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total wellness

a ucla student wellness commission publication

the science behind

energy drinks

sun eye safety keep an eye on UV radiation your guide to

better posture on the computer

body in focus


healthy smoothies for every situation

fall 12 | vol 12 | issue 5

director’s letter Decisions, decisions, decisions. Every day we

are faced with so many choices. Oftentimes, especially as college students, we make decisions based on our immediate goals or impulses and often consider our long-term health only in passing, if at all. 8 A.M. final, term paper, and final lab report all on the same day? For the majority of the college population, this definitely calls for an all-nighter consisting of a caffeine overdose or an energy drink abuse. But what are you really doing to your body? Read more on pages 36 to 39. With the hectic nature of life no matter what your profession or major, it's difficult to keep your body in focus. For the average college student, it's common to spend many hours a day sitting - in lecture, at the library studying, or in front of the computer. Especially when it's midterm and final season, it's easy to neglect your body and let it drift out of focus.

total wellness ▪ fall 2012

Yet, when we deny our bodies the attention they deserve, we suffer the consequences – ranging from minor aches and pains to drastic cancers and diseases. So, how can you keep your body in focus even when life gets in the way? As always, Total Wellness is here to help make staying healthy easy, straightforward, and manageable.


In this issue, we set out to address the many questions that tend to pop up in everyday living. Back pain from too much computer use? Check out page 26. Acne outbreak and don't know what to do? Consult the list of skin care advice on page 9. Confused about condoms or the pill and afraid to ask? Read more on pages 40 to 45. No time for a sit down breakfast or looking to add a health boost to your smoothies? Learn how on page 13. We hope you've enjoyed this volume of Total Wellness as much as we've enjoyed putting it together - from brainstorming topics to researching the literature to writing the articles to designing the spreads to editing the articles and working with healthcare professionals to assure our information is accurate and up to date. While this issue marks the conclusion of Total Wellness' twelfth volume, we invite you to stay tuned for the launch of our thirteenth volume this November – featuring new columns along with new members to both the leadership team and the design and writing staff. Congratulations and best wishes to the graduating staff. We will miss you! Thank you for your continued readership and we hope you read on in the fall. Until then, keep your body in focus. Cheers to your health,

Shannon Wongvibulsin Director

Total Wellness is a division of the Student Wellness Commission that is dedicated to spreading awareness of and sharing knowledge on issues of student health and health care. By providing an understanding of health and lifestyle issues, elucidating health concepts, providing recommendations for physical, mental, and social well-being, and making visible and accessible various health resources, programs, and events occurring at UCLA, Total Wellness seeks to empower students with up-to-date and accurate knowledge on the appropriate management of their health.


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going all natu ral easy cleaning

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10 things the cosmetic ind ustry doesn’t want you to know the health ris ks of fragranc es fall 10 | vol 11

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Ashe Center Blood & Platelet John Wooden On the Hill Bruin Resource Center ASUCLA Stands Kerckhoff Hall SWC Office

total wel ness a ucla student

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green dining

: eco-friendly ways and places to eat out LA air pollutio


how bad is it?

organic clothi



6 ways to green your clos et


the guide: new uses for old things

an easy way to reduce waste and go green

also: 5 nutrien ts you may be mis sing summer 11 | vol

11 | issue 5

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Read our previous issues online at

the guide:

staying healthy while traveling abroad this season

care systems ofmod els

a look into of healthcare abroad

the med diet? what's the hype fall 11 | vol 11 | issue


total wellness ▪ fall 2012

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editor’s note Driving up the familiar Interstate 5 highway, from Los

Angeles to San Francisco, I passed by miles and miles of open land, scorched by the hundred-degree summer sun. My thoughts, however, lingered more on what was inside my car than what was outside it – as a recent graduate, I was moving out of my Westwood apartment and had packed my backseat and trunk to the brim. Fitting four years’ worth of stuff into a single car was no easy feat, and forced me to throw away any unnecessary item I had been transporting between dorms and apartments throughout my college experience. Now that I had just the bare essentials, I surveyed the remaining items, for they were truly representative of my time at UCLA. Being a true Bruin student, I had to keep my Chemistry lab notebooks, even though I will never use them again. I just couldn’t force myself to throw away all that hard work. Of course, I also had to keep my memories outside of the classroom alive – photos, notes and keepsakes that remind me of the amazing friends I have made over the years.

total wellness ▪ fall 2012

And even though my car was overflowing, I knew I would make space for the box of Total Wellness issues that I have been keeping throughout my three years on staff. Every issue has been a labor of love, and there is nothing more rewarding than holding the magazine in my hands after the hours of planning, writing, editing, and organizing. I will always feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to write for, and then work as editor for, Total Wellness. The chance to build a publication from the ground up has truly been an honor and a joy.


Now, as Fall Quarter begins and I wrap up my last issue of the magazine, I am excited for a new chapter, both in my life and for Total Wellness. I could not be more proud of the staff members and leadership team that will be taking the reigns, and I know there is a bright future in store for the organization. The principles of health advocacy and research-based journalism that we worked to build remain stronger than ever, and I look forward to becoming a loyal reader. After all, no matter where life takes you, you must always find room for what truly matters.

Leigh Goodrich Editor-in-Chief

words from the commissioner Grabbing that inexpensive and quick fast food meal because

you are late and the healthy option is twice as expensive… taking the elevator a floor or two because the stairs just seem too daunting… collapsing onto your bed way too tired to brush or floss? We have all made choices like these. As highly involved, busy, hard working students at a top tier university, health is one of those things that we do not always give enough attention to, until we absolutely have to and we cannot ignore it any longer. The effects of our unhealthy behaviors typically won’t affect us immediately— sometimes not for months, or even years. So, of course it’s natural to put our health on the back burners, to feel like we’re invincible, or that we’ll just deal with it all later. Unfortunately, just like at Costco, everything adds up quickly, and the costs of our behaviors get steep. That’s why Total Wellness has dedicated this issue to your body. Body in Focus reminds you that to be able to function at your full capacity, you need to take care of your body first. Here is the beautiful thing about the situation though: the negative effects of your unhealthy behaviors add up, but so do the positive effects of healthy living! It can be as simple as making the right food choice when you are out and about in Westwood (check out “Eating Good in Westwood” on page 18), knowing the facts about caffeine products and the truth about what you are consuming (page 32), or how important protecting your eyes from the sun is (page 22). My challenge to all the readers of this issue is to start introducing these small but healthier choices into your life. Whether you want to focus on one or be gung-ho and tackle a few is up to you, but at the least, do something to improve your wellness and ultimately, improve your life! The wellness challenge I am issuing myself is to improve my posture, while standing and walking, but especially while being sedentary for extended periods of time. Check out page 26 for more on the important of proper posture. Whether this is the first time you have read Total Wellness, or if you are an avid reader, I hope that you develop a love for this publication and that you continue to not only use it as a resource and motivation for healthy living, but also share it with others around you! Stay healthy and stay happy, Bruins! Warm Wishes,

Cassarah Chu SWC Commissioner




Art Director

Art Director




Outreach Director


Assistant Webmaster

total wellness â–Ş fall 2012


total wellness Director Editor-in-Chief Co-Art Director Co-Art Director Managing Editor Outreach Director Webmaster Assistant Webmaster

Shannon Wongvibulsin Leigh Goodrich Barbara Wong Karin Yuen Cindy La Judy Jeung Fritz Batiller Kevin Sung

Staff Writers Jen Aceto, Savannah Badalich, Leslie Chang, Julia Duong, Julie Escobar, Lawrence Liem, Harini Kompella, Sofia Levy, Jennifer Miskabi, Samantha Mojica, Brian Nguyen, Jaclyn Portanova, Chalisa Prarasri, Nabeel Qureshi, Leanna Tu Design Chloe Booher, Karen Chu, Amorette Jeng, Coco Liu, Jennifer Shieh, Annie Theriault, Rebecca Wang, Barbara Wong, Shannon Wongvibulsin, Karin Yuen Advisory & Review William Aronson, MD

Professor, UCLA School of Medicine

Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD

Assistant Director, UCLA Center for Human Nutrition

Leah FitzGerald, RN, FNP, PhD

Assistant Professor, UCLA School of Nursing

Dena Herman, PhD, MPH, RD

Adjunct Assistant Professor, UCLA School of Public Health

Eve Lahijani, MS, RD

Nutrition Health Educator, UCLA Bruin Resource Center

Melissa Magaro, PhD

Clinical Psychologist, UCLA Counseling and Psychological Services

Lilia Meltzer, RN, NP, MSN

Lecturer, California State University, Long Beach

William McCarthy, PhD

Adjunct Professor, UCLA School of Public Health

Rena Orenstein, MPH

Assistant Director, Student Health Education

Allan Pantuck, MD, MS, FACS

Associate Professor, UCLA School of Medicine

Raffi Tachdjian, MD, MPH

Assistant Clinical Professor, UCLA School of Medicine

Elisa Terry, NSCA-CSCS

FITWELL Services Program Director, UCLA Recreation

Alona Zerlin, MS, RD

Research Dietitian, UCLA Center for Human Nutrition

Total Wellness is a free, student-run, publication published multiple times a year and is supported by advertisers, the Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center, the On Campus Housing Council (OCHC), the Student Wellness Commission (SWC), UCLA Recreation, and the Undergraduate Students Association (USAC).

total wellness â–Ş fall 2012

Contact 308 Westwood Blvd., Kerckhoff Hall 308 Los Angeles, CA 90024 Phone 310.825.7586, Fax 310.267.4732


Subscription, back issues, and advertising rates available on request Volume 12, Issue 5 Š 2012 by Total Wellness Magazine. All rights reserved. Parts of this magazine may be reproduced only with written permission from the editor. Although every precaution has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the published material, Total Wellness cannot be held responsible for the opinions expressed or facts supplied by authors. We do not necessarily endorse products and services advertised. The information in Total Wellness is not intended as medical advice and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult a health care provider for clarification.

fall 2012

contents 2 Director's Letter 4 Editor’s Note & Words From the Commissioner 8 In the News 9 Q&A 46 Food Pick 47 Credits

DEPARTMENTS Get Active 10 CrossFit


26 Reconsider How Much You Sit – It May be a Life-Saver 30 Is Brown the New White? 32 Wake Up and Smell the Coffee: the Health Effects of Caffiene 36 The Science Behind Energy Drinks 40 Condoms Unwrapped: Everything You Need to Know About Safe Sex 42 The Pill: A Look at What it is and Where it Came From

total wellness

a ucla student wellness commission publication

the science behind

energy drinks

eye safety

how to keep your eyes safe in the sun your guide to

better posture on the computer

body in focus


healthy smoothies for every situation

summer 12 | vol 12 | issue 5

Eat Right 13 The Smoothie Solution 16 A Look Inside Boba Milk Tea 18 Eatting Good in Westwood

Body in Focus 22 Sun Eye Safety

ON THE COVER 36 22 26 13

Energy Drinks Sun Eye Safety Better Posture Smoothies


total wellness ▪ fall 2012

cover: aleksandar nakic/istockphoto; left and right: aleksandar nakic/istockphoto


in the news

what’s happening in health? by shannon wongvibulsin | design by amorette jeng


In addition to the negative consequences of smoking cannabis, such as pregnancy complications and increased risk of testicular cancer, a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has demonstrated a connection between regular use of marijuana and neuropsychological decline. In the study of more than 1,000 thirteenyear-olds, cognitive tests were administered prior to their marijuana use and then again at age 38. This was the first study of cannabis use that compared the cognitive abilities of individuals from their teen years and adulthood. The researchers found that the greater the dependence on marijuana, a greater decline in IQ was observed when the subjects were re-tested at 38 years old.

total wellness ▪ fall 2012

BPA: A New Link to the Obesity Epidemic?

