Ohio Will See an Increased Tick Population This Year

The Midwest, Great Lakes, and Ohio Valley regions will likely experience an increased tick population this spring and summer, due to the effects of La Niña.

Data compiled by the National Pest Management Association, a nonprofit that releases a bi-annual bug barometer, reveals we can expect lots of the pesky insects, and we’ll also probably see more ants indoors this year too.

According to NPMA, much of the region experienced colder, drier conditions this winter, which will likely drive ants indoors as they look for warmth and moisture. When the weather does take a turn toward warmer and more moist conditions, the tick population will likely soar.

Ticks can transmit Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Tularemia, Ehrlichiosis, Relapsing fever, Colorado tick fever, and Babesiosis. Should you be bitten by a tick, it is important to remove the head and body right away to avoid contracting a disease or infection.

A CDC report last year showed that while Lyme disease is most commonly found in the Northeast, there’s been a jump in prevalence in the 11 states that border the 14 states where Lyme disease is most common.

It’s been almost three decades since Lyme was first pegged as a big issue, and the numbers have only grown. About 30,000 cases are diagnosed each year and it’s a helluva disease to deal with and to treat.


Hepatitis A still a problem in mid-Michigan

Hepatitis A is still spreading throughout mid-Michigan.

There have been eight confirmed cases in Isabella County, three in Gratiot County and one in Clare County as of March 21 since tracking began on Aug. 1, 2016, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. However, the case in Clare County is not part of the jurisdiction of the outbreak.

“The numbers aren’t high but the thing of it is, it is spreading,” said Leslie Kinnee, Public Information Officer with the Mid-Michigan District Health Department, which covers Gratiot, Clinton and Montcalm counties. “We want people to be diligent and be aware that this illness is circulating in our communities because if we don’t act now and take measures to try to stop it, it will continue to spread.”

The number of cases in Isabella County has steadily increased since last fall and winter.

There were five reported cases in Isabella County between September and December.

A case in that county stemmed from a bakery employee at Meijer in Mt. Pleasant.

However, none of the cases in Isabella, Gratiot and Clare counties have been fatal.

In addition, the cases in Isabella County were linked to southeast Michigan, where the outbreak began in 2016.

Statewide, there have been 789 cases, 635 hospitalizations (with a 80.5 percent hospitalization rate) and 25 deaths.

The virus is passing person-to person through close contact, particularly through drug use, sexual activity, and among household members.

“Hepatitis A is spread by the fecal-oral route,” said Dr. Jennifer Morse, Medical Director for the Central Michigan District Health Department, in November. “This means you can get ill if you eat, drink, or touch your mouth with any food, drink, object, or your hands that may have been in contact with stool (feces) from someone infected with hepatitis A. Washing your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom and before handling or eating food can help prevent this.”

APS/Antiphospholipid Syndrome

Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS)

Is an autoimmune disorder. Signs and symptoms vary, but may include blood clots, miscarriage, rash, chronic headaches, dementia, and seizures. APS occurs when your body’s immune system makes antibodies that attack phospholipids. Phospholipids are a type of fat found in all living cells, including blood cells and the lining of blood vessels. Most cases of APS occur in people with no family history of the disorder, however there are rare cases of APS clustering in a family. A widely accepted explanation for APS is that it is caused by a combination of gene mutations (making one more susceptible to APS) and an environmental exposure (such as to a virus). Currently there is not a cure for APS. The goal of treatment is to prevent blood clots from forming and to keep existing clots from getting larger.


Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is an autoimmune disorder. It occurs when your body’s immune system makes antibodies that attack phospholipids (a type of fat found in living cells). The exact reason for this is not known. While APS is not passed through families in a predictable pattern, genetics are thought to play a role. A widely accepted explanation for APS is that it is caused by a combination of gene mutations (making one more susceptible to APS) and an environmental exposure (such as a viral infection).

Research has found a few gene changes that occur in people with APS, however the contribution of these genetic changes to the development of the condition is unclear.  Little is known about specific environmental triggers. Known risk factors include female sex and having other autoimmune-type disorders (such as Lupus).

Some people have APS antibodies, but have no signs or symptoms. These people are also at an increased risk for APS. In these cases, APS symptoms (for example blood clots) can be triggered by smoking, prolonged bed rest, pregnancy and the postpartum period, birth control pills, hormone therapy, cancer, and kidney disease.


