TIME

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew to Undergo Minor Surgery

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew Nelson Almeida—AFP/Getty Images

Top official has been instrumental in recent sanctions imposed on Russia over Crimea

Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew will undergo outpatient surgery to treat a benign enlarged prostate on Tuesday and will be recovering for around a week.

The 58-year-old, one of President Barack Obama’s top officials, will have the procedure in New York and expects to remain at his home convalescing, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“His physician expects that he will be able to return to his full schedule next week,” says Treasury spokeswoman Natalie Wyeth Earnest.

Lew has been instrumental in helping craft sanctions against Russia over its recent annexation of Crimea.

[The Los Angeles Times]

TIME Africa

A Terrifying Ebola Outbreak in West Africa Is Spreading Fast

This scanning electron micrograph, SEM, depicts a number of Ebola virions. UIG/Getty Images

There are no known treatments or vaccines for the hemorrhagic fever, which kills up to 90 percent of those who become infected

Guinea’s capital Conakry has been hit by an Ebola epidemic that has already claimed dozens of lives in the country’s southern forests.

“At least 59 out of 80 who contracted Ebola across the West African country have died so far,” said UNICEF in a statement to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

There are no known treatments or vaccines for Ebola, a viral hemorrhagic fever that kills up to 90 percent of those who become infected, depending on the strain of the virus. The virus is spread through direct contact with blood, feces or sweat, by sexual contact or unprotected handling of contaminated corpses. First discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976, the disease has spread in several outbreaks, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa.

“This outbreak is particularly devastating because medical staff are among the first victims … hindering the response and threatening normal care in a country already lacking in medical personnel,” UNICEF said.

The organization has sent five tons of aid to the country’s most affected regions, and has urged Guineans not to attend funerals when possible and to avoid all contact with the sick and the dead.

[AFP]

TIME medication

Study: Powerful Painkillers Increasingly Prescribed In ERs

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Prescriptions for narcotic painkillers, or opiates, in emergency departments rose 49 percent between 2001 and 2010, according to a new study. The finding raises concerns over the risks of addiction and misuse

Emergency departments in America are increasingly prescribing strong painkilling drugs like Oxycontin and Vicodin amid rising use of the medications nationally.

Prescriptions for narcotic painkillers, or opiates, in emergency departments rose 49 percent between 2001 and 2010, according to a study published in this month’s issue of Academic Emergency Medicine.

Doctors have increasingly prescribed the potent painkillers in part because of a movement to improve pain management, according to CBS. But doctors are also increasingly incentivized to please patients—some hospitals offer pay incentives linked to patient satisfaction–and may prescribe the medication to patients who ask for it.

The rising use of narcotic painkillers has prompted concerns over the risks of addiction and misuse. Roughly 15,000 Americans die annually from overdosing, and some 12 million people abuse the medication, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

[CBS News]

TIME

12 ‘Unhealthy’ Foods Nutritionists Eat

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Brian Macdonald—Getty Images

Everyday foods you didn't think were healthy (but actually are), and some splurges without guilt

Registered dietitians are experts in healthy eating, and you’ll usually spot them chowing down on a big green salad, whipping up a fruit and yogurt smoothie, or snacking on crudités. But many foods they eat will probably surprise you. Some are everyday foods you didn’t think were healthy (but actually are), while others are definite splurges—just done smartly and without guilt. Just follow their lead on these 12.

Health.com: 24 Food Swaps That Slash Calories

Coffee

“Coffee has a reputation as being unhealthy, but in moderation and with the right add-ins, it’s actually a superdrink,” says Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, Health‘s contributing nutrition editor. Your morning brew is packed with antioxidants, which may be why regular coffee consumption is linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

To drink it and reap the rewards (without jittery side effects), Sass suggests drinking one cup in the morning and then switching to water or green tea. Skip the sugary flavored creamers and add in organic skim or non-dairy milks like almond or coconut.

Bacon

If you love bacon, this will make you jump for joy: Rachel Begun, RD, a food and nutrition consultant in Boulder, Colo. eats bacon. “It’s got such a salty, smoky flavor that you can use small amounts to jazz up veggies—in fact, a little bacon can make you love veggies more,” she says.

