Here is what you saw on Good Day Alabama for December 3, 2013:
JEH JEH LIVE - Jeh Jeh joins us with Red Rock Tuesday. He joins us from Jemison Park in Mountain Brook. The Red Rock Ridge and Valley Trail System will connect existing trails and parks connecting our communities while improving the health, economy, and quality of life for our region. For more information on the many hiking trails and future plans, visit http://www.redrocktrail.org/.
BETH K - Can Exercise Cancel Out the Effects of Overeating? Wouldn't it be great if you could overeat and just exercise more to cancel out the effects of too many calories? Researchers who studied that very question published a promising study last week in the online version of the American Journal of Physiology. UAB Nutritionist Dr. Beth Kitchin says while the results are promising, there are some limitations to the research. A lot of research shows that exercising can help you stay healthy. One of the many ways it does this is to help you control your blood sugar by keeping your cells responsive to insulin - lowering your chances of diabetes. It can also keep fat cells in check. But scientists have wondered if these effects are simply because exercise burns up calories - keeping your overall calorie is better balance - or if there is a direct effect of exercise on your body's cells - regardless of calories. The researchers took a group of 26 young, active men and randomly assigned them to one of two groups:
· Overeaters/ No Exercise: This group was told to eat 50% more calories than their typical intake. They were also told to cut back on their physical activity - no more than 4000 steps a day.
· Overeaters/Plus Exercise: This group was told to eat 75% more calories than their typical intake (the extra calories were to make up for the calories burned in exercise) and to run on a treadmill at a fairly intense level for 45 minutes each day.
So the idea here is that both groups had the same level of "energy surplus" - that is extra calories over their normal needs. They did this for 7 days. The researchers measured how well the men handled blood sugar and how their fat cells responded before and after the 7-day time span. The overeaters/no exercisers - in just 7 days - experienced a doubling of their insulin levels. In other words, their bodies needed more insulin to take care of their blood sugar. Their bodies basically had a more difficult time keeping blood sugar in check. But the overeaters/exercisers didn't have this problem. Even though they had an equal energy surplus as the non-exercisers, their bodies handled the excess. Exercising seemed to counter-act the negative impact of overeating.
So, does this mean we can all overeat and just exercise a little more? I hope so but not so fast. As all studies do, this one has its limitations:
· The participants were all young active men. If you are not a young active man, these results do not apply!
· The study was short. A week-long study does not tell us what could happen with long-term, habitual overeating compensated by extra exercise.
· They exercised every day, fairly intensely, for 45 minutes!! How many of us can realistically do that?
But still, increasing your physical is still a good idea - especially during the holiday season when few of us can resist a glass of egg nog and a Christmas cookie or two!
MONEY TUESDAY - Stewart Welch joins us with advice on a possible gift idea for your grandchild. He suggests making an investment in a 529 college saving plan. He say it's a gift that will last a lifetime and one that they will surely associate fondly with you. Here are a number of key issues related to the 529 college savings plan:
· The annual gift limit for this year is $14,000 to as many people as you choose. You and your spouse can join in giving therefore increasing your 2013 maximum to $28,000 for each grandchild. What's more, the law allows you to give up to five years' worth of gifts in a single year…meaning that you can accelerate the next four years' worth of gifts into this year for a total limit of $140,000 per grandchild! If you have a taxable estate, annual gifts to a 529 plan for grandchildren is a great way to move money out of your estate but to a place where it is sheltered from taxes, out of their control and will ultimately be used for education expenses. If you are thinking of investing more than $10,000 into a plan this year, considering investing only $10,000 this year and the balance early next year so as to maximize your State of Alabama income tax deduction. This is also true if you plan to transfer funds from another states' plan into the Alabama 529 plan. As the donor, you can retain control over the 529 account and therefore make certain the funds are used for education expenses according to your wishes. Or you can have the parents of your grandchildren be the owners of the accounts and they will be in control. If one grandchild does not go to college or doesn't spend all the money in their 529 account, you can shift his or her funds to another grandchild. While you don't get a federal income tax deduction for contributions to a 529 plan, once invested the money grows tax deferred and when used for qualified education expenses, distributions are tax free. Any unused funds can be withdrawn by the account owner. Withdrawals for other than qualified education expenses are subject to ordinary income taxes on investment gains plus a ten percent federal penalty. The benefits of tax deferral over a decade or more will likely more than offset the 10% federal penalty on non-qualified withdrawals so if you happen to 'overfund' a 529 plan it's still a great investment. For more information, visit www.CollegeCounts529.com.
ASHANTI - Janice talked with Grammy Award Winning Multiplatinum singer/songwriter Ashanti. The actress and Author now owns her Record Label - Written Entertainment. She's hard at work on her first album in five years and she stars in Lifetime's new holiday filmChristmas In the City. She also recorded a new rendition of the classic Let It Snow for Lifetime's holiday campaign It's a Wonderful Lifetime. Catch up with the Grammy winning singer & actress about her new projects and listen to her new song yourself! Ashanti burst onto the music scene with her 2002 smash hit debut self-titled album. "Ashanti" landed #1 on both the Billboard Top 200 and R&B album charts, setting a SoundScan record as the most albums sold by any debut female artist in the chart's history, granting her a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records and garnering her a Grammy for Best Contemporary R&B Album. She is currently in the studio recording her fifth studio album "Braveheart." Ashanti will also contribute to the sound track of the new film Tupac, to be released Fall of 2014. This ambitious young artist has written a book of poetry, starred in such films as Coach Carter, John Tucker Must Die and Resident Evil Extinction and has appeared on Broadway. Look for Ashanti next in Lifetime's Christmas In the City, playing a retail consultant who ruins a store's holiday sprit by replacing Santa with a hunky male underwear model. The movie is part of the networks' holiday programming extravaganza, It's a Wonderful Lifetime.
GARDENING - Sandra Reaves joins us to discuss great gift ideas for the vegetable gardener in your life. She shows us several tools and mentions several ideas by mind - pruners, anything on wheels to carry loads, and rosemary plants. She will also post a list on her Facebook page today. For more information, visit her Facebook page - it includes lots of pictures, tips, how to videos, and info on veggie trials going on in the garden. It's a "real time, real life" look at home gardening and food preservation. You can find her at www.Facebook.com/JosieGladysGardens.
NEW IN BOOKS - Susan Swagler writes about about books at her "Turn the Page" blog and in Birmingham Magazine. She introduced us to give and get! These books all have a certain Southern flair.... ranging from a delicious cookbook to historical fiction to parental advice disguised as a novel to essays of life lessons, these books are gift-ready. The books she showed us today are
Cooking from the Heart: My Favorite Lessons Learned Along the Way by John Besh
Guests on Earth by Lee Smith
Bread Crumbs by Slats Slaton
This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
Tomorrow on Good Day Alabama, take care of all of your holiday decorating, catering, and unique gifts at the Holiday Market at Ross Bridge. We take you there to check it all out! Notice your skin getting dry during the winter? The doctor joins us with advice on your skin and to take your questions! James Jones from Kairos Katering joins us with a great new recipe! Did you know you could rent the Birmingham Zoo for a special occasion? We find out how! Join us for all of this and more tomorrow on Good Day Alabama!
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