Although unhealthy diets and inadequate physical activity have been linked to obesity, a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has revealed a significant association between obesity and high urinary levels of bisphenol A (BPA), a synthetic chemical that is a low-grade estrogen, in children and adolescents. The researchers controlled for factors such as ethnicity, caloric intake, and television watching and found that children with the highest levels of urinary BPA were 2.6 times more likely to be obese than those with the lowest levels of urinary BPA. Before this study, there had already been research suggesting that BPA exposure is associated with numerous health problems including cardiovascular disease, breast and prostate cancer, neurological disorders, and more. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the use of BPA in baby bottles and cups to reduce the exposure to BPA in young children, the FDA still permits the use of BPA in other containers, such as aluminum cans.




cents wasted for every dollar spent on health care in the current American medical system

324 AT UCLA Doctor in the Palm of Your Hands via Your Apple iPad

The UCLA Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases has launched a new program to help monitor patients 24/7 via iPads. With this system, patients communicate their symptoms, quality of life, and productivity to their nurses and doctors regularly through iPads, making care more personalized and immediate. Additionally, there is an educational component to the program consisting of an online “My Academy” that helps the patients understand their disease, diagnosis, and treatment. The Center has designed this program with the principles of value-based health care, with the goal of adding “value” to each patient in the form of disease control, quality of life and productivity. Because of the success of the pilot program, 250 patients are now participating and there are plans to make the application available on tablet PCs and smart phones. t w

the number of cans of cola that one bushel of corn can sweeten

92.6 percent of people six and older that have detectable BPA levels in their urine institue of medicine; nebraska corn board; nhanes

left: james mcquillan/istockphoto; malerapaso/istockphoto; right: peter booth/istockphoto

Marijuana Can Decrease IQ

A three-part prosthetic system – a novel innovation funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Eye Institute (NEI) - has been shown to restore sight to blind mice. This offers new hope for improving image quality and resolution for blind patients, since previous prosthetic devices give them minimal vision capable of discerning only spots of light and edges. With this advanced prosthetic system, blind mice and sighted mice generated similar output patterns when viewing movies. Monitoring the encoder’s output (electrical impulses generated from images observed), the researchers concluded that there was sufficient information in the encoder’s system to reconstruct a wide range of images, including faces. While there is great excitement surrounding this development, further research is still required before human clinical trials will begin.


Q: A:

How can I fight acne without a prescription? by jaclyn portanova | design by karin yuen

Good news! There are many ways to combat those pesky blemishes without having to head to the dermatologist. Follow these easy tips to reduce and avoid acne breakouts.

wash your face

In fact, clear skin starts with keeping your face clean. You should wash your face two times a day, once in the morning and once in the evening in order to minimize acne. Sulfur-based soaps are recommended for this because they help shed dead skin cells that can clog pores if they aren't removed. However, excessive face washing can stimulate sebaceous glands (small glands which secrete sebum to lubricate the skin and hair) to produce more sebum - oily matter which will actually increase your acne.

avoid makeup

Sometimes to hide acne, resorting to makeup seems like the best option. However, makeup can clog pores and it is best to avoid wearing any if at all possible. If you choose to wear makeup, select water-based products to reduce your chances of breaking out.

drink water

Make sure that you drink at least eight cups of water each day for a total of 64 ounces. Drinking water flushes your system of toxins that cause acne flare-ups.


Try to avoid stress or deal with it in a positive way to avoid the adverse effects it has on your skin. Try talking to a friend, exercising, or meditating to lower your level of stress and improve your mood. If your acne still persists, you should visit a dermatologist and discuss your options for treatment. t w

got a question? We love curious readers. Send

your question over to and the answer may appear in a future issue.

avoid unnecessary oils

If you have a breakout don’t touch or pick at pimples. This can cause acne scars and the oils from your hands could make you break out more. “Keeping dirty hands and pillow cases away from your skin also helps decrease blemishes,” adds Dr. Michelle Hoh, MD, an associate clinical professor of medicine at UCLA and a physician at the UCLA Family Medicine Practice, Iris Cantor/UCLA Women’s Health Center. Since the oils from your skin sink into the pillowcase at night and those oils are then reapplied into your face, changing your pillowcase every other day is another tactic to help you avoid unnecessary oils.

healthy diet


total wellness ▪ fall 2012

Changing your diet may also be a good way to reduce acne. ❯ Reduce highly processed low-nutrient food and replace it with more healthy choices such as carrots. In fact, carrots contain beta-carotene, also known as vitamin A, which rids your body of toxins and reduces sebum production. ❯ Foods that are high in zinc such as eggs, whole grains and mushrooms can reduce acne by enhancing the immune system, which fights acne on its own. ❯ Foods containing omega-3 fatty acids also are known to reduce acne. Some of the highest sources of omega-3 can be found in salmon, cod, and tuna. For those who dislike fish and are looking to increase their intake of omega-3, consider flaxseed oil or English walnuts.

get active

the no-frills workout:

a look into CrossFit


by jen aceto | design by annie theriault


left: grandriver/istockphoto; right: davidf/istockphoto; aabejon/istockphoto

total wellness ▪ fall 2012

For devotees of CrossFit, a nine-minute workout is anything but an easy day. The workout trend – which is comprised of short, highly intense strength and conditioning – is quickly gaining popularity. Read on to get inside the “box” and see if this hard-core workout is right for you.

what is it? Originally created as a strength and conditioning program for police academies, military special operations units, and martial artists, CrossFit combines strength training, plyometrics, speed training, weight lifting, kettle bells, body weight exercises, gymnastics, and endurance exercises. Through this combination, the program targets what it calls the major components of physical fitness: cardiorespiratory fitness, stamina, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination, and accuracy. CrossFit workouts typically combine explosive exercises done in a circuit format: one exercise follows right after the next, with very little rest in between. The main CrossFit exercises involve the whole body and include pushing, pulling, running, rowing, and squatting.

who’s it for?

vocab WOD: Workout of the Day Box: CrossFit gym, a warehouse-

like facility where the exercise equipment consists of plyometric boxes, medicine balls, dumbells, and kettlebells.

Those who like short, intense workouts or who are bored with going to the gym might try CrossFit. The workouts are completed in a group setting, meaning that everyone does the same WOD, so athletes and non-athletes alike will enjoy the camaraderie and competitive aspects.

time commitment CrossFit recommends that you work out three to five days per week. The workouts are highly intense and short, taking about five to 15 minutes to complete.

nutrition* CrossFit creed “We implore you to check your ego at the door, give 100 percent and get to know your fellow CrossFitters. Our goal for you is to thrive, not just survive, at all aspects in your life, from nutrition and fitness to everyday life. Our gym is our home; we treat it as our own and care for it as such. Our box is our family, and we treat the athletes, coaches and visitors likewise, creating an environment that breeds confidence, fun and dedication.”

CrossFit recommends a daily intake of approximately 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat, meaning meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar.

where to take classes

Look online at to find a class that's convenient for you.

WODs to try at home the Barbara: five circuits of 20 pull-ups, 30 push-ups, 40 sit-ups, and 50 body weight-only squats performed in order, while only resting at the end of each circuit for a 3-minute period. the Murph: a timed 1-mile run, followed by 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 body weight squats, finished off by another 1-mile run.

total wellness ▪ fall 2012


❯ Trainers work with you at every session. ❯ Workouts do not take a long time to complete. ❯ There are a large number of WOD routines and they are always changing, which decrease the risk of getting bored by providing variety in your workout. ❯ The WOD can be done at home, without a lot of expensive equipment. ❯ Videos and written descriptions on the website, as well as trainers, can help you modify each movement according to your current fitness level.

❯ Possibility of injury is an increased risk with participation in any high-intensity fitness regimen, especially if you are new to Olympic-style weight lifting and plyometric workouts, or have a previous injury. ❯ A very serious, yet rare, muscular injury known as rhabdomyolysis is also a concern with participation in vigorous exercise. Rhabdomyolysis is a condition in which skeletal muscle becomes so severely damaged that it rapidly breaks down. If this happens, muscle cells may rupture and important contents could leak out into the bloodstream, eventually damaging the kidneys even to the point of kidney failure. It must be treated in a medical facility as it is potentially life threatening. To prevent rhabdomyolysis, make sure you start slow and gradually increase the intensity of each workout. Drink plenty of water, and avoid exercise in a hot and humid environment. ❯ CrossFit coaches don’t necessarily have credentials. ❯ It’s best to have a sufficient strength base before starting a high-intensity, power-based training plan. If you are not strong enough to perform a certain exercise by itself, let the coach know so he or she can modify the regimen accordingly. ❯ CrossFit is mostly suited for healthy people who enjoy vigorous exercise - not for those with injuries, health conditions, or other special needs. ❯ * The CrossFit Nutrition plan was not developed by a registered dietitian. Most importantly, it will not fulfill the dietary guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). It offers lower carbohydrate consumption and a higher protein intake than what is recommended for active people by the American Dietetic Association, which is the leading organization for nutritionalbased research. ❯ Cost: CrossFit memberships average about $125 per month. t w


expert’s take: UCLA’s FitWell Program Director Elisa Terry recommends trying a CrossFitstyle class at the John Wooden Center. UCLA Recreation offers classes that are similar to CrossFit; for more information visit ❯ Intro to Barbell (Classes meet twice a week for four weeks) In this small group format, you will learn the basics of the major barbell lifts included in the IFT (Intensive Functional Training) Barbell and IFT classes. The class costs $15 for the eight sessions, and is a great way to build a foundation for CrossFit-style workouts. ❯ IFT This class includes multi-joint compound movements that target muscle groups throughout the body. The challenging class uses some equipment and incorporates some barbell work but focuses mostly on high intensity body weight exercises. This class is free with a Recreation Fitness Pass and is offered three times a week during Fall Quarter. ❯ IFT Barbell This class incorporates the use of barbells to perform advanced lifts to increase strength, power, flexibility and overall work capacity. Participants must be familiar with lifts such as thrusters, push presses and push jerks. For more information, contact the FitWell desk or look up requirements online. IFT Barbell classes are free with a Fitness Pass and are on the Fall Quarter Group Ex schedule on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

4x6/istockphoto; johnnyscriv/istockphoto; right: knape/istockphoto



total wellness ▪ fall 2012


eat right

the smoothie solution by savannah badalich | design by karen chu

Theoretically speaking, smoothies can be beneficial and packed with healthy ingredients – fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, milk, juice, and more. Unfortunately, that theory falls flat with several commercially produced and quick-serve beverages hoarding the smoothie market. Many mass-produced options are loaded with added sugars and artificial ingredients. Under the guise of a healthful option, many commercial smoothies add unnecessary elements for flavor and to quench a sugar crave. However, there is a solution to this smoothie stumble – knowing the healthy alternatives and how to incorporate smoothies into a healthy and balanced diet.

total wellness â–Ş fall 2012


❯ blend up a basic smoothie: Combine whole fruits and vegetables for vitamins and fiber, while either adding healthy protein, fat, or both to remain full throughout your study session or shift. Try adding seeds – like flaxseeds or chia seeds – or nut butters, such as peanut, almond, and cashew; they provide a healthy dose of fat, protein, flavor, and texture to your smoothie. You’ll stay fuller longer without skimping on taste!