The key here? Small amounts. Bacon can be loaded with salt and saturated fat, which is why you want to use it more like a garnish than a main event. Sprinkle crumbled bacon atop a side dish of Brussels sprouts or a veggie-filled salad.

Eggs

The whole egg, yolk and all. “One egg contains just 70 calories with 6 grams of high-quality protein, and contrary to popular belief, most of the fat in the yolk is unsaturated,” says Sass. Plus, eggs are a weight-loss food, she says. Dieters who ate eggs for breakfast lost 65% more weight than those who ate a bagel for breakfast that was equal in calories.

Sass suggests picking up organic eggs (the chickens are fed a healthier, all-vegetarian diet without hormones or antibiotics). Begun is an egg-eater, too: she prepares them several times per week in a veggie omelet or scrambled with sautéed leafy greens.

Health.com: The Best Breakfast Foods for Weight Loss

Whole-milk yogurt

Chances are you always pick the nonfat yogurt. Chicago-area registered dietitian Renee Clerkin, used to do that, too. However, today she enjoys full fat on a regular basis. In fact, the extra fat helps her keep her weight in check. For one, she enjoys the taste more, so she doesn’t have to eat as much to feel satisfied. Research also suggests that normal-weight women who consume whole-milk dairy products are less likely to gain weight with age, according to a Swedish study.

If you go for whole-milk yogurt, watch your portions—a cup of full-fat plain yogurt is 160 calories, while a cup of fat-free is 110 calories. Whole milk also contains more saturated fat—5 grams per cup, or about a quarter of what the American Heart Association recommends in a day.

Potatoes

People tend to fear potatoes because of their reputation as a waist-widening starch. But Sass sees them in a different light. They provide important nutrients like energy-supplying B vitamins and iron, plus vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and fiber, and they are also a source of a fat-burning carb called resistant starch, she says. “Like fiber, resistant starch fills you up but it doesn’t get digested and absorbed, and studies show it triggers your body to burn more fat,” she says.

Sass chows down on potatoes (her favorites are red, blue, and fingerling) once a week. Activate that slimming resistant starch by eating them in a cold potato salad. Roast, then chill taters and toss with a mixture of Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and garlic.

Health.com: How to Lose Winter Weight This Spring

Ghee

If you’ve ever eaten at an Indian restaurant, you’ve had ghee, which is clarified butter. The good news: ghee tastes so intense that you need just a few drops to adds loads of flavor to any food. “It makes veggies more interesting,” says Rachel Beller, RD, author of Eat to Lose, Eat to Win. Plus, one teaspoon has only 45 calories (a teaspoon of olive oil, for comparison, contains 40).

Beller combines a teaspoon of olive oil with a half-teaspoon of ghee and uses it to toss roasted or steamed veggies. You’ll find ghee in the ethnic food section in grocery stores.

Pasta

“You can take foods that are meant to be enjoyed and make them nutritious,” says Clerkin, who eats fresh pasta a couple times a week. (Find fresh pasta in the refrigerated section at grocery stores, or at a farmer’s market.)

Balance out pasta with lean protein (like fish or chicken), healthy fats (like olive oil), and plenty of fiber-rich veggies, advises Clerkin. As a rule, Clerkin matches the quantity of pasta she eats with an equal amount of vegetables. Beller, another pasta lover, orders it with marinara sauce as a side to fish at a favorite Italian restaurant. “Ask for it to be cooked al dente,” she advises. “The firmer pasta will help keep your blood sugar more stable.”

French fries

They’re made from potatoes, but no one considers fries a vegetable. Still, Begun indulges in fries occasionally. Notice the word indulge? “These aren’t a health food by any means, but can still be enjoyed in moderation and with the right accompaniments,” she says. First rule: enjoy fries as a side to something lean and nutritious, like a salad with chicken or a bowl of steamed mussels. Second, watch portions, since restaurants serve up fries practically by the bucketful. Begun recommends eating half or sharing with a friend, and going light on the dipping sauce (especially if it’s mayo-based). Finally, to get every single bit of salty enjoyment out of them, order fries where you know they’re freshly prepared in-house.

