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We May Be Getting Smarter When It Comes To Dieting.

Instead of dieting strictly to lose weight, most Americans say they're on a diet for their health and their weight, says a new study by The NPD Group and the Milk Processor Education Program ( Two-thirds surveyed said they were dieting just "to feel healthier."

Fewer of us are on diets, too, or are attempting "extreme" diets. Of women, 29 percent said they were dieting — more than a third did a decade ago. About 19 percent of men were dieting, down from 23 percent. Sodas may adversely affect heart health

Even if you drink just one 12-ounce soft drink daily — regular or diet — you may be increasing your risk of heart disease. Drinking one or more sodas per day is associated with a higher number of heart-disease risk factors, according to a study published in the Circulation journal.

Researchers don't know for sure, but an ingredient in soft drinks, like flavor additives, could be bad for the heart. Then again, it could be people who drink soda just share some unhealthy habits, like skipping their workouts or eating lots of chips.

When you need a low-cal boost, maybe tea or coffee with heart-healthy antioxidants are better choices.

Tendency to overeat may originate in the brain.

You may be able to blame your brain if you have a tendency to overeat. People who overeat demonstrate less activation in a part of the brain that signals satiety than their thinner, more abstemious counterparts, a study that will appear in the Feb. 15 issue of NeuroImage finds.

Researchers imaged the brains of 18 individuals who swallowed expandable balloons to see how they responded. Those who were overweight showed less activity in the left posterior amygdala, which governs the body's feeling of fullness. Get on the road to fitness with your pet

Want to work out but you just can't do it alone? Maybe you can enlist your pet in the effort. And lest you — or your pet — scoff that there's no need for any drastic action, consider this: More than a third of the dogs and cats in this country are considered obese.

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