❯ blend up a breakfast on the go: Utilizing the elements of a balanced meal – carbs, fiber, fat, and protein – a smoothie will fill you up and keep you satiated longer. Add fibrous foods like fruits and vegetables, and proteins - milks, yogurt, protein powders – with nut butter, seeds, flaxseed oil, ground flaxseeds, or avocados for heart healthy fats. According to a 2002 journal article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, adding fat and fiber contributes to the feeling of fullness after a meal. This can provide sustained energy throughout the morning. For added breakfast flavors and textures, add oatmeal - which also provides fiber - or cinnamon. Then, blend and go.

❯ blend up a post-workout protein punch: After cardio or weight training, a protein-packed smoothie filled with electrolytes is the perfect way to rehydrate the body and help build quality muscle. According to a 2008 study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, adequate dietary protein, including protein supplements – such as whey, egg, or soy protein – in conjunction with weight training increases lean muscle mass, so add a scoop or two to your smoothie. Not into protein powders? Add some greek yogurt instead of normal yogurt for increased protein and tang. You can also add milk, or even tofu, to experiment with the texture of the smoothie. Include coconut water for added electrolytes and flavor.

total wellness ▪ fall 2012

❯ blend up a vitnamin powerhourse: A few bunches of leafy greens - such as spinach, lettuce, and kale – blended with some delicious fruit - like apples or bananas – is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Combine a large quantity of any leafy, green vegetable with a fruit to mask its flavor and create a nutritious mixture. If you add vegetable or fruit juice for increased sweetness, try 100% fruit juices, instead of juice “cocktails” or “drinks” – which are generally filled with unnecessary added sugar or high fructose corn syrup. According to a 2010 study published in Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, characteristics of obesity were found in rats who consumed high fructose corn syrup compared to rats given the same caloric intake of sucrose.


Yearning for a sweet treat to satiate that sugar craving without excess or nutrition void calories?

Always forget to take your vitamins or fail to meet the minimum recommended intake of five servings of fruits and veggies a day?

❯ blend up a quick nutritious sweet fix: Smoothies can be the perfect, healthy option to satiate a sweet tooth while contributing to your recommended daily servings of nutritious fruits, vitamins, and minerals. Choose primarily fresh or frozen fruit, since it provides fiber to keep you satisfied longer. Flavored yogurts also provide sweetness naturally – just make sure you look at the ingredients list. If you are going to add sugar, add agave syrup; it is lower on the glycemic index scale, meaning it causes less of a spike in blood sugar, so you’re less likely to feel hungry soon after the smoothie. t w

barbro bergfeldt/istockphoto; alasdairjames/istockphoto; right: mayamo/istockphoto

Looking for a protein pick-meup and to refuel after a workshot?

In too much of a hurry to prepare a balanced breakfast?

left: burwellphotography/istockphoto; amriphoto/istockphoto; svetlana foote/istockphoto;

Need a quick snack to remain full and focused amidst studying and work?

green smoothie

tropical breeze

sweet veggie smoothie




1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk 1 cup frozen pineapple 1 teaspoon shredded coconut or coconut milk 1/2 cup frozen blueberries 1 cup unflavored or vanilla protein powder

1 cup apple juice 1 cup sliced apple 1/4 cup applesauce 1/2 cup sliced carrots 1/2 cup cucumber (peeled & sliced) 2 cups ice dash of nutmeg or cinnamon (optional)

Put all of the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve.


Mix in a blender for 30 seconds.

Blend this vegetable smoothie until smooth. Adding the nutmeg and cinnamon will give it great fragrance.

TD’s fat burner

TD’s quickie

Dr. Chris Mohr’s blueberry blast




1 large orange, peeled & segmented 1/2 of a large banana, cut into chunks 6 large strawberries 2 cups spinach 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt 1 cup ice

12 ounces water or unsweetened almond milk 2 scoops egg white powder or whey protein isolate 8 strawberries 1 tablespoon raw almond butter or ground flaxseed 6 ice cubes


6 ounces water, juice, or almond milk 1 scoop egg white powder or whey protein isolate 6 ice cubes


Shake, stir, or blend, and enjoy!


1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk 1 frozen banana (peel before freezing) 1/2 cup blueberries 1 scoop unflavored or vanilla protein powder


Mix in a blender for 30 seconds.

Mix in a blender for 30 seconds.


total wellness ▪ fall 2012



eat right

a look inside

boba milk tea by lawrence liem | design by karin yuen

Boba milk tea is a unique beverage; not only special in its

left daniel reiter istockphoto right daniel reiter istockphoto com


: / ; : / . Elena Elisseeva/ISTOCKPHOTO

total wellness â–Ş fall 2012

consistency and flavor, but also in the speed with which it has become popular, especially in LA. Boba tea originated in Taiwan during the mid-1980s, when a small tea vendor began experimenting with different fruit flavors. Since then, it has spread like wildfire, becoming a trendy drink alongside the ranks of kombucha or cold-pressed juices. The real question is, what exactly is in a boba drink, and is it healthy?

ingredients Although there are variations of what is added in bubble tea such as the type of cream used and the flavoring, the primary ingredients are tea, tapioca, sugar, and food colorings. ❯ tapioca: Tapioca is a starch made from cassava roots and it is often used as a staple crop similar to the potato in countries throughout Africa and Asia. Aside from being high in calories, there is minimal fiber, fat, and protein. The amount of vitamins and minerals in the ingredient is negligible. ❯ tea: The more common types of tea used in boba milk tea are green tea and black tea. Other types also include coffee and jasmine tea. A 2011 review article published in Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects summarized the health benefits of tea including its ability to assist in lowering cholesterol, reducing the risk of diabetes, and burning calories. These benefits can be attributed to the polyphenols, of which epigallocatechin-3-gallate (ECGC) is the most abundant. Normally, the more processed the tea, the less ECGC there is. Since green tea is less fermented, it has higher amounts (about 33% more) of polyphenols than black tea. ❯ sugar: The sugar added to boba tea varies depending on the type being made. They include but are not limited to honey, regular table sugar, and fruit-flavored syrup. The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of added sugar you consume to no more than half of your daily discretionary calories allowance. For most American women, that’s no more than 100 calories a day, or about six teaspoons of sugar. For men, it’s 150 calories per day, or about nine teaspoon of sugar. Usually, in a 16 oz cup of bubble tea, there can be as many as ten teaspoons of sugar added, which is about 160 calories, much higher than the recommended limit. ❯ food colorings: How safe are these compounds? Linda Katz, MD, MPH, Director of the Office of Cosmetics and Colors in FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) states “There is no such thing as absolute safety of any substance. In the case of a new color additive, FDA determines if there is a reasonable certainty of no harm under the color additive’s proposed conditions of use.” Bubble tea (usually fruit flavored tea) may contain these coloring agents depending on the type of drink a person purchases. Thus, adverse reactions to food colorings are rare but possible.

calorie content A typical 16 oz boba milk tea contains about 300 to 350 calories. According to the Food and Drug Administration, since an average person consumes three meals a day, this beverage is almost half a meal all on its own. Carol Chen, MS, RD – a registered dietitian from the UCLA Ashe Center – advises people about discretionary calories. “It is like allowances. First, you spend your calories to meet the recommended intake for necessary nutrients such as protein, carbohydrate, fats, vitamins and minerals from a variety of food groups and any leftover calories needed to help you maintain your weight can be spent elsewhere. This allowance can be increased through physical activities.” So how should bubble tea be treated? According to Chen, it should be treated like a dessert. “Too much added sugars and excess calories can outweigh the benefits of antioxidants coming from tea. It is okay to have desserts once in a while, but a treat is not a treat anymore if you have it too much or too often.” Just like with many things, the safest way to enjoy bubble tea is through moderation. t w


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❯ diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP): DEHP is a plasticizer often used in the medical industry, such as in the manufacturing of tubings because it makes plastics more flexible. In bubble tea, DEHP is used to give the drink a more cloudy appearance. According to a 2001 study published in American Journal of Industrial Medicine, studies have linked DEHP to adverse effects on the heart, lungs, and kidneys. In the same study on mice, DEHP has been found to affect the liver and sperm production in rats which delays their maturity. Patients who use tubing such as dialysis and hemophiliac patients are at most risk of being exposed to DEHP. Even more concerning

is the possible exposure to human fetuses when they are at a critical stage of development. Humans process DEHP differently from rats and mice so the effects may not be the same. Still, with the effects it has on mice, the possibility of the compound causing any adverse effects on humans cannot be ruled out. According to a public health statement by the CDC Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, ingested DEHP is poorly absorbed and leaves the body in the feces, but on the side of caution, “EPA has determined that DEHP is a probable human carcinogen.”

eat right


Eating in Westwood by jennifer miskabi | design and illustration by coco liu

beautiful Westwood Village can be extremely convenient and exceptionally delicious. Many restaurants in the village offer inexpensive and enormous meals that both satisfy your cravings and keep you full. Unfortunately, what many people do not know is that one restaurant meal can pack in almost a day’s worth of calories, fat, and sodium. If an uninformed consumer constantly makes unhealthy choices, eating out on a regular basis can be quite detrimental to his or her health. In fact, a 2005 study published in the American Journal of Public Health suggests that restaurant consumers generally underestimate the calorie content of their unhealthy meals by 642 calories!