Raisins

Unlike many dried fruits, raisins aren’t sugar bombs. Why? They’re just dried grapes. Though most dried fruits contain added sugar or fruit juice, raisins usually do not. You need to mind portions, however. One raisin contains the same number of calories as one grape, but a raisin is much smaller. A cup of grapes shrinks down to a quarter-cup of raisins, making it easy to go overboard.

Health.com: 16 Ways to Lose Weight Fast

Sourdough bread

“It’s healthier than whole wheat,” says Beller. Shocking, we know, but here’s why: sourdough is unique because it’s made with a lactic acid starter that undergoes fermentation, which alters the bread’s starches. “This helps prevent your blood sugar from spiking better than white or wheat bread,” she says.

On a recent dinner out, a basket of homemade sourdough bread arrived at Beller’s table. She didn’t go to town on it (it’s still bread, after all), but she took a half of a slice and enjoyed each bite.

Hot chocolate

Yep, you’ve heard that chocolate is good for you, but many people still don’t believe it, says Beller. “It’s a health food that nutritionists prescribe,” she says. It’s brimming with disease-fighting polyphenols. You can find those same good-for-you nutrients in a cup of hot cocoa. Skip the pre-made hot cocoa packets, as these are packed with sugar. Beller makes hers with pure cocoa powder, a teaspoon of dark raw honey or pure maple syrup, and unsweetened almond or coconut milk.

Doughnuts

Doughnuts, cakes, and cookies will never be good for you, but the occasional sweet treat won’t wreck your diet and, perhaps more importantly, will prevent you from ever feeling deprived. “You can eat anything as long as you balance it out,” says Clerkin. “I eat a really great doughnut two or three times a year. To splurge smartly, she has half a glazed doughnut with a green smoothie for a special breakfast.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

TIME Heart Disease

Study: Salt Accelerates Aging in Overweight Teens

Salt
Getty Images

The lead author of a new study that was presented at the American Heart Association conference says that lowering sodium intake could slow down cellular aging and prevent heart disease in overweight teens

Salt can increase the rate of aging and the risk of heart disease in overweight teenagers, according to a study presented this week at an American Heart Association conference in San Francisco.

Overweight teenagers who reported higher sodium intakes had telomeres—protective ends of chromosomes that shorten with age—that were significantly shorter than those in overweight teenagers with lower sodium intakes.

“Lowering sodium intake, especially if you are overweight or obese, may slow down the cellular aging process that plays an important role in the development of heart disease,” Haidong Zhu, the lead author of the study and assistant professor of pediatrics at the Medical College of Georgia, said in a statement.

The study divided 766 teenagers between ages 14 and 18 into groups of lower and higher reported sodium intakes—though both groups reported consuming significantly more on a daily basis than the two-thirds of a teaspoon recommended by the American Heart Association.

Normal weight teens with high-sodium intakes did not have shorter telomeres.

“Lowering sodium intake may be an easier first step than losing weight for overweight young people who want to lower their risk of heart disease,” Zhu said in the statement.

TIME

Low Libido? 11 Drugs That Affect Your Sex Drive

Check your medicine cabinet, then talk to your doctor

Everyone’s heard of medication that can improve your sex life (hello, Viagra!), but some drugs can actually quash it. If you’re feeling less than interested in having sex, the culprit might be in your medicine cabinet. 

If you suspect your low libido might be related to your medication, talk to your doctor. (Don’t just stop taking a potential lifesaver.) He or she will probably be able to suggest an alternative. “Communication is key,” says Raymond Hobbs, MD, a senior staff physician in the department of internal medicine at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

Health.com: 15 Everyday Habits to Boost Your Libido

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors

Depression is a well known libido killer, but so are some antidepressants. Prozac, Zoloft, and other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) improve mood by raising serotonin. Unfortunately, that can also lower libido, says Irwin Goldstein, MD, director of sexual medicine at Alvarado Hospital in San Diego. 