Ticks are already a problem: How to protect yourself and your pets

Bigger and more likely to carry Lyme disease, adult deer ticks can bite you on warmer winter and spring days.

If you think ticks die out in the winter, you’re in for a sad surprise. Ticks are apparently quite resilient and most manage to winter over just fine, hiding in decaying vegetation and waiting for a break in the weather to emerge. Any day when temperatures hit 40 degrees and above, ticks are back in motion, experts say.

So, if you’ve noticed a tick on your pet, it’s a warning sign for you to start checking yourself for the nasty little disease-spreading blood suckers. “If you’ve been on a hike with your dog and find a tick on him, then that should alert you to check yourself for ticks,” said Laura Goodman, an assistant research professor at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. “And you should get someone else to help you do the exam.”

Already, veterinarians in Michigan are reporting a surge in tick bites in dogs.

Goodman suggested wearing white if you’re walking where you think there might be ticks because they’ll be easier to spot crawling around on your clothing. “Pull your socks up over your pants,” she says. “And certainly use repellents that say they are indicated for ticks. When you get home, put your clothes straight into the dryer to kill the ticks.”

While there are dozens of types of ticks, the biggest concern is with deer ticks, which could carry diseases like Lyme. Though the majority of Lyme cases occur in the spring when people are bitten by deer ticks in their tiny nymph phase, that doesn’t mean you can’t pick up the disease at other times of the year, said Maria Diuk-Wasser, an associate professor in the department of ecology, evolution and environmental biology at Columbia University.

Do ticks die in the winter?

In the winter and early spring, you’d be finding adult ticks, Diuk-Wasser said. The good news is adult deer ticks are far easier to spot than nymphs because they’re a lot bigger, she added. The bad news: While some 25 percent of nymph-phase deer ticks carry Lyme disease, in adult ticks it’s about 50 percent. So, while you’re less likely to come across a deer tick in the winter, it’s more likely to make you sick if you’re bitten.

“It used to be that we didn’t expect to come across ticks in the dead of winter,” Diuk-Wasser said. “But the last couple of winters have been pretty mild, so that is the situation where you can definitely get Lyme.”


It’s probably going to get worse before it gets better, experts said. “Because of climate change, it’s getting worse,” said Dr. Meryl Littman, a professor emerita of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. “And the habitats are spreading, mostly because migratory birds are bringing ticks to new areas where they are thriving.”

There’s no question deer tick nymphs are showing up earlier and earlier, Diuk-Wasser said. “We don’t know if that means we’re having a longer season overall or whether it’s just starting earlier,” she says. “In the last 25 years, the peak has moved. It used to be in June and now it’s in mid-May and you can see the nymphs even in April.”

Currently, no one knows how many people are getting bitten and infected in the winter, Diuk-Wasser said. She’s hoping those kinds of stats will come out of research from the Northeast Regional Center for Excellence in Vector-Borne Diseases.

“Ticks can be found year round, depending on the weather,” Diuk-Wasser said. “If it’s a warm winter day and you’re walking in an area that ticks like, such as a brushy spot or an area with leaf litter, you’re more likely to run into them.”




Hepatitis A outbreak hits Southern Indiana with links to outbreak in Kentucky

State health officials have linked a hepatitis A outbreak in Kentucky to an increase in cases of the infectious liver disease in Southern Indiana.

Since January Indiana has seen 40 cases of hepatitis A, twice the number seen in a typical year in the state. In the past month alone, 17 cases of hepatitis A have been confirmed, 11 of those in Clark and Floyd counties.

The Louisville area also has seen a dramatic rise in hepatitis A cases in recent months, with more than 115 cases since November 2017.

A viral infection of the liver, hepatitis A is passed through the dreaded fecal-oral route. Typically individuals contract the disease by consuming food prepared or served by someone who is infected. Hepatitis A also can be picked up through sex with an infected person or by touching objects with small amounts of fecal matter left by an infected person, as well as by sharing drugs.

Four states, including Kentucky, are experiencing hepatitis A outbreaks.

In Indiana, many of the cases diagnosed have been among inmates in the Clark County jail. Cases also have been found in an elementary school in Clark County and a Bob Evans restaurant in New Albany, state health officials said in a statement Monday.

Often infected food service workers spread hepatitis A.

“Hepatitis A is a highly contagious virus, and seeing this many cases in such a short time frame is concerning,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box in a news release. “We are working closely with our local partners to identify individuals who may have been exposed and to halt the transmission of disease.”

