February 4th, 2014
09:56 AM ET

2 Men Sought in Virginia Police Captain's Disappearance

Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies are searching for two men in connection with the disappearance of a Virginia police captain. Waynesboro police captain Kevin Quick, 45, was last seen leaving his mother's house Friday night on his way to visit a friend 20 miles away, according to Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corrine Gellar.

"There were other pieces of evidence and information we had that made us concerned about his safety right off the bat," Gellar said in a news conference Monday.

Surveillance photographs place Quick's silver 1999 Toyota 4Runner in Fork Union, Virginia, on Friday and in the Manassas area Saturday, before it was recovered abandoned outside of a residence Monday in Louisa County, an hour away from where Quick was last seen. The SUV is being examined by the Virginia State Police.

Photos have surfaced that show two unidentified adult males who investigators believe may have information regarding Quick's disappearance. Photos of one of the persons of interest have been released.

Homeowner Frank Houchens told CNN affiliate WWBT that he called police when found Quick's vehicle in his driveway. He said police from nearby Harrisonburg, Virginia, showed him photos, but he did not recognize the person of interest or Quick.

Gellar said Quick's family had "exhausted all their resources" and that his disappearance was uncharacteristic for the longtime police officer who is described as "an institution with the (Waynesboro) police auxiliary unit."

"We stand here today shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters in law enforcement across the region and Virginia hoping for Kevin's safe return," Waynesboro Police Sgt. Brian Edwards said at the news conference Monday. "He is a generous and loyal friend to many of those who are present here today."

Numerous tips have poured in, according to the Virginia State police, and they along with the FBI, the Nelson County Sheriff's Office, the Albemarle County Police Department, the Charlottesville Police Department, the Waynesboro Police Department, and the Prince William County Police Department are looking into each one, as well as looking for Quick via ground and aerial searches.

Quick is described as a white male, 6 feet 1 inches and weighing approximately 200 pounds. He has brown hair, hazel eyes and medium build. He wears contacts or glasses and has a scar above his left eye.

Several local businesses are offering a reward of up to $8,000 for information that leads to the discovery of Quick.

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February 4th, 2014
09:53 AM ET

Sugar Not Only Makes you Fat, It May Make You Sick

In recent years, sugar – more so than fat – has been receiving the bulk of the blame for our deteriorating health.

Most of us know we consume more sugar than we should.  Let's be honest, it's hard not to.

The (new) bad news is that sugar does more damage to our bodies than we originally thought.  It was once considered to be just another marker for an unhealthy diet and obesity.  Now sugar is considered an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, as well as many other chronic diseases, according a study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine.

“Sugar has adverse health effects above any purported role as ‘empty calories’ promoting obesity,” writes Laura Schmidt, a professor of health policy in the School of Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, in an accompanying editorial. “Too much sugar doesn’t just make us fat; it can also make us sick.”

But how much is too much? Turns out not nearly as much as you may think.  As a few doctors and scientists have been screaming for a while now, a little bit of sugar goes a long way.

Added sugars, according to most experts, are far more harmful to our bodies than naturally-occurring sugars.  We're talking about the sugars used in processed or prepared foods like sugar-sweetened beverages, grain-based desserts, fruit drinks, dairy desserts, candy, ready-to-eat cereal and yeast breads. Your fruits and (natural) fruit juices are safe.

Recommendations for your daily allotment of added sugar vary widely:

– The Institute of Medicine recommends that added sugars make up less than 25% of your total calories
– The World Health Organization recommends less than 10%
– The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to less than 100 calories daily for women and 150 calories daily for men

The U.S. government hasn't issued a dietary limit for added sugars, like it has for calories, fats, sodium, etc.  Furthermore, sugar is classified by the Food and Drug administration as "generally safe," which allows manufacturers to add unlimited amounts to any food.

"There is a difference between setting the limit for nutrients or other substances in food and setting limits for what people should be consuming," an FDA spokesperson wrote in an e-mail to CNN. "FDA does not set limits for what people should be eating."

