Thursday, October 4, 2007

OCTOBER 4, 2007

Any new parent out there knows this: These days, there are a TON of companies out there BOMBARDING parents with products to make their babies SMARTER. "Baby Einstein" DVDs. Flash cards. Video games. CDs of brain-friendly classical music.

BUT... according to a new study by the Seattle Children's Hospital Research Institute, the product that does the best job at making your baby smarter is... blocks. Plain, old, generic wooden or plastic blocks.

They found that children, ages 18 months to two-and-a-half years, who played with blocks, scored an average of 15% higher on cognitive development tests than children who didn't.

Here's their theory of WHY that happens. By playing with blocks... like stacking them into a tower or putting Legos together... it helps a child start grasping the world around them.

It also helps their imagination... leading to better impulse control and attention spans.

There are two other good side effects of playing with blocks. One: It gets the parents down on the ground, playing with their kid... and parent/child interactions like that are one of THE biggest keys to brain and social development. And two: It focuses children away from the TV, which can also help their brain and attention span.

A Bakersfield, Calif., man said he opened a box of candy clusters infested with maggots and spider webs.

John Madeiros purchased two packages of peanut caramel clusters at a Bakersfield 99-cent store on Ming Avenue, expecting some tasty treats.
Just as he was about to take a bite, he discovered maggots swarming over the chocolate, peanut and caramel clusters.

"I grabbed one of them and put it towards my mouth not looking, and when I was ready to put it in I noticed worms crawling on it," Madeiros said.

Medeiros returned the candies to the 99-cent store and received a full refund and apology.
The retailer said it is pulling the candy from its store shelves nationwide.

Standard Candy, which manufactures GooGoo Clusters, told Bakersfield station KERO-TV they are looking into the matter.

Medeiros said he's relieved no one else will face a stomach-turning moment.

Jared from Subway brainwashed us all into believing that eating subs was the right way to stay healthy and lose weight when we eat fast food.

Well... according to a study by Brian Wansink, the director of Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab in Ithaca, New York, it's all MYTH. He found that people tend to eat LESS HEALTHY at Subway than they do at McDonald's.

In one study, Professor Wansink gave people a coupon for a McDonald's Big Mac, or one for a Subway 12-inch Italian sub with meat, cheese and mayonnaise. Both coupons also let people order whatever side dishes or drinks they wanted for free.

Turns out, the Subway sandwich has about 300 calories MORE than the Big Mac, approximately 900 calories versus 600 calories.

BUT... because people didn't know that... and since they THINK Subway is healthy, they figure they can have more unhealthy side dishes. So they were more likely to order a large drink and chocolate chip cookies.

Wansink says, quote, "There's a 'health halo' that surrounds a lot of the foods at Subway that leads people to overeat on side dishes and grossly underestimate the number of calories they consume. And, you overeat afterwards [too], because you think you deserve it."