You have options. Wellbutrin and Viibryd are two SSRIs that don’t have this side effect. Or try exercise. A recent study suggests that women taking antidepressants who do cardio and strength training before sex may see improvements in the bedroom.

Tricyclic antidepressants

Since the SSRIs came out in the 1990s, tricyclic antidepressants such as Elavil aren’t used as often. But some doctors do still prescribe them to treat not only depression, but also nerve pain such as that associated with shingles. But these, too, can decrease libido. 

If you have a problem, try switching drugs or playing with the dose (after talking to your doctor, of course). “A lot of times you just want to use the lowest dose that accomplishes what you want,” says Dr. Hobbs. “Start low and go slow.”

Health.com: 7 Foods for Better Sex

Birth control pills

Oral contraceptives can lower levels of sex hormones, including testosterone, and therefore may also affect libido.

Non-hormonal contraceptives, such as an IUD, are good alternatives, says Dr. Goldstein. Less popular are condoms and diaphragms. Or you can try one of the many other birth control pills available.

Bear in mind that the pill can also increase your sex drive. “I’ve seen it go both ways,” says Dr. Hobbs. “Taking the pill is very effective and [women who are] more confident in their birth control device… find that their sexuality improves.”

Proscar

Proscar is used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH, better known as an enlarged prostate. It’s a problem most men will encounter as they age. The active ingredient in the drug is finasteride, which prevents testosterone from converting into its active form. Lower testosterone can mean a lower libido. 

An alternative treatment for BPH is a procedure known as a transurethral resection of the prostate. This widely performed one-hour operation involves slipping a tube up the urethra and removing a portion of the prostate. That could take care of the prostate problems and the need for medication.

Health.com: 10 Reasons You’re Not Having Sex

Propecia

This drug is basically the same as Proscar, but it’s used at lower doses to prevent hair loss in men. “It’s the same chemical [finasteride] designed with a new dosing regimen,” says Dr. Goldstein. This means that younger men without prostate problems may also see decreased libido (about 2% of men reported sexual side effects in clinical trials). And there have been reports that the effects can last even after discontinuing the drug, says Dr. Goldstein. 

There are alternative hair-loss treatments, such as Rogaine, that don’t have sexual side effects.

Antihistamines

Over-the-counter antihistamines, especially diphendyramine (Benadryl) and chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton), may alleviate your allergies, but temporarily affect your love life. The solution here could be as simple as carefully timing when you take the drug. “Many of these drugs do not last 24 hours and certainly their side effects don’t,” says Allison Dering-Anderson, Pharm.D., a clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. “Antihistamines should be cleared in eight hours in younger and healthier patients.” 

Keep in mind that antihistamines are also found in many combination cough-and-cold medicines so read the label. You may be taking antihistamines and lowering your libido without knowing it.

Medical marijuana

Marijuana is only approved for medical purposes in 20 states, but regardless of where or why it’s used, pot can have “a significant negative impact both on libido and on ability to perform,” says Dering-Anderson.

If you’re in a place that hasn’t legalized marijuana, obviously you shouldn’t be using it. If you are using marijuana legally and having sex drive problems, talk with a healthcare provider about alternatives for pain and nausea, two common reasons people use marijuana-the-drug.

Health.com: The Secret to Hotter Sex

Anti-seizure drugs

Tegretol can be a game changer for people who have seizures and even for some with bipolar disorder. But the price can be reduced sexual desire. Tegretol and other drugs like it work by preventing impulses from traveling along the nerve cells, but therein lies the problem. An orgasm is similar to a seizure—in both, sensory input triggers a body response—says Dr. Goldstein, so medications that dampen nerve impulses can also reduce pleasurable sensations. In short, the things that used to stimulate you just may not do it for you any more.

If an anti-seizure drug is affecting your libido, ask your doctor about an alternative medication. “That’s not the only drug out there,” says Dr. Hobbs.

Opioids

Opioid medications can be a blessing in terms of pain relief, but a curse in terms of addiction and sex drive. Studies have shown that opioids such as Vicodin, OxyContin, and Percocet, can lower testosterone, which can affect your libido.