"With regard to setting a regulatory limit for added sugar in food, FDA would carefully consider scientific evidence in determining whether regulatory limits are needed, as it would for other substances in food."

There is some good news. While the mean percentage of calories consumed from added sugars increased from 15.7% in 1988-1994 to 16.8% in 1999-2004, it actually decreased to 14.9% between 2005 and 2010. But most adults still consumed 10% or more of their calories from added sugar and about 1 in 10 people consumed 25% or more of their calories from sugar during the same time period.

Participants in the study who consumed approximately 17 to 21% of their calories from added sugar had a 38% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, compared with those who consumed approximately 8% of calories from added sugar, the study authors concluded.

“This relative risk was more than double for those who consumed 21% or more of calories from added sugar,” they wrote.

Schmidt writes that these new findings “provide physicians and consumers with actionable guidance. Until federal guidelines are forthcoming, physicians may want to caution patients that, to support cardiovascular health, it’s safest to consume less than 15% of their daily calories from added sugar.”

That’s the equivalent, Schmidt points out, of drinking one 20-ounce Mountain Dew soda in a 2,000-calorie diet.

“From there, the risk rises exponentially as a function of increased sugar intake,” she writes.

In a statement, the American Beverage Association said the study "shows that adult consumption of added sugars has actually declined, as recently reported by the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

"A significant part of that reduction is from decreased added sugars from beverages due, in part, to our member companies' ongoing innovation in providing more low- and no-calorie options. Furthermore, this is an observational study which cannot – and does not – show that cardiovascular disease is caused by drinking sugar-sweetened beverages."

Despite our changing scientific understanding and a growing body of evidence on sugar overconsumption as an independent risk factor in chronic disease, sugar regulation remains an uphill battle in the United States.  This is contrasted by the increased frequency of regulation abroad, where 15 countries now have taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages.

“‘Sin taxes,’ whether on tobacco, alcohol, or sugar-laden products, are popular because they are easy to enforce and generate revenue, with a well-documented evidence base supporting their effectiveness for lowering consumption,” writes Schmidt.

But forget about the short-term monetary cost.  Before you reach for that next sugary treat, think long and hard about the long-term cost to your health.

February 4th, 2014
09:48 AM ET

See Blankets Washington Organization Cleaned for Homeless

In today's edition of the "Good Stuff," a woman snaps an image of clean blankets that goes viral. CNN's Chris Cuomo reports.

A woman was walking through a park in Washington on one of the coldest days of the year and noticed a city worker tossing the wet and dirty blankets that homeless people used the night before into a big can.

She thought they were being thrown away, but the next morning in that same park, the woman noticed something amazing.

All of the blankets had been laundered and folded and put neatly away on a nearby park bench.

She snapped a photo of it and posted it to Facebook. The photo has been "liked" more than a quarter million times and shared thousands of times.

Washington has a program that provides blankets to homeless people who won't go to shelters, and they launder the blankets of those who already have them.

The photo has also inspired others to pay a bit more attention to the blankets the homeless use.

A local dry cleaner in Pennsylvania  is now donating cleaning services to shelters and a group of neighbors are now sewing sleeping bags out of moving pads.

If you have #GoodStuff news, let us know! Leave a comment, post on Facebook, or tweet to @ChrisCuomo & @NewDay using #NewDay and submit your story on iReport.

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February 4th, 2014
09:23 AM ET

Second Snowstorm of the Week Slams Nation's Midsection, Northeast

Thank you, sir. May I have another?

Fresh on the heels of record snowfall in New York and across the region, a second winter storm was dishing up more misery from the Rockies to Maine.

The Plains will bear the brunt early Tuesday, with the system racing into the Midwest and Northeast before the day is out.

A record 8 inches of snow blanketed New York's Central Park on Monday. The forecast through Wednesday calls for up to 9 more inches.

The situation is so bad in New Jersey that Gov. Chris Christie has declared a state of emergency.

FULL POST

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