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Dr. Oz dishes Ambien sleeping pill warnings and low-carb noodles for weight loss

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Ambien has become the most popular sleeping pill sold. But now some consumers are complaining of serious side effects. On his Feb. 20 talk show, Dr. Mehmet Oz explored whether Ambien can turn into a nightmare. Plus: Get the dish on new low carb noodles for weight loss, including a recipe.

Insomnia can cause problems ranging from weight gain to increased risk of heart disease - but the hottest prescription, Ambien, also present significant side effects, warns Dr. Oz. Among those potential concerns:

  • Confusion or brain fog
  • Semi-awake state, which has resulted in some patients having car accidents and others gaining weight from "sleep eating"
  • Agitation

He invited his guest expert Dr. Michael J. Breus to explain what you should know to use Ambien safely and effectively. Author of "The Sleep Doctor's Diet Plan: Simple Rules for Losing Weight While You Sleep," Dr. Breus emphasizes the following:

  • Take the medication as directed before bed.
  • Drinking wine prior to taking can cause problems.
  • The maximum dose for women is 5 mg.
  • Stay in bed after taking Ambien. If you feel foggy when you wake up, the drug has not left your system and you should avoid activities such as driving. The effects usually last seven to eight hours.

In addition, Dr. Breus suggests seeing a sleep expert if you still need Ambien after taking it for a month. It's not meant to be taken long-term.

In another segment on the Feb. 20 show, Dr. Oz revealed the dish on new low carb weight loss noodles. They're ideal if you love pasta but loathe the calories and carbohydrates. Dr. Oz's guest expert Ashley Koff says that these swaps can help you shed pounds without sacrificing your pasta pleasures.

Among the options:

Try the following Oz-approved recipe for Pesto Pasta Made With Kelp Noodles.

Ingredients

  • 1 package kelp noodles
  • 1 tbsp raw pine nuts
  • 2 cups organic cilantro
  • 3 cloves organic garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp organic lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Directions
Rinse noodles well, then place in a bowl and cover with water. Let soak for 10 to 15 minutes.

In a small dry hot skillet, toast pine nuts for a couple minutes until they start to brown. Remove from heat and set aside. In a food processor, combine cilantro and garlic and blend while slowly adding in oils, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Continue to blend until it's a smooth consistency. You may have to pause to scrape the sides a few times.

Drain noodles and rinse again, then pat dry in a clean kitchen towel and add back to bowl.

Pour pesto mixture over noodles and toss to coat. Top with toasted pine nuts.

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