but there is no conclusive proof it works in humans. And that’s a tough pill for some people to swallow.

“I have people who have tried it and they swear it works. But I’ve had just as many try and it not see a great benefit,” Dr. Bhatia said. While taking the supplement likely won’t hurt you, you have to be willing to help yourself: “You’ve got to put in the work with the supplement and it’s not a magic bullet.”

Do you have questions for 11Alive’s Kaitlyn Ross about her diet supplement research? Send her a tweet @KaitlynRoss1:

5 Diet Foods You Should Never Eat

According to the Dr. Oz Show website, Sharon Richter, RD, alerts readers to the fact that many diet foods will actually cause you to pack on the pounds rather than peel them off. The reason why? Sneaky ingredients that make you want to come back for more, when you should be eating less. The following is a summary of 5 examples of diet foods that you should avoid according to Ms. Richter’s top 10 diet foods to avoid.

Diet Food to Avoid #1: Fat-Free Salad Dressing

The trick ingredient here is sugar. Sure, the dressing may be fat-free, but in its place to keep customers coming back for more is added sugar for special flavoring to make your brain forget about the missing fat. Dietician Sharon Richter advises dieters to skip the fat-free dressings and opt for regular salad dressings―but only a few tablespoons―instead of dousing your greens in the fat-free kind.

However, if still want to go for a fat-free dressing, you can make your own truly low-fat salad dressing by following Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s advice of blending nuts and seeds like cashews and sesame seeds in place of oil with this healthy salad dressing recipe.

Diet Food to Avoid #2: Reduced-Fat Peanut Butter

Reduced -fat peanut butter means eating hydrogenated oils, corn syrup and chemical fillers in place of the healthy fats that come naturally from regular peanut butter. Forget about this diet food fake, and go with what Mom made for you when you were a kid.

An added bonus to peanut butter that it is one food recommended to help prevent premature hair loss in women.

Diet Food to Avoid #3: Smoothies and Juices

The majority of the time, that fruit juice or smoothie you buy at the store is loaded with sugar and calories. Furthermore, it also will lack the fiber that would actually slow down sugar absorption. Ms. Richter’s advice is to stick to fresh-squeezed juices, or go with smoothies that you can make at home where you will have control over the ingredients you’re blending and putting inside your body.

Looking for a healthy smoothie recipe or two? Try these Dr. Oz recommended smoothies for weight loss that taste great and will help you feel great. A favorite is this morning mocha smoothie you should switch to for weight loss rather than going with that mocha Frappuccino.

Diet Food to Avoid #4: Wraps

Be wary of spinach and whole-wheat wraps warns Ms. Richter. That green color in your wrap is more likely than not dye rather than spinach, and whole-wheat rarely means it’s 100% whole wheat. According to Ms. Richter, wraps without anything in them can range from 100 to 400 calories, which is more than the calorie count of two slices of bread (120 calories each).

One Oz-related advice is to try lettuce wraps in place of bread wraps for a healthier, easy to make meal.

Diet Food to Avoid #5: Granola Bars

Granola bars are filling. But do you know why? It’s usually because they are loaded with sugar and hydrogenated oils making them calorie dense and therefore not a true diet food.

One option is to make your own healthy granola bars like this recipe Ms. Richter recommends; or, try this granola-like sundae instead made out of Greek yogurt, walnuts, a chopped banana and maybe a few dark-chocolate chips.

Reference: The Dr. Oz Show website― “The Top 10 Diet Foods to Avoid

Image Source: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Dr. K: Prevent chronic inflammation with healthy diet

Posted: Tuesday, October 28, 2014 12:00 am

Dr. K: Prevent chronic inflammation with healthy diet

Associated Press |


Dear Doctor K: You’ve written that chronic inflammation has been linked to diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Is there anything I can do to fight inflammation without using medications?

Dear Reader: Inflammation in the body is a double-edged sword. Short-lived inflammation, directed by your immune system at invaders like bacteria or viruses, protects your health.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 12:00 am.

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