Testosterone therapy—perhaps in the form of a gel—may help men taking opioids for pain who have libido problems, one study found.

Beta blockers

Tens of millions of Americans use beta blockers such as propranolol and metoprolol with great benefit to their hearts, but not necessarily their sex lives. In rare cases, even eye drops containing the beta blocker Timolol (used to treat glaucoma) can decrease libido, says Dering-Anderson.

But there are many beta blockers on the market. They all lower blood pressure, but in different ways. Talk to your doctor to find one that works for all of you.

Benzodiazepines

There have been some reports that anti-anxiety drugs like Xanax can lower your sex drive.

But the underlying anxiety could be the real problem. “Benzodiazepines are used for severe anxiety and many times [people with severe anxiety] aren’t so interested in having sex,” says Dr. Hobbs.

In that case, the medication might calm your anxiety enough to actually enjoy sex, says Dering-Anderson.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

TIME Family

Still Doing Too Much For Your Teen? You’re Not Alone

How the best intentions can sometimes create bad parenting habits that are difficult to break

OK, I admit it: I’m still making sandwiches and other snacks for my 16-year-old son, Nathaniel, pretty much whenever he asks. And, as a growing teenager, he asks all the time.

For a mom who generally prides herself on having raised responsible, independent kids, my constant indulgence is more than a little embarrassing. But what I’ve realized is how easy it is for even good parents to fall into bad habits.

In my case, it all started when Nathaniel was quite young and diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, a chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract that can make it difficult, if not impossible, to eat and absorb nutrients. In an effort to ensure that Nathaniel would develop properly, I spent a good deal of his early childhood making him special meals and granting his every food-related request. All of our family rules about “getting what you get” and “eating the dinner I put on the table” went out the window once I learned that he had Crohn’s.

But for the past three years, Nathaniel has been on a medication that has rendered him healthy. He barely misses any school due to his illness, plays on the varsity basketball team, is 5-feet-11 and still growing (well, he hopes so anyway) and, most important, now consumes an astonishing amount of food without any encouragement from me. Truth is he’s never satiated.

All of which has me—along with my husband and Nathaniel’s older sister—wondering: Why, then, do I keep catering to him, as if he were a prince?

Intellectually, I know that caving in to his constant pleas for me to prepare everything he eats is just plain dumb. The key to raising self-reliant children, after all, is to not do for them what they can do for themselves.

Nonetheless, I routinely enable his helplessness. It’s as if some uncontrollable inertia has taken hold of me, and I cannot shake its grasp. Nathaniel’s Crohn’s disease is, thank goodness, relatively uncommon. But my disease—pandering to a child when I know better—is definitely not. Whether it’s an illness, cushioning the blow of a recent divorce or guilt from working too many hours, we all have perfectly rational reasons for starting some behavior or another that turns out to be not so good for our kids. “We don’t want our kids to fail, so we are doing more for them,” says Michele Borba, author of more than 20 books on raising children, including The Big Book of Parenting Solutions. “We feel guilty because we are working more, so we do more for them. Then they start to depend on us. And that is a hard cycle to break.”

Yet it’s not impossible. With that in mind, here are a handful of suggestions from Borba to deal with your own bad parenting habits:

· Design a plan, be specific and start small. In my case, I shouldn’t make the initial goal: “I am going to stop enabling my kid.” Instead, at the beginning I should focus on one concrete thing: “I am going to stop making Nathaniel’s after-school snack.”

· Hold a family meeting so that everyone is on board. Breaking an individual habit is hard enough; breaking a family one is especially tricky because it involves multiple players.

· Create the parameters for success. In my situation, that might mean keeping the pantry stocked with food that Nathaniel can make for himself, teaching him to cook a few more things, or taking him to the grocery store to choose his own easy-to-prepare snacks.

· Give yourself time to succeed. New behavior patterns take about 21 days to take hold, according to Borba. (Other experts say it can take as long as two months to a year depending on the habit.)

· Put a calendar on the refrigerator and mark off each day’s successes or failures, knowing that there are bound to be some setbacks. Just stick with it.