Unlike other types of hepatitis, a vaccine exists against hepatitis A. Since the advent of the vaccine, the United States has seen a 90 percent decrease in the number of cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Schoolchildren in Indiana have been required to be vaccinated since 2014, so those in third grade and younger are likely to have been vaccinated.

More than 5,700 people have been vaccinated in Louisville since the start of that city’s outbreak.

While a person infected with hepatitis A may not experience any symptoms, others may have nausea, jaundice, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, stomach distress, dark urine and grey stools. Symptoms can last for several weeks, but unlike other types of hepatitis do not typically cause lasting damage to the liver.

Infection can occur anywhere from 11 to 50 days after a person has been exposed to the virus.

Do you currently suffer with an autoimmune disorder?


We are looking for candidates who have the below diagnosis’ (and related antibody) to participate in a plasmapheresis program to help others as well as research.   Plasma is used in various methods such as in treatments that can potentially help save the lives of people suffering from burns, shock, trauma and other medical emergencies.  The proteins and antibodies in plasma are also used to create therapies and test kit controls for rare chronic conditions such as autoimmune disorders and hemophilia

Is Giving Plasma good for you?

It is safe to donate plasma, measures are taken to ensure donor safety as allowing donors to give plasma no more than twice a week.  The risks of a donation visit are relatively mild-bruising, nausea and dizziness are some of the occasional side effects, which with proper hydration and a good meal eaten before the donation reduces that risk.

Some Important things to remember when giving plasma:

Drink 6 to 8 cups of water or juice the day before and day of your donation.

Eat a protein-rich, iron-rich meal no more than 3 hours before donating. …

Don’t eat fatty foods like French fries, potato chips, pizza, or sweets the day you donate. …

Don’t drink alcohol the night before and day of your donation.


After your plasma donation:

Drink plenty of water to replenish any lost fluids.  Eat a healthy meal within 2 hours of your visit and wait at least 30 minutes prior to smoking and also avoid “heavy” lifting and strenuous activity for at least 24 hours.

Current Conditions we are looking for include:

SLE/Systemic Lupus Erythematosus   (antibody needed is dsDNA, High level >400 or higher)

Polymyositis (PM), Dermatomyositis (DM)   (antibody needed, anti- Jo1, High level >8.0 or higher)

Crest/Scleroderma (antibody needed, SCL-70 >8.0 or higher)

Crohn’s Disease (antibodies needed: -ASCA, pANCA, ANCA-high levels)

Vasculitis (antibodies needed: MPO, PR-3-, ANCA high levels)

Autoimmune Hepatitis (AI) – (antibodies needed LKM-1 antibody-High levels)

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RF)-  (antibody needed Rheumatoid Factor @ >2000 iu/ml)

Visit us at http://www.accessclinical.com or call 800-510-4003 to inquire

Hepatitis A outbreak: 10 cases confirmed in Floyd County and more than 150 in Louisville

Indiana health officials have confirmed 10 cases of hepatitis A in Floyd County, including one linked to the Bob Evans in New Albany, as the outbreak in Louisville continues in the city and across the river.

The Floyd County Health Department is working with the state department of health to investigate the cases, according to a news release, and county officials are working to identify and notify those who may have been exposed.

People who ate at the Bob Evans in New Albany between Feb. 20 and March 9 and begin to develop symptoms of the viral liver infection are advised to seek medical attention.

Kentucky’s outbreak of hepatitis A is centered in Jefferson County, which has more than 150 cases — a significant increase in a state that typically sees about 20 cases per year. Dave Langdon, a health department spokesman, said Friday morning the city had confirmed 159 cases.

The outbreak was declared in November, when there were just 19 cases in Louisville, and officials said at the time that common risk factors included homelessness or drug use.

Since then, at least two employees in the food service industry were added to the city’s list of victims and more than 20 cases identified in Southern Indiana prompted the temporary closure of one school district’s campus, which includes three Henryville schools. They returned to school as normal on Monday.

The Clark County health officer said Friday there were 29 cases in Clark County, up from 25 last week.

“It’s almost like one big general outbreak in Kentuckiana,” Dr. Eric Yazel said, adding that the county was treating the cases with the highest level of precaution.

The disease, caused by a virus, tends to hit adults hardest. Symptoms usually last less than two months, but between 10 and 15 percent of victims remain sick for up to six months.