As an informed customer, you can still eat all the foods you love, at all the restaurants you love, without exposing yourself to a harmful amount of calories and hidden fat. When dining at these famous Westwood Village restaurants and fast food chains, follow these simple guidelines to cut down on calories, fat, and sodium without feeling deprived or unsatisfied. Making healthy substitutions and nutritious swaps at restaurants can go a long way for your health. The best part is, you won’t even notice the difference, except maybe in your pants size.

illustrations by coco liu

total wellness ▪ fall 2012

With the variety of choices, eating out in the

craving mexican food? Despite Chipotle’s reputation for using fresh ingredients, making the wrong dietary choices at this famous fast-food Mexican restaurant can take a toll on one’s waistline. It is quite easy to go overboard with the variety of choices at Chipotle, causing you to potentially consume 40 g of fat in just one sitting. Although Chipotle's menu includes overstuffed burritos and massive salads, the ability to completely customize your order makes it a great option for a healthy lunch. You can still feast on a delicious and nutritious Mexican meal by making wise choices along the way. The table below gives an example. On the exterior, a chicken burrito may not look like such a bad option. However, with a whopping 1,015 calories, 39 g of fat, and 2,170 mg of sodium this burrito is not the best option for health-conscious individuals. The burrito contains half a day’s calories for most average male adults, an unnecessary amount of fat, as well as most of the recommended daily allowance of sodium. It is quite easy, however, to create replacements and modify this meal to a healthy one.

avoid: Chipotle’s Chicken Burrito with lettuce, white rice, black beans, sour cream, cheese, and tomato salsa 1,015 calories 39 g fat 2,170 mg sodium topic

avoid: Chipotle’s chicken burrito Creating simple replacements like a bowl instead of a tortilla, vegetables instead of sour cream and cheese, and green tomatillo salsa instead of tomato salsa saves you half the calories, two-thirds of the fat, and half the amount of sodium, all while keeping you full and satisfying your Mexican food cravings.

try: A Burrito Bowl with chicken, lettuce, brown rice, black beans, fajita vegetables, and green tomatillo salsa 505 calories 12 g fat 1,170 mg sodium


say “CHEESE” BJ’s Brewery in Westwood Village is known for its delicious Chicagostyle pizzas, as well as other scrumptious menu items. While occasionally indulging in pizza isn’t detrimental to your health, making pizza a regular part of your diet is an unhealthy habit if you are not careful with the choice of toppings and crust. By refraining from the refined-flour and processed meat versions of pizzas, you can enjoy a guilt-free BJ’s pizza, a healthy alternative to satisfy your cheesy cravings. A small slice of BJ’s new Gourmet Five Meat Pizza contains about 275 calories, and that’s just one slice. Toppings such as meatballs, pepperoni, oven roasted ham, salami, Italian sausage and Parmesan cheese, load the Gourmet Five Meat Pizza with a high amount of saturated fat and cholesterol which are associated with health problems if consumed in excess. For example, to create a healthier pizza-eating experience, avoid stuffed-crust or thick crust pizza and instead opt for a thinner crust, which has fewer calories and fat. Furthermore, you should try to simplify your pizza by avoiding meat toppings such as pepperoni and salami, which are high in both fat and sodium.

avoid: BJ’s five meat pizza You do not have to be committed to a gluten-free diet to enjoy a slice or two of this mouthwatering pizza. Switching to a thin crust pizza, like this one, reduces the consumption of refined white flours that offer little fiber or nutrients. At only 126 calories per slice, you can consume two whole slices of BJ’s Gluten-Free Thin Crust Cheese Pizza for fewer calories than only one slice of the Gourmet Five Meat Pizza.

try: BJ’s Gluten-Free Thin Crust Cheese Pizza

273 to 278 calories per slice of a small pizza

126 calories per slice of a small pizza


total wellness ▪ fall 2012

avoid: BJ’s Gourmet Five Meat Pizza

salads galore Most of the time, health-conscious consumers order a salad in an effort to make a healthy choice. However, what people do not always know is that a salad can actually be one of the worst choices on the menu, packing in loads of unexpected calories, fat, and sodium. When ordering a salad at the well-known California Pizza Kitchen in Westwood Village, you should check the nutrition facts to make smart choices. For example, try to avoid croutons, ditch the heavy salad dressings, and stay away from massive portions, all of which add unnecessary calories. Instead, load up on vegetables and fruit, opt for a lighter dressing, and do not be shy to ask your server about the contents of your salad. The hefty Full Waldorf Chicken Salad, like many other salads at California Pizza Kitchen, is loaded with hidden calories and an unexpected amount of fat. With field greens, grapes, apples, and celery, the Waldorf Chicken Salad may sound like a healthy choice when in reality, it is among one of the least healthy options on the menu. The reason? The huge portion size and creamy dressing it is drenched in. When a salad is as large as this one, it contains more candied walnuts, Gorgonzola cheese, and caloric blue cheese dressing, which create a salad that takes up three-quarters of your daily allotment of calories.

avoid: CPK’s full waldorf chicken salad The tasty Half Moroccan Chicken Salad, which is tossed with a lighter champagne vinaigrette, contains fruits and vegetables from every color of the spectrum. With butternut squash, dates, avocado, beets, carrots, dried cranberries, and bell peppers, it’s impossible to get bored of this flavorful salad. Make sure to order a half-sized portion instead of the full-sized portion; with 11 g of fiber, it is still generous enough to keep you satisfied.

avoid: California Pizza Kitchen’s Full Waldorf Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

try: California Pizza Kitchen’s Half Moroccan

1,347 calories 28 g saturated fat 1,994 mg sodium pic

685 calories 6 g saturated fat 520 mg sodium

Chicken Salad

that’s what a hamburger’s all about There is a common misconception that a burger joint, serving French fries and hamburgers, does not offer healthy options. As a result, many conscientious eaters avoid burger joints such as In-N-Out for fear of ruining their efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The truth is, you do not have to give up your favorite foods to maintain a nutritious diet, and you can still indulge in the occasional burger by creating replacements to modify your burger from calorie-laden to caloriesmart.


The protein style option at In-N-Out, which is a burger wrapped in lettuce leaves instead of a bun, is proof that you do not need to forgo your fast food cravings to be healthy. The key to grabbing nutritious fast food is to swap and substitute for smarter options (even ones that aren’t officially listed on the menu). The protein style burger, for example, saves you 150 calories. Also, it might be a good idea to avoid the special spread at In-N-Out, which packs unwanted fat and calories, and instead use ketchup and mustard, saving you even more useless calories and unwanted grams of fat. t w

avoid: In-N-Out Double Double Hamburger with onion and French Fries

try: In-N-Out Protein Style Hamburger with onion

1,065 calories 59 g fat 1645 mg sodiumic

240 calories 17 g fat 370 mg sodium

left: illustrations by coco liu

total wellness ▪ fall 2012

With over half the recommended calories allowed per day as well as ample fat and sodium, an In-N-Out Double Double Hamburger with fries is not necessarily the best choice for an individual looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle. When eating at a burger joint, your best bet is to avoid the oversized double-style hamburgers, and instead opt for a single patty burger. Furthermore, skip the fries altogether, eliminating 395 calories, 18 g of fat and 245 mg of sodium from the meal.

avoid: In-N-Out’s double double

The Ashe Center | Student Health and Wellness

Welcome Bruins! Visit us!

Bruin Plaza: Across from Ackerman Union, next to the John Wooden Center

Hours of Operation

Mon - Thurs: 8am - 6:30pm Friday: 9am - 6:30pm Walk-in Urgent Care: 1pm - 6:30pm After hours 24/7 Nurseline (877) 351-3457

The Ashe Center is closed all nights, weekends, and University Holidays.

Schedule an appointment

Online: By Phone: (310) 825-4073, option 1, 1 In Person: Scheduling desk on the 1st Floor


total wellness â–Ş fall 2012

left: elena elisseeeva/istockphoto; illustrations by chloe booher


e th s d of ar en s az ft th th h o wi d e t t on he we r m of t le kin dra rge h i s y fo c he u h er e h oo e m m ar W ur eb ar w . o ep y, w s lo a e w a n a u d k ch l t d s e re r s ie by n th a e sh to the ju io y at g n m g re tr in a um to nd in ui us r a q ill ur , m s r u e d e r , d D r e a b an n ye th m en ds es ig e i e es of m cr qu ey |d re ns li ur . r ba su ith o ion co w at ct e es th t ie o ul pr yj


total wellness â–Ş fall 2012

body in focus

The sun radiates light, in the form of ultraviolet (UV) rays, to the Earth. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun may cause damage to the eyes, affecting surface tissues and internal structures like the lens and cornea, the clear layer covering the front of the eye. Dr. Bruce P. Rosenthal OD, Chief of Low Vision Programs at Lighthouse International, states that “only one in six Americans wear sunglasses when they are in the sun for long periods of time, yet people who spend excessive hours in the sun have an increased risk later in life of developing related eye conditions.” Everyone, regardless of age, can be affected by UV light. Short-term effects are most common, but increased exposure to the sun may cause long-term and permanent damage.

what are the risks? Short-term effects include temporary eye irritation and photokeratitis. Photokeratitis, also known as “snow blindness,” is an inflammation of the cornea caused by overexposure to UV radiation. Without protection, long periods of exposure to the sun and reflections off snow, water, or concrete and artificial lighting can cause a temporary but painful burn. Photokeratitis can be described as a sunburn in the cornea, analogous to a sunburn on your skin. Symptoms include red eyes, extreme sensitivity to light, excessive tearing, and an uncomfortable sensation in the eyes. Luckily, this event is temporary and rarely causes long-lasting damage. Long-term effects related to the eye include cataracts, pterygium, and skin cancer. Cataracts are a cloudiness in the eye that can cause blurred vision. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 22.3 million Americans have cataracts, and an annual $6.8 billion is directly attributed to the treatment of cataracts. Exposure to UV radiation over the course of many years may lead to an increased risk of developing a cataract and can cause damage to the retina. Pterygium is an abnormal (non-cancerous) growth found in the corner of the eye that can impair one’s vision and may need surgery to be removed. UV light is also a risk factor for the development of chronic eye diseases and skin cancer around the eyelids. The most common form is basal cell carcinoma, the leading form of more than 90% of eyelid cancers. However, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma do occur as well and require immediate treatment.

photokeratitis can be described as a sunburn in the cornea, analogous to a sunburn on your skin.

what can you do? To minimize the risk of harmful effects by UV radiation, there are simple steps you can follow to actively guard your eyes. ❯ wear proper sunglasses. It may seem like a trivial act, but according to Dr. Rosenthal, wearing sunglasses is “vital because they keep certain wavelengths of light from entering the eye. They can also reduce the amount of light entering the eye, protect against harmful UV light, decrease glare and increase contrast.” ❯ avoid long periods of direct sunlight between 10 am – 4 pm. At this time of day the sun is at its highest

and therefore strongest. While most sun exposure is prolonged during days at the beach, picnics at the park, skiing in the mountains, etc. most sun damage occurs during day-to-day activities. Consequently, it is important to be mindful of the sun and the presence of invisible UV rays all day, every day. ❯ wear sunglasses and hats even on cloudy days. While it may seem hard to believe, UV rays can still cause significant damage even on cloudy, cool, or overcast days. UV rays travel through the clouds and reflect off of sand, water, and concrete. Clouds and pollution do not filter out UV rays and often give a false sense of protection. Long-term cumulative effects of UV light penetrating through cloud cover can cause major damage later in life.

unlike UVC rays, UVA and UVB rays are not blocked by the ozone layer from reaching the earth’s surface and can have adverse effects on eyes and vision.


total wellness ▪ fall 2012

people who spend excessive hours in the sun have an increased risk later in life of developing related eye conditions.

UVC rays are the highest-energy rays with the shortest wavelength (100-280 nm).

here’s what to look for! ❯ make sure to buy sunglasses that block 99-100 percent of UVA & UVB rays. UV rays are separated into

•M ind -Bo dy •

Nut ritio n

three categories: UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVC rays are the highestenergy rays with the shortest wavelength (100-280 nm). While exposure to UVC rays could be the most harmful to your eyes, the ozone layer blocks UVC rays from reaching the Earth’s surface. Unlike UVC rays, UVA and UVB rays are not blocked by the ozone layer from reaching theinearth’s surface and can have e dic Me UVB rays have lower energy adverse effects on eyes and vision. e s e hin •C than UVC rays but longer wavelengths (280-315 nm). These arch Rese • e r Ca h t l rays are the most common form of UV rays that immediately a e H Wellness • affect the surface layer of the eye, contributing to pterygia and photokeratitis. UVA rays have the lowest energy but the longest wavelengths, the closest to visible light rays. UVA rays can penetrate beneath the surface of the cornea, damaging the lens and retina. UVA exposure is linked to the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), resulting in impaired vision.

