From the latest diet fads to herbal remedy dangers and teen automobile safety, The Doctors tackle the headlines' hottest health topics.
A new, controversial diet trend uses the pregnancy hormone hCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, injections to suppress the appetite. The injections claim to regulate the hypothalamus and reset the metabolism, and promises to help dieters lose up to a pound or more a day. One hCG diet combines the injections with a calorie intake of just 500 to 800 a day, while restricting exercise.
Endocrinologists Dr. Kent Holtorf and Dr. Katja Von Herle, and celebrity nutritionist and homeopathy expert Samantha F. Grant join The Doctors to debate the safety and efficacy of the diet.
"I will give my opinion on this here and now," OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson says. "The hCG diet needs a lot more testing before anyone should be on it, because it has the potential to cause cancers and things like that. HCG's a real hormone that does a lot of things, effects a lot of systems in a woman's body, as well as a man's, and you really need to have it studied long-term before you just try and use it as a diet medication."
• Join the 17 Day Diet Challenge, and start changing your life today!
Pediatrician Dr. Scott Cohen, author of Eat, Sleep, Poop, joins The Doctors to answer questions about your child's health.
Teen Driving Surveillance
Want to keep an eye on your newly licensed teen? Thanks to new, hi-tech developments, parents can now track and record their child's driving behavior from the comfort of their own home with the DriveCam device.
"If your child slams on the brakes or swerves, it records the 10 seconds before and the 10 seconds after," Dr. Cohen says. "You can download it, and then you can start a discussion, which I think that's the most important part. You're starting a discussion with your family and your [children] about safe driving. You're showing that you're interested in what your kids are doing."
"I certainly would have modified my driving behaviors if I knew my parents were watching," E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork says.
Rick and Annie Woods and their teenage daughters, Sarah and Emily, have used two the DriveCam device with both of them.
"[With the DriveCam devices installed], I'm more careful with turns and if I go too fast," Sarah, 17, says.
When Sarah was in an accident with another car, the surveillance technology recorded the incident, and the video helped prove she was not at fault.
"You made this part of their privilege to drive a car," Dr. Cohen says to Rick and Annie. "I think that's a unique perspective. Instead of making it a punishment, you [say], 'You know what? If you want to drive a car with our family, part of that privilege is to have this camera and for you to be safe.'"
Annie adds, "Studies show that it decreases accident rates by 70 percent, so as a parent, I think it's every parent's responsibility to put one in their kid's car. I really do, and it absolutely changes the way they drive."
Surprising Hazing Dangers
During a recent college hazing incident, a male freshman was forced to drink a bottle of soy sauce as part of an initiation. A few hours after consuming the condiment, he was reportedly taken to the intensive care unit, foaming at the mouth and having seizures.
While consuming soy sauce may seem harmless, it can be extremely dangerous in large quantities. The average tablespoon of soy sauce contains 960 mg of sodium, and an entire 5-oz bottle has 10 tablespoons of sodium.
"What can happen — we see this in ill patients all the time — you get this electrolyte imbalance when you get tons of sodium in your bloodstream. It's called hypernatremia," Dr. Travis says. "Your body wants to be in constant balance. When you get really high sodium [levels] in your bloodstream, your body pulls fluid into your bloodstream to equal out that sodium. Literally, think of your brain as shriveling, because all that fluid will be sucked out of your brain and into the bloodstream. You can get seizures, and it can be life-threatening. The good news here is that [the student] ended up, by all accounts, being OK."
Even if you are not consuming large quantities of soy sauce, try to use the low-sodium versions and consume in moderation.
Halt the Salt
Over the past few decades, Americans have increased the amount of sodium they eat by more than 50 percent, causing a nationwide epidemic of too much salt in their diets. To break the silence, The Doctors have kicked off a major movement to Halt the Salt!
Join the movement and take the pledge to Halt the Salt!
Halt the Salt Pledge
I Pledge To:
1. Eat no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day.
2. Compare nutrition facts labels and choose lower-sodium items. Print out a quick label reference guide!
3. Eat and serve my family three to five servings of vegetables and two to four servings of fruit each day.
4. Spread awareness and encourage others to "Halt the Salt" by adding a "Halt the Salt" Twibbon to my Facebook and Twitter.
5. Let food companies know that I want less salt in my food.
Click here to sign the pledge!