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eating healthier• Energy drinks containing caffeine and taurine can provide too much of a boost in heart rate, increasing heart contraction rates to potentially dangerous levels, according to a study reported at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago.

• Americans are living longer than ever, with average life expectancy having increased to 78.8 years, up from 78.5 years in 2008, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, increases in life expectancy are not matched by increases in “health span,” which means people will live longer, but with more years of illness and disability. The primary reason is self-induced weight gain and lack of fitness due to diet choices and inactivity.

• Americans are eating healthier diets, making better use of nutrition information on food labels, consuming more fiber and less cholesterol, and getting fewer calories from total fat and saturated fat, according to a report from the US Department of Agriculture.

• A Consumer Reports study found varying levels of 4-methylimidazole, a potentially carcinogenic chemical found in some caramel coloring, in 12 brands of soda from five manufacturers. The Food and Drug Administration will be investigating.

• Vitamin D supplements might help reduce pain from fibromyalgia, according to a study from Austria.

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