❯ look for wraparound glasses, preferably tinted neutral gray, amber, brown, or green. It is best to

avoid blue tinted lenses as blue is known to emit UV rays rather than block them.

❯ be sure to wear a wide-brimmed hat or visor (3”), which will help block the sun from reaching your eyes. ❯ ask your doctor about UV protected contact lenses. However, contact lenses should only be used as a secondary level of defense and not as a primary means of protection.

Not only is it important to take precautionary measures to protect eyes from sun damage, but it is also equally important to see a professional eye doctor for other eye-related diseases and treatment. Annual eye exams are recommended for everyone at all ages. t w

24 Follow us for Ashe Alerts, wellness tips, and chances to win prizes!

right: aleksandar nakic/istockphoto

total wellness ▪ fall 2012

remember, early detection is critical

total wellness ❯❯ on the cover

total wellness ▪ fall 2012

"The body is like a piano, and happiness is like music. It is needful to have the instrument in good order." – Henry ward beecher (1813 - 1887)



Reconsider How Much You Sit – It May Be a Life-Saver


original illustrations by rebecca wang

total wellness â–Ş fall 2012

by harini kompella | illustration and design by rebecca wang

How much of your day is spent sitting? Think about all the hours spent sitting in class, sitting during meals, watching TV, and studying. In fact, the Institute for Medicine and Public Health found that the average American spends 56 hours a week sitting. This is particularly alarming, as studies continue to show that sitting for long periods of time, particularly in front of the computer, is potentially a major contributor to health problems. Researchers are specifically exploring the relation between sitting and increased neck strain, greater intensity of headaches, increased risk of obesity and diabetes, increased risk of cancer, and how these consequences contribute to higher mortality. So, get up from your chair and read on to learn about the health risks of sitting and what you can do to avoid them.

Obesity & Diabetes

Cancer Risk

The human body was not made to accommodate long periods of sitting. As Rishi Loatey, of the British Chiropractic Association states, “Our bodies are not designed to be so sedentary.” In fact, today’s culture of planting ourselves in front of the computer has led to an increase in reported pain in the neck-shoulder area and the lower back. According to a 2006 study published in the European Journal of Public Health, the escalated use of computers, as part of information and communication technology, has been found to have a positive correlation to neck-shoulder pain and lower back pain in adolescents. The particular position we sit in while using the computer can further contribute to the intensity of pain, as well as fatigue. For example, if you keep your neck and head tilted in an unnatural angle, such as to the side, some neck muscles get worked more than others, meaning uneven muscle use and thus greater fatigue for your neck and greater localized pain. Additionally, a sedentary lifestyle leads to a weakening of core muscles, causing back pain and strain. Computer use encourages slouching over, affecting one’s overall posture, which is why pain and incorrect positioning starts at the neck, but these symptoms work their way down throughout the back .

It may make logical sense that inactivity leads to weight gain, but the extent to which a sedentary lifestyle contributes to obesity and diabetes has only recently been explored. Studies performed by the American Cancer Society have linked extended periods of sitting with an increased risk of obesity. Furthermore, according to a 2011 study published in the European Heart Journal, those who spend more time sitting without taking breaks in between to even just stand up, have a larger average waist circumference and higher levels of “bad” cholesterol. The observable correlation between obesity and sedentary work is global. A 2005 study from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found a statistically significant relationship between longer occupational sitting time and the risk of being overweight among working Australian men. The American Cancer Society has additionally found a link between sitting for prolonged hours and type II diabetes.

Not only has a lack of activity been tied to obesity and diabetes, but it has also been studied in the field of cancer research. According to a 2011 study conducted by Alberta Health Services-Cancer Care of Canada, increased physical inactivity common in today’s culture may be responsible for 173,000 cases of cancer each year, with as many as 49,000 of those cases being breast cancer and 43,000 as colon cancer. The study further found that there are an estimated 37,200 cases of lung cancer, 30,600 cases of prostate cancer, 12,000 cases of endometrial cancer, and 1,800 cases of ovarian cancer. According to a 2011 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the risk of bowel cancer has been found to almost double after spending ten years working in front of a computer. This apparent correlation between an increased cancer risk and longer periods of inactivity could be attributed to higher levels of C-reactive protein in the body, which can cause inflammation, harm cells and possibly increase one’s risk of cancer.


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Neck Strain & Back Pain

Combating the Health Consequences: Recommendations There are plenty of ways to slow down the health risks of prolonged sitting. Position, position, position: Whether using a desktop, laptop, or even an iPad, it is crucial that you use the correct posture.

relaxed shoulders

Keep your shoulders relaxed and held back, with your arms straight. Using an arm rest may help prevent slouching, but make sure it does not make you scrunch up your shoulders. When using an iPad flat on a table or on your lap, various neck muscles are flexed at excessively low angles for longer periods of time, according to a study published in Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment, and Rehabilitation. It is best to place your tablet on a table at its highest angle, and to even consider attaching a keyboard if typing is needed.

knees slightly below hips


original illustrations by rebecca wang

total wellness ▪ fall 2012

Your knees should be just slightly below your hips. If your knees are higher, your chair is likely too low, and if your knees are lower, your chair is probably too high. Adjust your chair accordingly.

eyes 20-40” away from screen

Sit between 20 and 40 inches away from your screen, making sure your head and torso are upright and your back is supported, preferably by a chair. Eyes should be almost level with the top of the computer screen, or top third of the monitor. That way, when moving your eyes to the bottom of the screen, your neck will not be strained. If using multiple screens, look at each screen straight on, to avoid uneven muscle use. Make sure that the monitors are not more than 35° to the left or right. Consider making extra room on your desk to follow these tips (a flat-panel display or an iPad can be great for this purpose).

Additional Tips ❯ Take frequent breaks to stretch and walk. Get that exercise in even during your computer time. Monitor how long you’re sitting during a given time period. Stretch your whole body, including your neck, legs, arms, and even your fingers and wrists. Consider using a timer or alarm as a reminder to take a break every hour or two, especially if you anticipate a great amount of computer-related work. Use your break time to not only stretch, but also to take short walks. Walking has been found to renew one’s energy and concentration, and in turn, actually improve one’s overall work productivity. ❯ Stretch regularly. Get that exercise in even during your computer time. Monitor how long you’re sitting during a given time period. ❯ Stretch your whole body, including your neck, legs, and arms. ❯ Get up and stay standing when the phone rings. ❯ Take your eyes off the screen every so often and/or adjust the brightness every once in a while.

support your back

If your chair does not have lower-back support built in, place a pillow or pillow roll behind your lower back. This should be done to maintain the lower back’s natural reverse-C shaped curve. When using a laptop, sit in a slightly reclined position and have your laptop positively tilted. This positioning keeps the keys lower and the screen at an optimal height. Also, consider using an external keyboard and mouse for prolonged work periods, and try using laptops with larger screens.

❯ Complete your work standing up if convenient. Consider, for example, placing your computer on a crate. ❯ Drink plenty of water. Water increases your overall activity level and alertness.

The Bottom Line It has become evident that staying sedentary for most of the day, even if you get some exercise in, is less than ideal. Practicing such inactivity increases one’s risk of a variety of health concerns, from headaches to cancer. A large study conducted by the American Cancer Society, which studied the health outcomes of 123,316 people during a 14-year period, found that women who sat for more than six hours a day had about a 40% higher chance of death than those who sat fewer than three hours a day. For men under the same parameters, the increased risk was about 20%. So get up from your chair as much as possible and know that you are doing wonders for your health! t w

Your feet need to be firmly placed on the ground, with both your feet and ankle joints at 90° angles.


total wellness ▪ fall 2012

feet firm and flat on the ground


is brown the new white? by sofia levy | design by barbara wong

It is a commonly held belief that “brown” foods, such as brown grain foods, eggs and sugar are better than their white counterparts. However, not all brown foods are healthier or have added health benefits. Let’s take a look at these foods and whether or not color is really an indication of health.

bread “Brown bread” encompasses breads that are whole-grain, whereas white bread is processed and refined, so there is less of the grain and its nutrients. In whole-grain foods, the grains have all three nutritionally valuable layers: the bran (outer shell), endosperm, and germ. These layers contain fiber, minerals, phytonutrients, and 13 different vitamins. Therefore, 100% whole grains contain all three grain layers and are thought to have more nutrients than white foods, which are refined and processed and the grains’ layers are diminished. Examples of whole-grain breads include whole-wheat bread, whole-grain rye bread, 12-grain bread, and sprouted-grain bread. It is important to note that a bread may be “brown,” but it does not indicate more health benefits, high nutrients such as fiber, or a high whole-grain content. Therefore, it is important to avoid buying bread just because it is darker in color and assuming it has a great nutritional profile. In addition, although nutrients are lost in the refining process of white breads, beneficial nutrients are later added back into the bread, hence the term “enriched” flour. Thus, despite the common notion, white bread is not nutritionally void.


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pasta Like bread, there are various types of unrefined, whole-grain pasta. Whole-grain pastas are “brown” pastas and usually include all three layers of the wheat kernel, containing more fiber and micronutrients than refined pastas which are “white”. In fact, because of the extra fiber, brown pastas tend to be more filling than traditional white pasta. Other than whole-grain pasta, there is brown rice pasta, a blend of whole wheat and refined flours and pasta made from unique blends of ingredients such as lentils, beans, and flax seeds. While these are not quite the same as 100% whole-grain pasta, they are a more nutrient-dense alternative to refined pasta.


It is important to note that “brown” sugar is refined sugar with added molasses, whereas unrefined raw sugar is also brown in color, but is thicker and crunchy, and not processed. Brown sugar and white sugar are actually not very different nutritionally. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, brown sugar contains about 17 calories per teaspoon, compared with 16 calories per teaspoon for white sugar. Compared to white sugar, brown sugar is only different in its taste and its higher molasses content, hence its brown color. The Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics did a study in 2009 about the antioxidant levels in different sugars and sweeteners. The study concluded that blackstrap and dark molasses had the highest antioxidant content; maple syrup, brown sugar, and honey had an intermediate level of antioxidants; and refined white sugar, agave nectar, and corn syrup had the lowest content of antioxidants. Raw sugar’s antioxidant content fell between the lowest level and intermediate level. *See our Spring 2010, Issue 3 for more on sugar and other sweeteners!

other great alternatives to refined grains: rice According to WebMD and a 2006 study from the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, brown rice has more phytonutrients and a lower glycemic index (raises blood glucose levels less quickly) than various types of white rice. This is likely because brown rice is less processed, and the grain layers require more chewing, and slower digestion, therefore delaying the rice’s impact on blood sugar levels. Not to mention, the refining process results in loss of fiber, vitamins, magnesium and other minerals, lignans, phytoestrogens, and phytic acid, many of which may be protective factors for diabetes risk. In a 2010 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, regular consumption of white rice was linked to a higher risk of type II diabetes, whereas brown rice intake was associated with lower risk. In addition, replacing white rice intake with the same amount of brown rice or whole grains was associated with a lower risk.