“If you can create one small change,” Borba says, “that will impact the relationship and the family dynamic—and it will make it easier to make other changes down the road.”

I plan to follow Borba’s advice and ease in, asking Nathaniel to make his own after-school snack. It’s clearly time. The other day, he went so far as to try to get me to stop what I was doing and bring him some ice cream. “Please, mom,” he said, “you make it better than anyone else.”

Nathaniel will surely moan, beg and pout. But who knows? Maybe by next year, he’ll be dishing out some mint chip for me. There are some habits, after all, that one should never break.

TIME

How Laziness Can Make You Healthy

Get on that sofa and shape up!

If you’re trying to eat fewer unhealthy snacks and lose weight, here’s a simple trick — place the healthy snack closer to where you’re sitting.

A new study from Saint Bonaventure University in New York shows that people reach for low-calorie slices of apple more often than buttery popcorn when the fruit is within easier reach, Reuters reports.

“There are the little things that we can do to just make our diets healthier, and one of them is the simple idea to just put the healthy foods closer to you and you’ll find you can use your laziness to your advantage,” Gregory Privitera, the researcher behind the study, told the agency.

[Reuters]

TIME Health Fad

Health Fad of the Week: The Real Scoop on the Ice Cream Cleanse

People have reported losing weight after eating five pints of ice cream for four days straight. Can it really be true?

When it comes to the latest and greatest in health and fitness, there’s always something new to try. Some trends are more legit than others, while others can’t be backed by any science whatsoever. And then there’s everything else in between. After far too many face palms, eye rolls, and serious questions about fads that sound too good to be true, we’ve decided to start a series that puts these health fads under a microscope.

(Above: Kippy’s Master Cleanse ice cream: lemon, cayenne pepper, honey. Via Instagram.)

Our first deep dive is into the world of the Ice Cream Cleanse, which Brent Rose at Gizmodo and his anonymous girlfriend tried–and lived to write about. They even lost weight, as did another writer at Splash Magazine who tried the creamy diet.

When I heard about an ice cream cleanse–eating five pints of ice cream a day over four days–I thought it had to be a joke (but secretly hoped it wasn’t). Unfortunately, I live very far from Venice, California, home to Kippy’s and the geniuses behind the fad, so trying it didn’t actually come to fruition. I did however, have a nice long chat with the two women who developed it, raw ice cream connoisseur Kippy Miller and yogi Guru Jagat.

Miller has been making raw ice cream and selling it to vendors like Whole Foods for five years. She opened Kippy’s Ice Cream Shop in Venice this past July. The ice cream is 100% raw (meaning nothing is heated or cooked), organic, and vegan. Miller imports coconuts from Mexico and ferments them for five days, turning them into a coconut yogurt. She then sweetens the yogurt with raw honey. “You’re getting a probiotic and a raw fat,” Miller says. “We need more raw products to replenish our gut and help our digestion and our immune system.”

Right next door to Kippy’s is RA MA Institute, a Kundalini yoga studio led by Guru Jagat, Miller’s cleanse co-creator. Kundalini yoga is sometimes referred to as “the yoga of awareness” and is meant to work the body, mind, and spirit. The ice cream diet follows a strict regiment of Kundalini (which Gizmodo writer Rose didn’t follow, Miller points out). “It’s a double whammy of detoxification,” Miller claims, even better than the effects she’s seen when the ice cream diet is coupled with Bikram yoga.

The cleanse starts with a raw coconut cream flavor in the morning, followed by an orange creamsicle, then dark chocolate with Himalayan sea salt, “master cleanse” (lemon and cayenne), and finally “super food” (bee pollen, cinnamon, raw honey). Each pint of ice cream serves a specific purpose. For example, the vitamin C from the orange eaten with a fat like ice cream means the body absorbs more nutrients, and the sea salt provides the body with iodine that’s good for the thyroid.

Jagat and Miller say the cleanse will detoxify your organs. “Day one, we are starting with the colon and the lower intestine,” Jagat says. “The first day we work specifically to loosen up anything that’s lodged in there. Most people are dealing with some level of constipation, so we do colon and low-intestine type work.”