According to Dr. Lori Caloia, Louisville’s medical director, common symptoms include yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes; fever and body aches; stomach pain, nausea and vomiting; and darker urine and lighter-colored stools.

Louisville officials urge people to consider getting the vaccine, which is covered by most insurance plans and offered at Kroger and Walgreen pharmacies.

Waning Vaccine Protection May Be Driving Rise in Mumps

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, March 21, 2018 (HealthDay News) — A resurgence of mumpsamong young American adults is likely as the protection provided by childhood vaccinations weakens, researchers warn.

“Vaccination is the centerpiece of current public health strategy against mumps,” said study co-author Joseph Lewnard, a postdoctoral research fellow with the Harvard School of Public Health’s Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics.

“Knowing that protection wanes in the long term can help inform how we deploy vaccines to prevent or contain future outbreaks,” he added in a Harvard news release.

For the study, Lewnard and his colleagues analyzed data from six studies of mumps vaccine effectiveness that were conducted in the United States and Europe. The investigators concluded that immunization against mumps lasts an average of 27 years after the last dose of vaccine.

The researchers also estimated that 25 percent of Americans who were vaccinated against mumps as children may lose protection within about eight years, 50 percent within 19 years, and 75 percent within 38 years.

Further analyses indicated that weakening immunity to mumps played a major role in the recent re-emergence of mumps among young adults.

Just earlier this month, thousands of people may have been exposed to mumps during a cheerleading competition in Dallas, though no actual cases had been reported as the incubation period for infection was ending.

The latest findings suggest that, in addition to the recommended two doses of mumps vaccine in childhood, adding a third dose or booster shots at age 18 could help maintain protection against this highly contagious virus.

Few people will develop serious complications from the mumps, which causes the glands between your ears and jaw to swell.

But, the most serious potential complication of mumps is inflammation of the brain, which can lead to death or permanent disability, according to the researchers.

Also, inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, and loss of hearing can also occur, and in rare cases, this hearing loss can be permanent, the researchers said.

The analysis was published March 21 in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Artificial Sweeteners Cause Cancer

By Dr. Mercola

If you’ve added the artificial sweetener sucralose (brand name Splenda) to your diet because you think it’s a healthy alternative to sugar, you’re being dangerously misled. Research from the Ramazzini Institute has linked the popular sugar alternative to cancer, specifically leukemia.

The findings were first presented at a London cancer conference in 2012 and prompted The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) to downgrade Splenda from its “safe” category to one of “caution.”

Now that the study has been published in a peer-reviewed journal, CSPI has again downgraded Splenda, this time from “caution” to “avoid.”

Splenda May Increase Risk of Cancer in Mice

The researchers fed mice Splenda beginning prenatally and continuing for their entire lifespan. The mice were fed varying concentrations of the artificial sweetener: 0 ppm (parts per million), 500 ppm, 2,000 ppm, 8,000 ppm or 16,000 ppm.

A significant increase in cancerous tumors was seen among male mice, and the risk increased along with the dose. The risk of leukemia in male mice also significantly increased, especially at Splenda doses of 2,000 to 16,000 ppm.1 According to the study:

“These findings do not support previous data that sucralose is biologically inert. More studies are necessary to show the safety of sucralose, including new and more adequate carcinogenic bioassay on rats.

Considering that millions of people are likely exposed, follow-up studies are urgent.”

CSPI explained that the only other long-term feeding studies conducted on Splenda were conducted by its manufacturer. The new study, they said:2

” … [I]s more powerful than the industry-funded studies, which tested fewer animals, started exposing the animals beginning at adolescence as opposed to in utero, and ended earlier in the animals’ lives.”

After more than a decade, CSPI has finally gotten it right about Splenda in recommending that consumers avoid it. For the record, however, CSPI is generally an organization whose guidelines need to be taken with a grain of salt.

For instance, while recommending that people avoid artificial sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame and saccharin, they still consider drinking diet soda to be safer than drinking regular soda.

Splenda Is Found in 4,500 Products

If you’d like to heed the warnings and cut Splenda from your diet, be aware that it’s found in more than 4,500 products. Splenda has been smartly marketed, and it’s most known for its tag line “made from sugar so it tastes like sugar.”