❯ quinoa According to a 2009 study published in Advances in Food and Nutrition Research, quinoa is a pseudocereal or pseudograin that is acclaimed for its amazing nutritional properties and protein content. Quinoa is unique in that it has a high protein content of 15% that balances perfectly with amino acids, increasing nutrients’ absorption. These nutrients include vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acids as well as other minerals and vitamins, and phytochemicals.

❯ oats While a 2012 study in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research admits that oats’ effects on health besides cholesterol levels is still under investigation, it claims that oats lower cholesterol levels due to their soluble fibers and phytochemicals. With their ability to improve cholesterol levels, oats promote cardiovascular health.

eggs Eggs can differ nutritionally in their fatty acid content, yolk to white ratio, and amount of edible portion. However, this variation does not occur due to their color, but rather from the type and care of the chickens from which they come (caged vs. free-range, naturally nested, unmedicated, vegetarian, etc.). Eggs’ qualities vary among different brands who employ these different maintenance methods.

the bottom line


total wellness ▪ fall 2012

While some brown, whole-grain foods are certainly healthier than white, refined foods, this may not be the case with all brown foods compared to white foods. With foods such as eggs and sugar, brown versus white makes little difference. Overall, brown is not necessarily “the new white,” and it is important to look at each food individually for not just its color but for its nutritional value and contents. tw

❯ millet The Journal of Pharmacy and BioAllied Sciences claimed in 2011 that millets (including finger millet, foxtail millet, prosomillet and khodomillet) are staples in the diets of a third of the world's population. This is great, since a study showed that all of the four millets mentioned above contain high levels of phytochemicals and other compounds which prevent deterioration of human health. The Journal of the American College of Nutrition conducted a study in 2000 showing that phytochemicals’ antioxidants and benefit on lipoproteins help the body defend against disease and keep up colon function in particular.


wake up and smell the coffee: the health effects of caffeine by leslie chang | design by barbara wong

Many college students enjoy,


anthia cumming/istockphoto

total wellness â–Ş fall 2012

and even rely on, caffeine for an energy boost. And while consumers may consider themselves experts on the subject, there is a wide range of research that investigates the health effects, both positive and negative, of caffeine. Any coffee drinker can attest to the fact that caffeine works as a stimulant and restores alertness to the body, but the effects are more complicated than that. So, whether you use RedBull as your go-to study aid, or simply enjoy a cup of joe in the morning, you may be surprised to learn about caffeine, the most commonly used drug.

what is caffeine? Used in copious amounts by many college students, caffeine is found in a variety of sources and is heralded for its stimulating abilities. Caffeine is an alkaloid, found in plants and extracted for use in ubiquitous beverages like coffee, tea, soft drinks and energy drinks worldwide. Caffeine acts on the central nervous system (CNS), which integrates all the information received from the brain, spinal cord and the peripheral nervous system. Caffeine in particular increases energy metabolism in brain cells, or neurons, which results in the increased alertness people feel after drinking a caffeinated beverage. This alertness may have long-term benefits for the neurons in your brain as well. A 2012 study published in Neuroscience has found that chronic caffeine consumption in rats mediates the cognitive decline that is associated with old age. These rats were given a low dose of caffeine daily from their youth until middle age. Their memory was tested using a variety of tools including mazes and they had a diminutive decline in performance compared to a control group of rats. Although this was observed in a different species, it is still an interesting finding, especially for the many people who depend on daily caffeine intake. In addition, in a study about human caffeine consumption, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, there was statistical evidence that showed an inverse trend between drinking coffee and mortality. Although there is no proof that coffee caused the decrease in mortality, this does seem to show that caffeine can positively affect the body.

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what are the benefits of caffeine?

what are the risks of caffeine?

Caffeine could do more than just keep people alert. Read on to uncover the lesser known benefits of caffeine.

Of course, not all the effects of caffeine are positive.

› In a 2012 study published in the Journal of Sports Science, men who lived a sedentary lifestyle had the ability to do more exercise without perceiving an increase in effort when they ingested caffeine prior to a workout. So before hitting the gym, an exercise regime might benefit from a cup of coffee to stay alert and help the body to work out harder. › In addition, a 2009 study from the University of Madrid, has suggested that coffee consumption may reduce the risk of stroke in women. Thus, coffee can also help decrease potential brain damage after a stroke.

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› Another benefit may come from a recent study in 2012 published in Cancer Research, which suggests that coffee reduces the risk of a specific type of skin cancer called Basal Cell Carcinoma.


› When too much caffeine is consumed, a disorder titled “caffeine intoxication” can occur. This tends to result after people consume more than 250 mg of caffeine or two to three cups of coffee are consumed within a short span of time. This effect has been categorized by the Walter Reed Army Medical Center as demonstration of five or more of the following signs: restlessness, nervousness, excitement, insomnia, flushed face, increased urination, muscle twitching, rambling flow of thought and speech, irregular heartbeat and/or periods of inexhaustibility . › The beverages that combine caffeine and alcohol can be extremely dangerous; people who consume these drinks are at risk of becoming more intoxicated than those who drink alcohol alone because caffeine can cover-up the effects of alcohol and prevent individuals from discerning how drunk they actually are. In particular, drinks like Four Loko, which mixed caffeine and alcohol, resulted in many incidents of hospitalization or even death. Currently Four Loko has removed caffeine from their ingredients due to safety concerns from the FDA, different State Departments, and universities. › Caffeine can interfere with certain medications such as drugs that regulate heart rhythm, including quinidine and propanolol (Inderal). Also, caffeine can impede iron absorption in the human body. So it is important to make sure that consuming caffeine does not negatively impact medication or your body’s needs.

left: gabor izso/istockphoto, right: craftvision/istockphoto; evgeny karandaev/ istockphoto; studiocasper/istockphoto; peregrina/istockphoto

› One exciting avenue of research is the benefits of caffeine consumption for physical exercise. In a 2012 study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, caffeine was shown to enhance highintensity exercise because of decreased muscle pain perception and enhanced muscular strength. Therefore, caffeine could do more than just keep you awake; it could help dull pain receptors as well. This positive effect on performance was mirrored in a similar study involving high-intensity cycling performance. In addition, this pertains not only to well-trained athletes but also people who don’t exercise on a daily basis.

› Consuming too much caffeine, particularly at night, might cause sleep deprivation.

common sources of caffeine

hidden sources of caffeine

ENERGY DRINKS: Nutritional labels for mainstream energy drinks such as Red Bull, Monster, and Rockstar state that there is approximately 80 mg of caffeine per serving. However, in addition to caffeine, energy drinks also contain many additives such as taurine, ginseng, guarana, yerba mate, and cacoa, which can increase the caffeine amount present.

› DECAF COFFEE: It might be hard to believe, but decaf coffee does still have some caffeine; in a 2007 study in Consumer Reports, about 20 mg was found in some decaffeinated coffees. This is because the refining process is not entirely efficient, and some caffeine may still be leftover afterward.

TEA: Tea is often separated into two groups: black and green tea. The distinction between these two is not the type of plant, but rather how the leaves are processed. Black teas including Fujian Reds, Assam, and Darjeeling are made from oxidized and fermented leaves. Then, the leaves are fired and retain their black color. Green teas like Sencha and Matcha undergo little oxidation during processing and thus have a different flavor compared to black teas. Black teas have a marginally wider variety in caffeine content ranging from 14 to 61 mg per eight oz while green tea contains approximately 24 to 40 mg per eight oz. However, that range can change depending on the specific type of tea leaf and the strength of brewing.

COFFEE: Coffee can vary in caffeine content depending on how it’s made. In a 2010 study from the Journal of Food Science, generic instant coffee had approximately 27 to 173 mg, whereas filtered coffee contained 95 to 200 mg for an eight oz cup. In fact, different brands of coffee have completely different amounts of caffeine; Starbucks Pike’s Place brew contains 330 mg for a 16 oz cup, while McDonald’s brewed coffee contains 100 mg for a 16 oz cup.

› NON-COLA SODAS: Although many people know that sodas like Coca-Cola and Mountain Dew are caffeinated, there are also some non-cola sodas with caffeine, such as Barq’s Root Beer, Sunkist Orange Soda, and A&W Cream Soda. › CHOCOLATE: There are minute traces of caffeine in chocolate, with dark chocolate containing more caffeine than milk chocolate. For example Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Bar contains 31 mg of caffeine. › PAIN RELIEVERS: Many pain relievers contain caffeine, which has been shown to decrease pain. Two Excedrin Migraine tablets contain 130 mg of caffeine, which is about the amount in a cup of instant coffee. Therefore, it is very important to take pain medication following the label’s instructions.


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CAFFEINE PILLS: In addition, caffeine can be found in tablet form and is sometimes used by students studying hard for finals or writing essays. In a 2011 study published in Pharmacopsychiatry, researchers found that approximately 10.5% of the students they surveyed had used caffeine tablets in their lifetime compared to 53.2% of students who have tried coffee in their lifetime. The side effects of caffeine pills are the same as the side effects of getting caffeine from another source. The amount of caffeine found in pills varies from 65 mg in Alka-Seltzer Wake Up Call to 200 mg in Maximum Strength No-Doz. Therefore, caffeine pills can be used as a faster way to take in caffeine. However, it is possible to underestimate dosages because of the compact form of the pill, and therefore consumers should pay attention to how many pills they take in a day. t w


The Science Behind

Energy Drinks by chalisa prarasri | design by amorette jeng

A survey published by the journal Nutrition in 2007


jeff reisdorfer/istockphoto

total wellness â–Ş fall 2012

found that out of the 496 college students surveyed, 51% consumed at least one energy drink per month. With that kind of popularity, it becomes important to take a closer look at energy drinks and glean the truth from the advertising and myths. Can energy drinks really improve physical performance, cognition, and well-being? What ingredients go into them? And most importantly, are they conducive to a healthy lifestyle?

THE RESEARCH The effects of energy drinks as a whole are not yet conclusively agreed upon by the scientific community. Scientists haven't been able to gather data on the long-term effects of consuming energy beverages, and the interactions between the numerous ingredients are not well understood. Here is what they know so far:

caffeine significantly reduced anxiety and self-reported stress following firefighter training when compared to a placebo.

Physical Endurance Several different studies have shown that energy drinks can improve physical endurance. For example, a study published in Amino Acids in 2001 showed that aerobic endurance (ability to maintain 65 to 75% maximum heart rate), and anaerobic endurance (ability to maintain maximum speed) improved significantly in a group of 36 volunteers who consumed Red Bull before exercise.

