The Daily Dose: Weight Loss Can Be Toxic, But Obesity Is Expensive

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© Najlah Feanny/Corbis

20 Jun 2007, Orlando, Florida, USA --- An overweight woman stands beside the pool at Walt Disney World's water park, Hurricane Harbor,in her swimsuit. Obesity in America is on the rise. --- Image by © Najlah Feanny/Corbis

FDA Takes On Green Tea: Dr Pepper Snapple Group’s Canada Dry and Unilever’s Lipton are in hot water for overextended health claims on labels and promotional websites for their green tea products, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Canada Dry Sparkling Green Tea Ginger Ale features the tagline, “enhanced with antioxidants.” The soda is classified — along with all other soft drinks — as a snack food, which means it cannot claim to be nutritionally fortified. Further, the FDA writes, it does not actually contain ingredients with “recognized antioxidant activity.”

Lipton, also overstating its product’s antioxidant power, additionally suggests that its Lipton Green Tea 100% Naturally Decaffeinated tea bags can lower cholesterol among those at risk for heart disease. According to the FDA, this classifies the tea bag as a drug rather than a beverage.

Stem Cell Funding Ban Will Stay: U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth rejected the Obama administration’s appeal to grant an emergency lift on the injunction against all human embryonic stem cell research. If the appeal had been accepted, it would have allowed research that is currently underway to continue. According to the Justice Department, without funding, many studies will have to shut down mid-course and 1,000 jobs will be lost.

U.K. To Cut Costs With Bariatric Surgery: Britain’s National Health Service reported today that it spends 4.3 billion British pounds each year on obesity-related health care. But if even one-quarter of the one million British people eligible for bariatric surgery actually underwent the procedure, the NHS would save 1.3 billion pounds in three years. The report, conducted by the Office of Health Economics, also projected a savings of up to 150 million pounds in social assistance, as previously home ridden surgery recipients would be able to return to the workforce.

Weight Loss Can Be Toxic: A new study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that shedding a significant amount of weight could actually make you sick, Reuters reports. Fat cells store environmental toxicants called persistent organic pollutants (POPs) that contribute to type II diabetes, hypertension, and coronary heart disease. Weight loss causes those fat cells to break down, releasing POPs into the blood stream. Many of the conditions associated with POPs are also related to excess weight.  More studies will need to be conducted to determine which path to illness is worse, according to the study’s lead author.

Malpractice Liability Cost U.S. $55.6 Billion … A Year: A Harvard School of Public Health study finds that the U.S. Health care system spends an exorbitant amount on avoiding malpractice litigation. Most of this cost — $45.6 billion — is spent on “defensive” medical testing, which are tests that are ordered to avoid malpractice litigation, rather than because of an earnest medical hypothesis. The other $10 billion is comprised of litigation insurance and lawyer’s fees. Surprisingly, this number only accounts for 2.4% of overall health care spending, so tort reformers who would like to cap malpractice settlements aren’t advocating for a meaningful savings.

Last Year’s H1N1 Pandemic Not So Bad: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation published a public health comparison of flu viruses in today’s Journal of the American Medical Association. Surprisingly, the 2008 season influenza, known as H3N2, resulted in a higher rate of hospitalizations, pneumonia and other complications than 2009’s infamous H1N1 strain.