It’s earned a reputation for being somehow safer than other artificial sweeteners like aspartame, which is why PepsiCo ditched aspartame in its Diet Pepsi in 2015 and replaced it with none other than Splenda.

Splenda became one of the top-selling artificial sweeteners in the U.S. in a very short period of time. Between 2000 and 2004, the percentage of U.S. households using Splenda products jumped from 3 percent to 20 percent. By 2012, Splenda generated sales of nearly $288 million.3

But make no mistake; Splenda is far from natural, even though it technically does start off as a sugar molecule. In the five-step patented process of making sucralose, three chlorine molecules are added to a sucrose or sugar molecule.

A sucrose molecule is a disaccharide that contains two single sugars bound together: glucose and fructose. The chemical process to make sucralose alters the chemical composition of the sugar so much that it is somehow converted to a fructose-galactose molecule.

This type of sugar molecule does not occur in nature, and therefore your body does not possess the ability to properly metabolize it. As a result of this “unique” biochemical make-up, the manufacturers claim that Splenda is not digested or metabolized by your body, making it have zero calories.

Splenda is supposed to pass right through you. However, the research (which is primarily extrapolated from animal studies) indicates that about 15 percent of sucralose is, in fact, absorbed into your digestive system and ultimately stored in your body.

Splenda May Decimate Your Gut Bacteria

If the potential cancer finding isn’t enough to sway you away from this toxic artificial sweetener, be aware that Splenda may wreak havoc on your gut bacteria, which could have an untold number of consequences on your health.

An animal study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, for instance, found that Splenda reduces the amount of beneficial bacteria in rat intestines by 50 percent while also increasing the pH level.

It also affected a glycoprotein that may affect the way certain drugs are metabolized by the body.4 The researchers explained:

“At the end of the 12-wk treatment period, the numbers of total anaerobes, bifidobacteria, lactobacilli, Bacteroides, clostridia, and total aerobic bacteria were significantly decreased … Splenda also increased fecal pH

These changes occurred at Splenda dosages that contained sucralose at 1.1 to 11 mg/kg (the U.S. FDA Acceptable Daily Intake for sucralose is 5 mg/kg).

Evidence indicates that a 12-wk administration of Splenda exerted numerous adverse effects, including (1) reduction in beneficial fecal microflora, (2) increased fecal pH, and (3) enhanced expression levels of P-gp, CYP3A4, and CYP2D1, which are known to limit the bioavailability of orally administered drugs.”

Splenda May Have Neurotoxic Effects and Is Found in Water

Research published in 2014 detailed Splenda’s oxidative effects and suggested the sweetener may have neurotoxic properties.

The researchers, who assessed the effects of sucralose on water fleas, concluded that: “exposure to sucralose may induce neurological and oxidative mechanisms with potentially important consequences for animal behavior and physiology.”5

The enzyme acetylcholinesterase is found in all animals, and for researchers looking for possible effects that artificial sweeteners like Splenda might have on animals and humans, this new information was disturbing.

If for no other reason, that’s why it’s so important to find out the consequences of Splenda exposure sooner rather than later, as the chemicals have already been detected in municipal effluents and surface waters in both the U.S. and Europe.6

Splenda Raises Your Insulin Levels

Far from being an inert substance, research also shows that Splenda affects your body’s insulin response. When study participants drank a Splenda-sweetened beverage, their insulin levels rose about 20 percent higher than when they consumed only water prior to taking a glucose-challenge test.7

Blood sugar levels also peaked at a higher level, “So the artificial sweetener was related to an enhanced blood insulin and glucose response,” researchers noted, adding:8

“Although we found that sucralose affects the glucose and insulin response to glucose ingestion, we don’t know the mechanism responsible. We have shown that sucralose is having an effect. In obese people without diabetes, we have shown sucralose is more than just something sweet that you put into your mouth with no other consequences.

What these all mean for daily life scenarios is still unknown, but our findings are stressing the need for more studies. Whether these acute effects of sucralose will influence how our bodies handle sugar in the long term is something we need to know.”

Artificial Sweeteners Confuse Your Metabolism

When you eat something sweet, your brain releases dopamine, which activates your brain’s reward center. The appetite-regulating hormone leptin is also released, which eventually informs your brain that you are “full” once a certain amount of calories have been ingested.

However, when you consume something that tastes sweet but doesn’t contain any calories, like an artificial sweetener, your brain’s pleasure pathway still gets activated by the sweet taste. However, there’s nothing to deactivate it since the calories never arrive.

Artificial sweeteners basically trick your body into thinking that it’s going to receive sugar (calories), but when the sugar doesn’t come your body continues to signal that it needs more, which results in carb cravings.

Contrary to industry claims, research over the last 30 years — including several large-scale prospective cohort studies — has shown that artificial sweeteners stimulate appetite, increase cravings for carbs, and produce a variety of metabolic dysfunctions that promote fat storage and weight gain — often to the researchers’ great surprise.

For instance, a 2010 review published in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine revealed the correlation between increased usage of artificial sweeteners in food and drinks and the corresponding rise in obesity. More than 11,650 children aged 9 to 14 were included in this study. Each daily serving of diet beverage was associated with a body mass index (BMI) increase of 0.16 kg/m2.

You can see the trends for yourself in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine graphic below, which clearly refutes the beverage industry’s claims that artificially sweetened diet soda aids weight loss.


Are There Safer Artificial Sweeteners?

I recommend avoiding artificial sweeteners of any kind, as each is linked with its own risks. Aspartame is perhaps the most dangerous of the bunch. At least it’s one of the most widely used and has the most reports of adverse effects. There are also hundreds of scientific studies demonstrating its harmful effects.

Sugar alcohols are another option on the market. They can be identified by the commonality of “ol” at the end of their name, such as xylitol glucitol, sorbitol, maltitol, mannitol, glycerol, and lactitol. They’re not as sweet as sugar, and they do contain fewer calories, but they’re not calorie-free. So don’t get confused by the “sugar-free” label on foods containing these sweeteners.

One reason that sugar alcohols provide fewer calories than sugar is because they’re not completely absorbed into your body. Because of this, eating too many foods containing sugar alcohols can lead to abdominal gas and diarrhea. It’s also worth noting that maltitol, a commonly used sugar alcohol, spikes blood sugar almost as much as a starchy new potato.

Xylitol, in comparison, does not have a great effect on your blood sugar, so from that perspective it may be a better choice. In moderation, some sugar alcohols can be a better choice than artificial sweeteners like Splenda and aspartame. Of the various sugar alcohols, xylitol is one of the best. When it is pure, the potential side effects are minimal, and it actually comes with some benefits such as fighting tooth decay.

All in all, I would say that xylitol is reasonably safe, and potentially even a mildly beneficial sweetener. As a side note, xylitol is toxic to dogs and some other animals, so be sure to keep it out of reach of your family pets.)

That being said, two of the best natural sugar substitutes are from the plant kingdom: Stevia and Luo Han Guo (also spelled Luo Han Kuo). Stevia, a highly sweet herb derived from the leaf of the South American stevia plant, is sold as a supplement. It’s completely safe in its natural form and can be used to sweeten most dishes and drinks.

Luo Han Kuo is similar to Stevia, but it’s a bit more expensive and harder to find. In China, the Luo Han fruit has been used as a sweetener for centuries, and it’s about 200 times sweeter than sugar.

How to Break Free From Artificial Sweeteners

The best option of all is to break free from the grip of artificial sweeteners, which starts by eliminating your sugar cravings. If you aren’t craving something sweet, you probably won’t have a desire to reach for an artificial sweetener.

First, I highly recommend trying an energy psychology technique called Turbo Tapping, which has helped many “soda addicts” kick their habit, and it should work for any type of sweet craving (or diet soda craving) you may have. A few other tricks to try to kick your sugar cravings:

Exercise: Anyone who exercises intensely on a regular basis will know that significant amounts of cardiovascular exercise is one of the best “cures” for food cravings. It always amazes me how my appetite, especially for sweets, dramatically decreases after a good workout.

I believe the mechanism is related to the dramatic reduction in insulin levels that occurs after exercise. Additionally, if you do eat sugars or fruits around the time of the exercise, your sugar levels will not rise as it will metabolized for fuel

Organic, black coffee: Coffee is a potent opioid receptor antagonist, and contains compounds such as cafestrol — found plentifully in both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee — which can bind to your opioid receptors, occupy them and essentially block your addiction to other opioid-releasing food.9,10 This may profoundly reduce the addictive power of other substances, such as sugar.

Sour taste, such as that from cultured vegetables, helps to reduce sweet cravings, too. This is doubly beneficial, as fermented vegetables also promote gut health. You can also try adding lemon or lime juice to your water.