Mood There is some evidence to suggest that energy drinks can help prevent negative mood changes, especially after mentally or physically taxing tasks. For example, a 2000 study published in Amino Acids evaluated the moods of ten graduate students after a late night of cognitive and physical tests. The students who had been given a placebo drink with no active ingredients reported significantly reduced feelings of well-being, vitality, and social interaction by the end of the night, whereas students who were given an energy drink containing the three main ingredients of Red Bull (caffeine, taurine, and glucuronolactone) earlier in the night showed no significant change in mood. Additionally, in a 2012 study published in Psychopharmacology, an energy drink containing 50 g of glucose and 40 mg of

Concentration and Memory Energy drinks may be able to improve attention and certain types of memory. A study published in Psychopharmacology in 2004 evaluated 20 undergraduates who drank concoctions containing either glucose, caffeine, ginseng, ginkgo biloba, or a whole drink containing all of these ingredients. None of the individual components caused significantly improved cognitive performance, though those who drank the caffeineonly beverage displayed an increase that may be significant with a larger sample size. Those who drank the whole drink displayed significant improvement on a number of cognitive tests, including ones designed to test secondary memory (such as word recall, and word and picture recognition) and quality of attention. According to a 2012 review published by Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, several other studies using generic energy drinks (beverages containing combinations of glucose and caffeine or caffeine and taurine) have also shown that such energy drinks can improve cognition and attention, and reduce self-reported mental fatigue after long periods during which high cognition is required.

Ingredients of Energy Drinks Based on 8.0-8.4 ounce servings* product name Arizona Caution Extreme Energy Shot

ginseng (mg)

taurine (mg)

guarana (mg)

caffeine (mg)

sugar (g)











Full Throttlea






Pimp Juice






Red Bull






Rockstar Energya






Rockstar Juicedb






SoBe Adrenaline Rush






SoBe No Feara






Spike Shooter






* Source: Journal of the American Pharmacists Association a

sold as 16-ounce can


sold as 24-ounce can


total wellness â–Ş fall 2012


THE COMPONENTS Energy drink manufacturers often tout the healthful benefits of the ingredients in their products, but what are these ingredients, and are they actually useful?


Guarana is a rainforest vine whose seeds contain the highest concentration of caffeine of any known plant in the world. Though quite a few researchers contend that the effects of guarana in the levels present in energy drinks are largely due to its caffeine content, a 2007 study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology showed that just 37.5 mg of guarana (containing only 4.5 mg of caffeine) can improve alertness and memory. In fact, this smaller dose was better able to improve cognition than 150 mg and 300 mg doses, indicating that guarana may contain stimulant properties independent of caffeine. Consumers should note that the caffeine content specified on energy drink labels may not include the caffeine content added by the presence of guarana.


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The best-studied of energy drink ingredients, caffeine is a nervous system stimulant and the most commonly used active ingredient in energy drinks. In addition to its well-established ability to improve cognition under conditions of sleep deprivation, caffeine has been shown to be an effective aid to endurance athletics. When taken before or during exercise in moderate quantities, it stimulates active muscles to use fat instead of glycogen (the muscle’s readily available source of energy) as fuel, allowing the body to save the glycogen for later. Glycogen stores are thus depleted less rapidly, giving an athlete more exercise time before exhaustion kicks in. It is important to keep in mind, however, that adverse effects due to caffeine typically manifest after approximately 200 mg (equivalent to about two cans of Red Bull) is consumed. These effects include insomnia, nervousness, headache, irregular and rapid pulse, and nausea.



Simple Sugars

Energy drinks typically contain simple sugars in the form of glucose, sucrose, or high-fructose corn syrup. Simple sugars are a major source of energy for the brain and muscles. Studies have shown that ingesting around 65 g of glucose or other carbohydrates before, during, or after endurance exercise (exercise lasting more than one hour) can postpone fatigue and improve performance without side effects. However, little is known about the effect of simple sugars on more intermittent forms of exercise like competitive sports. However, it is important to keep in mind that over consumption of simple sugars can lead to the intake of excess calories contributing to weight gain and potentially insulin resistance and diabetes. The American Heart Association recommends a maximum of 32 g of added sugar per day for a 2,000 calorie diet, which means that one eightounce energy drink contains the maximum daily dose. That is, someone on a 2,000 calorie diet who consumes one energy drink cannot consume any more added sugar without exceeding their daily maximum.


Glucuronolactone is a substance present in small amounts in the connective tissue of mammals. It is included as part of the “energy blend” in many popular energy drinks, such as Red Bull, Monster, and 5 Hour Energy. Some groups claim that it acts to detoxify the body. However, little research has been conducted using this substance, so scientists have not come to a conclusion about any beneficial or adverse effects.

Taurine is an amino acid that plays an important role in many bodily functions, including skeletal muscle contraction, modulation of the central nervous system, metabolism, and eye function. It also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Healthy adult bodies can produce their own taurine, and it is a normal part of a non-vegan diet. Contrary to rumors, the taurine used in Red Bull, at least, is manufactured synthetically and does not come from bulls. Taurine has also been shown to increase cognitive function when used in conjunction with caffeine. Some human and animal studies have indicated that long-term exposure to taurine in healthy persons may lead to lower blood sugar and decreased risk of heart disease. Few short-term adverse reactions to taurine have been documented in healthy people. Regardless of these results, several studies have concluded that the amounts of taurine present in energy drinks is far lower than what is expected to cause any of the known adverse or beneficial effects.


Ginseng is an herbal supplement that is traditionally believed to improve physical stamina and cognitive function, among numerous other things. However, despite many attempts, scientists have been unable to definitively show that ginseng improves stamina or cognitive function. For example, a study of 38 healthy adults who consumed 2,000 mg (a quantity vastly exceeding the amounts found in any popular energy drink) of ginseng per day for eight days showed no improvement in exercise performance or recovery of heart rate. Of course, the longterm effects of ginseng consumption could be different.

THE DANGERS Facts to keep in mind when choosing to consume energy drinks.

Energy drinks are not sports drinks. Given the claims that energy drinks can improve athletic performance, stores may display energy drinks next to sports drinks, leading people to think that the two drinks serve the same function. They do not. Sports drinks have been shown to aid hydration by supplying electrolytes (minerals that regulate many bodily processes), which are lost through sweating. Energy drinks typically contain high amounts of caffeine, which increases urine output and thus aids in dehydration. Recent research shows, however, that the diuretic effects of caffeine may be reduced in long-term users.

Energy drinks are not regulated by the FDA.

Energy drinks are marketed as “dietary supplements,” which means that manufacturers do not have to follow legal limits on potentially hazardous ingredients such as caffeine. Soft drink manufacturers, conversely, are required by the FDA to keep the caffeine content of their drinks below 71 mg per 12 fluid ounces of soda. Energy drink manufacturers do not need to label how much of each ingredient is present in their beverages, nor are they required to back up their claims with evidence. As a result, energy drinks may contain dangerous amounts of caffeine without listing the amounts present.

Energy drinks do not negate the effects of alcohol.


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A 2006 study published in Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research found that young adults who drank a mixture of Red Bull and vodka felt significantly less head pain, weakness, and motor impairment compared to those who drank only alcohol. Those who drank the Red Bull-vodka, however, did not score any better on objective tests of motor coordination and visual reaction time than the alcohol-only group. That is, while energy drinks can make you feel less intoxicated, they don’t keep you from becoming too drunk to drive. This might be very dangerous, since many people judge their sobriety based on how alert they’re feeling. t w


condoms unwrapped: eveything you need to know about safe sex by samantha mojica | design by karin yuen


catherine lane/istockphoto

total wellness â–Ş fall 2012

Whether you’ve used dozens of condoms in the past, or have only practiced on a banana in sex education classes, chances are, you still have some lingering questions. For most young teenagers and adolescents, talking about sex, let alone condoms, is uncomfortable and awkward. So when they start to engage in sexual activity, they are sometimes inexperienced, unaware, and unprepared for the potential risks. The fact is, HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, and unwanted pregnancies can all be prevented by condom use. So, read on to learn about five easy steps for condom use and the truth behind some common misconceptions.


easy steps

Step 1: Inspect the Condom

Check the expiration date and condition of the condom package before opening it. In the heat of the moment, people tend to forget to inspect the condom package. If the condom is past the expiration date or if the package is damaged in any way, do not use it. Although condoms are durable, any small hole or tear will render it ineffective because semen and other fluids can seep through the gaps.

Step 2: Use your fingers

After checking the condom package, slide the condom to one side of the package and carefully open the package using your fingers. Do not use any sharp objects like scissors or your teeth to open the package because this could rip the condom. Then check the condom itself to see that there are no bubbles or holes in it. If it is damaged in any way, do not use it.

Step 3: If it’s on the wrong way, throw it away!

Now, here is the tricky part. The condom only rolls down one way. It is not reversible, so do not try to put it on the right way if the outside of the condom has already touched the penis. This condom is no longer okay to use because it may have touched pre-cum which can infect individuals with STDs and/ or cause pregnancy.

Step 4: Pinch the Tip

Another step that most people forget in the process is pinching the tip of the condom before rolling it down to the base of the penis. Pinching the tip of the condom allows space for the ejaculate. Use two hands – one hand to pinch the tip of the condom and another hand to roll the condom down to the base of the penis.

Step 5: Take it Off

After sexual intercourse, avoid spilling bodily fluids on one’s partner by turning away from one’s partner while removing the condom. If you roll the condom off, then the semen could spill on your partner rendering the whole process ineffective.

Condom Myths Decoded Since condoms are a sensitive subject, many people believe myths and false rumors about condoms from word of mouth. Here are the truths about common misconceptions people have about condoms.

Myth: Male condoms are the only kind of condoms out there. Truth: Female condoms also exist, but they are

more expensive and harder to find. If a male wants to use a condom on a female for oral sex, he can cut a regular condom down the middle and spread the condom over her vagina. There are also flavored condoms for oral sex.

Myth: Oil based lubricants are the best kind of lubricant for condoms. Truth: Oil based lubricants can tear holes in

the condoms from the chemicals. Also, some people may be allergic to oil based lubricants, so water lubricants are better to use because they will not cause damage to the condom.

Myth: Using two or more condoms will help prevent rips in the condom during sexual intercourse. Truth: Using two or more condoms actually causes more friction between the condoms,

increasing the chances of tearing the condoms. It is best to use one condom at a time because they are very durable.

Myth: Lambskin condoms are a good alternative condom to use. Truth: Lambskin condoms are not effective.

These condoms are made from actual lamb skin, which as most cell membranes, is permeable meaning that semen and other bodily fluids can seep through this material.

Now that you know more about condoms and why they are so important to use properly, you may be wondering where you can find condoms. On a college budget, you may not have extra cash to spend for condoms. Here are some places that distribute free condoms: Planned Parenthood Ashe Center (near Bruin Plaza at UCLA) LGBT Center (near Bruin Plaza at UCLA) Student Wellness Commission at UCLA (Kerkhoff Hall 308) AIDS Ambassadors (UCLA Organization on campus) t w


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❯ ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯


the pill:

a look at what it is and where it came from by nabeel qureshi | design by karin yuen The invention of the contraceptive pill revolutionized birth control in the United States and has launched political and religious


left: ryan lane/istockphoto, rght: shantell/istockphoto

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battles that continue today, forty years after its introduction. “The pill,” as it was later called, became a cornerstone of the women’s rights movement, sparked legislation and political battles nationwide, and has advanced today to encompass many different formulas, doses, and uses.

the history

today’s options

The pill started not as a form of contraception, but as a treatment for severe menstrual disorders back in 1957. It was not until three years later, in 1960, that the pill was approved for use as a form of contraception, becoming an instant phenomenon in the United States. In just a few years, over two million women were using the pill, and in just five years after its approval by the FDA, it became the most popular form of birth control.