“Raw coconut cream along with the exercises of yoga–to be blunt–takes old fecal matter and plaque out of colon” Miller adds.

Rose and his girlfriend definitely noticed some intestinal rumblings on their first day:

And then, suddenly, Poopintimes! I don’t know if it was the salt or just the accumulated saturated fat, but it was like, “Hey! You need to go, like, now!” Not emergency style, but it was definitely assertive. It wasn’t horrible or acidic, but it was a long way from solid. Is this why they call it a cleanse? Girlfriend reported that she was in the same boat.

Hence, the weight loss results.

Kippy’s ice cream is unsurprisingly packed with saturated fat: 32 grams in a pint of Truly Raw Coconut. And remember, ice cream cleansers are consuming five pints in a single day, so that’s about 160 grams a day–820% of your recommended daily amount of saturated fat. Miller points out that there is significantly less honey in her cleanse pints than in their dessert flavors.

(Above: Kundalini Yoga. Via Instagram.)

I called up nutritionist Keri Gans, author of The Small Change Diet, to help sort fact from fiction with this ice cream cleanse. She was skeptical at best. “There’s inconclusive evidence about the health benefits of the fat from coconut. However, it is rich in saturated fat, and saturated fat is linked to heart disease, plain and simple,” Gans says. Some experts argue that not all saturated fat is created equal, and that coconuts and coconut oil have great benefits. But it’s a matter that’s still up for debate.

Here’s how Kippy’s other claims break down:

The raw honey (different from heated honey) used to sweeten the ice cream offers amino acids and living enzymes.

Honey is still sugar, and that just means extra calories, says Gans. It’s also considered added sugar, not natural, which makes a difference. “Is there a little value to honey? Yes, but the bottom line is that it’s sugar just by a different name.”

Fat solubility helps your body more efficiently absorb nutrients in the ice cream.

While true that you need fat to better absorb fat-soluble vitamins, there are none to be found in coconut. “Coconut has water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C and B vitamins. So, yes, fat does help absorb fat-soluble vitamins, like A, E, K, but I could not find that coconut is a good source of these,” Gans says.

Your body will release heavy metals, plastics, and other toxins during the cleanse.

Our liver is constantly working to detox our body. “It filters our blood every single day and removes toxins from it,” says Gans. We don’t need cleanses to do this for us.

Final Verdict:

Alas, eating ice cream–even the raw and vegan kind–to lose weight and clear your system is too good to be true. “I won’t doubt is that it might taste very good and not seem like torture,” says Gans. But just because you might not feel terrible after the first round, doesn’t mean you should try it again. “Four days, ok, not the end of the world. But we all know that with the cleanses, if people see success, they keep going.”

Updated March 20, 2014, 11:36 p.m.

TIME technology

The Computer Can Tell When You’re Faking It

Kang Lee, Marian Bartlett

Pain, that is

Researchers from the University of California San Diego and the University of Toronto have designed a sophisticated computer that can tell when someone is faking facial expressions of pain with 85% accuracy, outmatching humans’ ability to do so.

To test the computer, the research team had 25 volunteers record two videos each. The first video recorded the volunteers’ expressions while one of their arms was in ice water for a minute, and the second video recorded the subjects pretending to be in pain while their arm was actually in warm water.

The researchers then had 170 people watch the videos and asked them to guess which video showed real pain and which video showed a fake response. The participants did no better than random chance. Even when they were trained on how to spot real and fake emotion in the videos, they only reached 55% accuracy. But the computer guessed correctly 85% of the time.

“In highly social species such as humans, faces have evolved to convey rich information, including expressions of emotion and pain. And, because of the way our brains are built, people can simulate emotions they’re not actually experiencing – so successfully that they fool other people. The computer is much better at spotting the subtle differences between involuntary and voluntary facial movements,” said study author Kang Lee, a professor at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study at the University of Toronto in a statement.

The researchers, whose work is published in the journal Current Biology, hope their technology could one day be applied in fields such as homeland security, job screening and law.

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