Entries in Thanksgiving (6)


Fatal Car Crashes More Likely on Thanksgiving

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Thanksgiving was the deadliest holiday in 2010, according to the most recent data available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  

That year, 431 people died on the roads nationwide, compared with 259 on Christmas, 403 on Labor Day and 392 on Fourth of July.

"Whenever you increase the number of people traveling, and the number of cars, your likelihood and chance of having an accident are going to increase just by statistics," said Dr. Rahul Sharma, who heads NYU Langone Medical Center's Emergency Department and has worked his fair share of holidays in the ER.

An estimated 90 percent of Thanksgiving travelers will drive to their destinations this Thursday, according to the AAA auto club.  That's 39.1 million people on the roads.

Sharma said car accident injuries can vary depending on what time the accident happens.  During the day, when roads are gridlocked, collisions happen at lower speeds and result in more minor injuries, including bruises and neck injuries.

"If there were to be a silver lining, that would be it," said Jake Nelson, AAA's Director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research.  "I'm not sure anyone would pray for congestion though."

Late at night, however, ER doctors start seeing more serious injuries as travelers are able to go faster on the emptying roads, Sharma said.  The holiday alcohol and distracting family drama can also contribute to slower reaction times.

And as it gets later, more impaired drivers get behind the wheel, said Dr. Curt Dill, who also works in the NYU emergency room.  He said that 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. are normally the worst hours, but by 2 a.m. on Thanksgiving, drivers might be traveling so fast that they look like they're "drag racing," causing cars to lose control and even flip over.

Dill said injuries depend on whether drivers are wearing their seat belts and how fast they're speeding.

"If you're wearing a seat belt and driving a modern vehicle with restraints on, then lots of collisions are survivable," he said.  "But if you're not wearing your seat belt, you're crashing into a several-ton piece of metal."

That means, broken bones, internal bleeding, head injuries and even death.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Seven Thanksgiving Diet Disasters to Avoid

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Even if it's tough to prove the Calorie Control Council's claim that average Americans gorge themselves to the tune of 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day, no one can deny that it's a holiday on which most people stuff themselves like a turkey.

But while most are not likely to choose Thanksgiving as a day to start a diet, there are some ways to lighten things up.

Keri Glassman, M.S., R.D., a contributor to Women's Health Magazine, lists the seven worst caloric offenders you're likely to encounter this Thanksgiving, and offers some advice on how to minimize the damage.

Frankly Awful

Pigs in a blanket are small and cute but at 66 calories each, these little piggies can really add up.  They're also loaded with artery-clogging saturated fat and cancer-causing nitrates.  A better appetizer is half a cup of steamed or boiled shrimp -- a nosh that contains a mere 100 calories with virtually no fat.  Just go easy on the cocktail sauce, which can ratchet up the calorie count if you get carried away.

Not So Skinny Dipping

Chips and dip are a dangerous liaison because you eat them mindlessly.  Before you know it, you've snacked away on hundreds of calories and too many grams of unhealthy hydrogenated fats.  If you must hear a crunch from your appetizer, park yourself near the crudité plate and munch on carrots and red peppers instead.

Dastardly Drink

One slim glass of eggnog contains as many calories as three glasses of wine: 343.  What's more, there are nearly 12 grams of fat and 22 grams of sugar.  Enjoy a single glass of wine instead.  Besides saving you from a caloric and nutritional nightmare, you'll also reap the antioxidant benefits from the vino's phytochemicals.

Over Stuffing

A simple bread stuffing is already loaded with 178 calories per cup.  But when you toss in the sausage -- as many traditional stuffing recipes do -- you make matters worse by adding an additional hundred calories and a ton of fat.  So hold the extras and save your calories for something your taste buds are more likely to notice.

Orange Menace

When you take sweet potatoes, a food rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber, drench them in butter and sugar and bake them into oblivion, you kill their nutritional value and turn them into a dieter's nightmare.  You're better off sticking with mashed potatoes, which, at 118 calories per serving, have half the calories and less fat.  Or, zap a sweet potato in the microwave then dab on a smidge of butter, sprinkle on a pinch of cinnamon and top with a marshmallow.

The Dark Side

Three ounces of dark meat turkey with skin deliver nearly 200 calories and a double whammy of saturated fat.  Not only is the skin a major source of fat, but dark meat in general has the highest fat content in the entire bird.  If you can't forego the dark, at least peel the skin off.  Better yet, stick with light meat, which is significantly lower in fat and has just 114 calories for the same-sized serving.


Here's one time where tradition wins out.  Pumpkin pie is a better choice than either pecan or apple.  One slice of pecan pie contains a whopping 780 calories; apple pie, about 415.  Pumpkin pie will only set you back about 350 calories, and that's if you splurge on a dollop of whipped cream to top it off.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


PETA's Thanksgiving Ad Asks Kids Would You Eat Your Dog?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The animal rights group PETA is planning to attack the tradition of eating turkeys on Thanksgiving by putting up billboards near schools asking kids if they would eat their pet dogs.

The group, known for its often controversial advertisements urging people to "Go vegan" or not to buy fur, intends to put up the billboards Reno, Nev., Boise, Idaho, and Sacramento, Calif.

The billboards depict a turkey with the head of a dog and the message, "KIDS: If you wouldn't eat your dog, why eat a turkey?"

PETA, which stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, defended targeting children in their ads.

"Children have a natural compassion for animals," said project manager Alicia Woempner. "They are also bombarded with constant fast food advertisements and we'd like to offset that negative influence with a message of kindness."