Nowadays, when someone says “the pill” they can mean one of many different hormonal birth control pills. On a very basic level, this “pill” could be a combination estrogen/progestin pill or a pure progestin pill. However, it could get much more complicated, like pills that reduce the number of periods in a year to four, three, two, or even zero periods in a year. In a recent study published in 2012 in Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, findings indicated that there is a great need to educate young adults about contraceptive methods because there is a huge disconnect between their knowledge and behaviors surrounding birth control. Just knowing which pill is which can be confusing, let alone knowing how and when to use them.

The early 60’s were marked by a huge success for hormonal birth control, but the rest of the decade and well into the 70’s and 80’s, “the pill,” as it was coined, was constantly under attack. The Catholic Church declared its opposition to the pill and many questioned the safety of the pill, leading to the publication of The Doctor’s Case Against the Pill by Barbara Seaman, which revealed the many side effects of the high dose pill, which included blood clots, heart attack, and stroke. According to a study published in 2012 in The New England Journal of Medicine, there is still a risk of myocardial infarction and thrombotic stroke, but the risks have been greatly reduced from the much higher doses of the past pills. By the beginning of the 1980’s, use of the pill had dropped by nearly a quarter.

Because these pills have different hormones, they have different effects, advantages, disadvantages, and side effects that patients need to understand to make the best decision for themselves. Read on to see a side-by-side comparison of the combination pill and the progestin-only pill for a full understanding of how these pills can work for you.

The formula was then restructured, reducing the amount of hormones in each pill to reduce the negative side effects while still maintaining their efficacy. The new pill was approved by the FDA in 1988. By the 90’s, the face of the pill had changed from being a purely pharmaceutical drug for contraceptive use to being a newly termed “lifestyle drug.” Simply put, lifestyle drugs treat nonthreatening, non-painful conditions. According to a 2012 study published in the American Journal of Public Health, instead of being just a birth control pill, these new pills were advertised to reduce cramps, bloating, the severity of acne. By the early 2000’s, they even reduced the number of periods a woman had in a year.

total wellness ▪ fall 2012


a guide to low dose oral contraceptives & what they do Lybrel is a very low dose oral

contraceptive that has been termed the “eliminating” birth control pill. It is the first pill to prevent periods for the entire year and is taken year round.

Seasonale is a low dose oral

contraceptive and was the first pill in a line of “reducing” pills. Seasonale has two different pills, one of which is a combined estrogen/progestin formula which is taken for eleven weeks straight, with one week of a “pill-free” period. Anyone taking this pill can expect only four periods a year.

Seasonique is a low dose oral contraceptive. Similar to Seasonale, this pill is a combined estrogen/progestin pill that is taken in 12 week cycles, but is instead followed by low-dose estrogen pills for seven days, which reduces the severity and duration of each of the four periods experienced yearly. Yaz is a very low dose oral

contraceptive and is often called the “shortening” pill. This pill has a slightly different form of progestin that acts as a diuretic, so women experience less bloating, fluid retention, and weight gain. Each 28 pack of Yaz comes with 24 active pills and four inactive pills taken during a normal cycle. Unlike the other pills listed, it does not reduce the number of periods in a year, but it does lead to a shorter, lighter, and more regular periods.

total wellness ▪ fall 2012

Yasmin is a low dose oral


contraceptive and is similar to Yaz. Yasmin has 21 active pills and seven inactive pills and does a better job at preventing and treating acne than its similarly named counterpart. Like Yaz, Yasmin also helps produce lighter, more regular periods. t w

Progestin-only Pill (the “Mini Pill”) Advantages:

❯ Since it only has progestin, this pill can be used by women who cannot take estrogen ❯ The mini pill is safer to use for women who smoke than the combination pill ❯ It is safe to use while breast feeding


❯ These pills must be taken at the same time every day ❯ These pills are slightly less effective than the combination pills ❯ Irregular periods and spotting between periods may occur

Combination Pill (“The Pill”) similar between both: Advantages:

❯ There is no need to interrupt foreplay ❯ When taken regularly, this pill reduces bleeding and cramping with periods ❯ Because there is less bleeding, there is a reduced risk of anemia ❯ Patients have fewer or reduced periods ❯ Patients feel less pain during ovulation ❯ Patients have a reduced risk of Pelvis Inflammatory Disease (PID) ❯ May protect women against endometrial and ovarian cancer


❯ The pill reduces the risk of fibrocystic breast changes by preventing the formation of lumps in the breasts ❯ These pills reduces the chance of an ectopic pregnancy (outside of the uterus) if a pregnancy does occur ❯ The pill can reduce the occurrence of ovarian cysts ❯ If used regularly, it can reduce the symptoms of endometriosis (the growth of tissue that lines the uterus elsewhere in the body) ❯ Unlike other pills, the pill can be used after an abortion ❯ Another use for these pills is to reduce acne


❯ The pill may delay the return of the normal cycle ❯ The pill must be taken every day, but the timing each day is not as important ❯ If used while breast feeding, milk production is reduced


❯ These pills do not protect against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections ❯ There can be a reduced effectiveness if paired with other medications (users should ask their doctors to see possible adverse interactions)

total wellness ▪ fall 2012


food pick

greek yogurt

by jaclyn portanova | design by karin yuen

Greek yogurt has been touted as a “superfood” ➺ throughout the media, gaining both popularity and


❯ It contains 15 grams of protein per serving which is equivalent to the protein in two ounces of beef. In addition to being a critical macronutrient for growth and development, protein leaves the body feeling full for a longer time and can help reduce appetite. ❯ Also a plus, you will find Greek yogurt has the good types of bacteria such as acidophilus which may improve intestinal health and aid digestion. Acidophilus is considered a probiotic which means it helps the body fight off some forms of infection such a yeast infections. ❯ One serving of Greek yogurt can provide 20% of your daily calcium needs in just one 5.3 ounce serving. Regular yogurt is also a good source of calcium, and the percent daily value can vary, in both regular and Greek yogurt, depending on the brand. What sets Greek yogurt apart is that the calcium often comes without the nutritional downsides of added sugars or artificial flavors. ❯ Greek yogurt is increasingly being used as a substitute for less healthy ingredients. In fact, it can be used as a replacement for sour cream, eggs, cream cheese, mayonnaise, and butter. When looking at recipes, think about where you can switch out a low nutrient ingredient for the healthier alternative of Greek yogurt. ❯ Many people prefer the taste of Greek yogurt over regular yogurt because of its rich creamy taste and texture. You may want to experiment by adding 1/2 cup of frozen berries or 1 teaspoon of honey to your Greek yogurt as a way of enhancing the taste.

regular yogurt vs. greek yogurt

Wondering how Greek yogurt stacks up against regular yogurt? Here is a side by side comparison: Greek (5.3 ounces, nonfat, plain) Calories: 80 Total fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 10 mg Sodium: 50 mg Sugar: 6 g Protein: 15 g Calcium: 15% on a 2,000-calorie diet

Regular (6 ounces, nonfat, plain) Calories: 80 Total fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 5 mg Sodium: 120 mg Sugar: 12 g Protein: 9 g Calcium: 30% on a 2,000-calorie diet

from the cookbook “Greek” Key Lime Pie

5 egg yolks 1 cup Greek yogurt, vanilla 14-oz sweetened condensed low fat milk 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice or key lime juice 1 tablespoon lime zest 9-inch prepared graham crust Low-fat whipped cream for topping Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Blend or whisk together the egg yolks, Greek yogurt, condensed milk, lime juice and zest. Pour filling into graham cracker crust and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until set. Cool in refrigerator for at least one hour before topping with whipped cream and a slice of lime.

Tzatziki Cucumber Greek Yogurt Dip 3 tbsp. olive oil 1 tbsp. vinegar 2 cloves garlic, minced finely 1/2 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. white pepper 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt, strained 1 cup sour cream 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced 1 tsp. chopped fresh dill

Combine olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Mix until well combined. Using a whisk, blend the yogurt with the sour cream. Add the olive oil mixture to the yogurt mixture and mix well. Finally, add the cucumber and chopped fresh dill. Chill for at least two hours before serving. Garnish with a sprig of fresh dill just before serving. t w

SOURCE:; left: angelo gilardelli/istockphoto; right: aleksandar nakic/istockphoto

total wellness ▪ fall 2012

skepticism. Before explaining what makes Greek yogurt special, it is important to note that both Greek and regular yogurt can be part of a healthful diet. While not every brand or variety is the best choice, regular yogurt can certainly be low in calories and packed with calcium and live bacterial cultures. Greek yogurt, which is strained extensively to remove much of the liquid whey, lactose, and sugar, does have an undeniable edge. In roughly the same amount of calories, it can pack up to double the protein, while cutting sugar content by half. Those are "two things dietitians love," says Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian and author of The Flexitarian Diet. "For someone who wants the creamier texture, a little bit of a protein edge, and a sugar decrease, going Greek is definitely not all hype." And it has gained quite a following: in the past five years, Greek yogurt sales nationwide have skyrocketed, likely because it satisfies consumers' needs for health, convenience, and taste, according to Nielsen, a global marketing and advertising research company. Here are some of the benefits of Greek yogurt:

credits We would like to acknowledge the following people for their contributions to this edition. We would also like to make special mention of the following UCLA physicians, professors and faculty members who donated their time and expertise to ensuring the accuracy of content published in the following articles:


❧ q&a

Michele Hoh, MD, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, UCLA Family Medicine Practice, Iris Cantor/UCLA Women's Health Center


Elisa Terry, NSCA-CSCS FITWELL Services Program Director, UCLA Recreation

the smoothie solution

Eve Lahijani, MS, RD, Nutrition Health Educator, UCLA Bruin Resource Center

eating good in westwood

Alona Zerlin, MS, RD, Research Dietition, UCLA Center for Human Nutrition

a look inside boba milk tea

Carol Chen, MS, RD, Dietitian, UCLA Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center

sun eye safety

Karen K. Yeung, OD, FAAO Diplomate, Cornea, Contact Lens, and Refractive Technologies UCLA Arthur Ashe Student Health

reconsider how much you sit – it may be a life-saver

Malcolm Taw, MD, FACP Assistant Clinical Professor, UCLA Center for East-West Medicine, Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA

Eve Lahijani, MS, RD, Nutrition Health Educator, UCLA Bruin Resource Center

wake up and smell the coffee: the health effects of caffeine Alona Zerlin, MS, RD, Research Dietition, UCLA Center for Human Nutrition

Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, Assistant Director, UCLA Center for Human Nurition

condoms unwrapped: everything you need to know about safe sex Michele Hoh, MD, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, UCLA Family Medicine Practice, Iris Cantor/UCLA Women's Health Center

the pill: a look at what it is and where it came from

food pick

Alona Zerlin, MS, RD, Research Dietition, UCLA Center for Human Nutrition

copy-edits and review Leigh Goodrich and Shannon Wongvibulsin

layout revisions

Barbara Wong, Karin Yuen, and Shannon Wongvibulsin

cover & table of contents

Designed by Barbara Wong & Karin Yuen

Michele Hoh, MD, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, UCLA Family Medicine Practice, Iris Cantor/UCLA Women's Health Center


total wellness ▪ fall 2012

is brown the new white?

the science behind energy drinks

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Fall 2012. Issue 5, Volume 12. Produced by UCLA's Student Wellness Commission.