Lamar Advertising Co., a nationwide billboard company that owns outdoor ad space in Boise, confirmed to ABC News that the animal rights group requested approval of the content of the billboard and received it.

"We don't approve everything PETA sends," said Lamar spokesman Hal Kilshaw, "but we did approve this."

Kilshaw did say that some of the group's past ads have been so extreme that they must have known they'd be denied. "And when they've been denied," he said, "they have been quick to have press conferences about it in the past."

Last year PETA put up similar ads Jacksonville, Fla., and Memphis, Tenn., and this past October the ads appeared in Saskatoon for Canadian Thanksgiving.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


'Scary Mommy' Blogger Raises More Than $20,000 for Families

George Doyle/Stockbyte(BALTIMORE) -- Jill Smokler, the Maryland mom of three behind the popular “Scary Mommy” blog and parenting web site, asked her readers earlier this month to offer $25 donations that could be used to buy grocery store gift cards for readers who said they couldn’t afford to buy food for Thanksgiving.  

Her goal was to match two donors to each person who’d asked for assistance on her site.

She’s since raised more than $20,000 — enough to help 412 families. Those hundreds of families include the Schroeders of Warren, Mich.

Sarah Schroeder works to help the homeless while her husband stays home with their kids. Their daughter’s illness left them with $50,000 and Sarah would secretly pour her heart out on Smokler’s site.

“Just because you had to make hot dogs for dinner ’cause they’re 48 cents a pack does not make you a bad mom,” Schroeder said.

Donors to Smokler’s cause have remained largely anonymous, but Smokler introduced Good Morning America to a few of them by Skype.

“The thought of another mother not being able to provide for her kids just breaks my heart,” one donor told ABC News.

Smokler said her experience has taught her that hunger is “everywhere.”

“It’s not just a statistic that we read about in the paper. It’s real moms, who we may not, you know, recognize on the surface are struggling,” she said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Canned Foods Linked to High BPA Levels

George Doyle/Stockbyte(BOSTON) -- People who eat a good deal of canned foods often have higher levels of the chemical BPA in their blood, according to a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health.

BPA, a chemical used in the linings of cans, has been linked to -- but not a proven cause of -- serious health problems including cancer, heart disease and early puberty in children of women who have high BPA levels while pregnant.

“They took a group of 75 people and they gave them canned soup once a day for five days,” ABC News senior health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser, who was not directly involved with the study, explained. “What they found was, after five days, the level of BPA in their body went up more than ten-fold -- a big rise in BPA.”

After two days, Besser says, BPA levels were back to normal.

“The more food that you can eat that’s fresh or frozen -- that will eliminate the BPA from the can-liners,” Besser said. “If you're buying food in plastic, don't heat it in the plastic material because that heating can actually release some of the BPA into your food.”

The study was paid for by the nutrition research advocacy group, the Allen Foundation. The findings were published in the Nov. 22 edition of the Journal of the Medical Association.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Thanksgiving Food Truths and Myths We Just Can't Shake

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Will your Thanksgiving turkey put you to sleep?  Can the stuffing give you salmonella poisoning?

Here's the straight story on health myths and facts surrounding your Thanksgiving feast:

Turkey Dinner Makes You Sleepy

Turkey does contain a protein called tryptophan which can act like a natural sedative.  But a large amount -- meaning more than just a few slices of turkey -- would have to be consumed alone on an empty stomach to make you feel sleepy.

"A more likely scenario is the huge number of calories that people consume rather than the turkey meat," said Dr. Lou Aronne, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York.

A large number of calories consumed from the whole meal produce intestinal hormones which can make you sleepy, said Aronne.

Canned Foods Contain Cancer Causing BPA

A recent report released by the Breast Cancer fund suggests that canned foods may contain traces of bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in the lining of cans, which has been implicated as a potential carcinogen.  Still, many experts said that not all cans contain BPA, and the levels in the cans that do have it are too small to ruin your Thanksgiving meal.

"There are more anti-cancer properties in having vegetables than not eating because of the can," said Aronne.

Drinking More Can Cure that Holiday Hangover

"Most hangover cures are by and large not effective besides sleeping and hydrating with water," said Arrone.

Drinking more will only help you get drunk again, which is only a temporary cure for what's sure to be a stronger hangover, he said.  Worse, drinking alcohol to cure a hangover could lead to more dehydration, which can lead to serious health problems.

Holiday Desserts Can Cause Acne

Acne is due to hormone changes in the body and not by consuming sweet or fried food, experts said.

"The problem is that high-fat finger foods gets greasy and you put those fingers up to your face," said Keith Ayoob, Director of the Nutrition Clinic at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.  "If you don't wash carefully and often, this may clog pores."

Salmonella from Turkey Stuffing

Stuffing a turkey while raw or not fully cooked can contaminate the stuffing with bacteria like salmonella.  Heat can kill some of the bacteria, but because the stuffing is hidden inside the turkey, some of it may not reach the 160 degrees needed to kill off the bacteria.

"If it does reach that temperature then the bird could be overdone," said Ayoob.

While the salmonella risk can be staved off if the stuffing is warm when added to the turkey, you may end up having another problem on your hands.

"But all the turkey fat drips into the stuffing," said Ayoob.  "Do we really need another source of fat in a Thanksgiving meal side dish?"

Cook the stuffing and turkey separately, marry them later, and the problem will be solved, he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio