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Extra cinnamon may be the secret to weight loss this holiday season

If you're looking to shed a few pounds, you may want to go heavier on the cinnamon this holiday season.

>> Read more trending news

New research from scientists at the University of Michigan (or U of M) revealed that cinnamaldehyde, an essential oil that gives the spice its flavor, appears to have an anti-obesity effect, Newsweek reported.

The study follows previous research, which showed that cinnamaldehyde protects mice from obesity and hypoglycemia. Scientists at U of M wanted to better understand why this is, so they tested the cinnamon extract on human and mice fat cells.

>> Related: 10 ways to avoid overeating during the holidays

"Scientists were finding that this compound affected metabolism," Jun Wu, an assistant U of M professor of molecular and integrative physiology who oversaw the study, told Medical Xpress.

"So we wanted to figure out how—what pathway might be involved, what it looked like in mice and what it looked like in human cells.”

>> Related: Weight Watchers debuts diet wine to toast the holidays

Published in the December issue of of the journal "Metabolism", the findings show that cinnamaldehyde acts directly on fat cells, or adipocytes, causing them to burn energy through a process known as thermogenesis. Overall metabolic health is improved as a result, and fat is burned.

For the study, Wu and her team tested the cinnamon oil on a range of subjects, with different ages, body types and ethnicities. They noted that fat cells treated with cinnamaldehyde resulted in the expression of several genes and enzymes that enhance lipid metabolism.

>> Related: Want to lose more weight? Ditch your diet for a couple of weeks, study suggests

Normally, adipocytes store energy as lipids, which is beneficial when you go without meals for an extended period of time. Essentially, this fat can be used by the body for energy, instead of food. In cold temperatures, adipocytes are also induced to transform stored energy into heat.

"It's only been relatively recently that energy surplus has become a problem," Wu explained. "Throughout evolution, the opposite—energy deficiency—has been the problem. So any energy-consuming process usually turns off the moment the body doesn't need it."

>> Related: 6 of the best apps to track your eating

In modern society, where food is generally abundant and a sedentary lifestyle is normal for many, our bodies instinctively store fat even though it's not necessary. This can lead to weight gain and obesity, especially when a person is inactive and consumes fatty foods.

However, the results of this new study suggest that cinnamaldehyde may be one way of making this excess fats burn quicker.

Read more here.

Blackston's double-double helps PVAMU beat Georgia State

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Gary Blackston had a double-double and Zachary Hamilton scored 17 points, including five 3-pointers, to help Prairie View A&M beat Georgia State 71-56 on Wednesday night to win the Middleweight bracket of the MGM Grand Main Event.

Blackston, a junior college transfer playing his fifth game for Prairie View (2-3) had career highs of 21 points and 10 rebounds. Dennis Jones added 13 points.

Jones and Blackston sandwiched 3-pointers around a layup by Georgia State's Devin Mitchell to start a 15-2 run that made it 26-13 and PVAMU led the rest of the way. Georgia State (3-2), which trailed by 13 at the break, used a 10-3 spurt - as Prairie View missed its first six second-half field-goal attempts - to trim its deficit to four points with about 10 minutes to go, but PVAMU scored nine straight points to make it 57-43 with six minutes left and Georgia State never again threatened.

Malik Benlevi had 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting and D'Marcus Simonds scored 16 for Georgia State.

Reporter finds black widow spider nestled in Christmas tree at grocery store

A news reporter in San Antonio made a potentially dangerous discovery in a Christmas tree at a local grocery store: a black widow spider.

>> Read more trending news

San Antonio-Express reporter Paul Stephen was shopping at an HEB grocery store Tuesday when he picked up a small Christmas tree and noticed the venomous arachnid, according to the newspaper.

"I saw the spider, snapped the requisite Instagram pic, put it down and moved on to the next tree," Stephen told mysa.com.

"Black widows aren't that uncommon, so it didn't occur to me to freak out," he said.

A HEB official told the newspaper finding a black widow in store merchandise “was a first” for the grocery chain.

>> Related: Watch: The biggest spider you’ve ever seen and it’s in your car 

Black widows are considered the most venomous spiders in North America, according to National Geographic. While they rarely kill people, they can cause extreme illness, but they only bite when they’re disturbed.

Winning numbers drawn in 'Cash 4 Evening' game

ATLANTA (AP) _ The winning numbers in Wednesday evening's drawing of the Georgia Lottery's "Cash 4 Evening" game were:

4-2-6-2

(four, two, six, two)

Winning numbers drawn in 'Georgia FIVE Evening' game

ATLANTA (AP) _ The winning numbers in Wednesday evening's drawing of the Georgia Lottery's "Georgia FIVE Evening" game were:

4-6-7-8-4

(four, six, seven, eight, four)

Winning numbers drawn in 'Cash 3 Evening' game

ATLANTA (AP) _ The winning numbers in Wednesday evening's drawing of the Georgia Lottery's "Cash 3 Evening" game were:

1-4-3

(one, four, three)

Mayoral candidate raises concerns about 2009 mayoral election

A candidate for mayor says she has always wondered if the current mayor of Atlanta won his seat fair and square.

Mary Norwood lost to current Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed in 2009.

Make sure to tune in to WSB-TV as Keisha Lance Bottoms and Mary Norwood go head-to-head in a live runoff debate moderated by Channel 2’s Justin Farmer, LIVE on Sunday, Dec. 3 at 5 p.m. 

Norwood told Channel 2’s Dave Huddleston that she never spoke publicly about the accusation because what she said she knew what happened wasn't significant enough to upset the entire system. 

[WATCH: Keisha Lance Bottoms speaks on Channel 2 Action News This Morning]

But our partners at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution got a copy of a transcript of a private June meeting where she brought up the 2009 election. 

"I just want you to be who you say you are, live where you say you live and vote once," Norwood told Huddleston. 

[WATCH: Mary Norwood speaks on Channel 2 Action News This Morning]

Norwood raised concerns about the 2009 election, which she lost to Reed by a couple of hundred votes. 

TRENDING STORIES:

She told Huddleston that she always suspected there was voter fraud. 

"I know there are instances where individuals were asked to vote in the election," Norwood said. 

She said individuals who didn’t live in Atlanta still voted in the mayor's race.  

[SPECIAL SECTION: The Atlanta Mayor’s Race]

Norwood said she's never talked publicly about the accusation, but privately has mentioned it to several groups, including last June, at a meeting that was recorded and leaked to the AJC.

"I have spoken privately to many groups, including last night to the NAACP, about the fact that I did not go public with some things I was concerned about with that election," Norwood said. 

ATLANTA MAYOR QUICK FACTS

  • The city’s last five mayors have been African-American
  • The last 27 have been Democrats
  • There have only ever been two Republican mayors of Atlanta
  • Shirley Franklin was the first female mayor of Atlanta. The next mayor will be the second
  • Only four former Atlanta mayors were born in Atlanta
  • Click here for more facts about Atlanta mayors

Huddleston contacted Reed for a comment on this story Wednesday. His spokesperson responded and said in part:

“If Mary Norwood had proof that the election results were invalid in 2009, she should have stepped forward and challenged the results then. She did not because she could not. She has no evidence to back up her claims. She has been a public official for the past four years and never raised any concerns about the integrity of our voting system."

Norwood said after the 2009 race, she joined the Fulton County Elections Board to get a new director on staff. 

She told Huddleston that she's confident the Dec. 5 mayor's race will be fair, accurate and impartial.

Mayoral candidate raises concerns about 2009 mayoral election

A candidate for mayor says she has always wondered if the current mayor of Atlanta won his seat fair and square.

Mary Norwood lost to current Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed in 2009.

Make sure to tune in to WSB-TV as Keisha Lance Bottoms and Mary Norwood go head-to-head in a live runoff debate moderated by Channel 2’s Justin Farmer, LIVE on Sunday, Dec. 3 at 5 p.m. 

Norwood told Channel 2’s Dave Huddleston that she never spoke publicly about the accusation because what she said she knew what happened wasn't significant enough to upset the entire system. 

[WATCH: Keisha Lance Bottoms speaks on Channel 2 Action News This Morning]

But our partners at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution got a copy of a transcript of a private June meeting where she brought up the 2009 election. 

"I just want you to be who you say you are, live where you say you live and vote once," Norwood told Huddleston. 

[WATCH: Mary Norwood speaks on Channel 2 Action News This Morning]

Norwood raised concerns about the 2009 election, which she lost to Reed by a couple of hundred votes. 

TRENDING STORIES:

She told Huddleston that she always suspected there was voter fraud. 

"I know there are instances where individuals were asked to vote in the election," Norwood said. 

She said individuals who didn’t live in Atlanta still voted in the mayor's race.  

[SPECIAL SECTION: The Atlanta Mayor’s Race]

Norwood said she's never talked publicly about the accusation, but privately has mentioned it to several groups, including last June, at a meeting that was recorded and leaked to the AJC.

"I have spoken privately to many groups, including last night to the NAACP, about the fact that I did not go public with some things I was concerned about with that election," Norwood said. 

ATLANTA MAYOR QUICK FACTS

  • The city’s last five mayors have been African-American
  • The last 27 have been Democrats
  • There have only ever been two Republican mayors of Atlanta
  • Shirley Franklin was the first female mayor of Atlanta. The next mayor will be the second
  • Only four former Atlanta mayors were born in Atlanta
  • Click here for more facts about Atlanta mayors

Huddleston contacted Reed for a comment on this story Wednesday. His spokesperson responded and said in part:

“If Mary Norwood had proof that the election results were invalid in 2009, she should have stepped forward and challenged the results then. She did not because she could not. She has no evidence to back up her claims. She has been a public official for the past four years and never raised any concerns about the integrity of our voting system."

Norwood said after the 2009 race, she joined the Fulton County Elections Board to get a new director on staff. 

She told Huddleston that she's confident the Dec. 5 mayor's race will be fair, accurate and impartial.

Winning numbers drawn in '5 Card Cash' game

ATLANTA (AP) _ The winning numbers in Wednesday evening's drawing of the Georgia Lottery's "5 Card Cash" game were:

AD-QH-9C-10C-4D

(AD, QH, 9C, 10C, 4D)

Cam Newton reflects on 2008 arrest, says it changed his life

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Cam Newton describes it as his resurrection day.

The Carolina Panthers quarterback reflected on his arrest in 2008 for stealing a laptop while at the University of Florida. He reflected Wednesday on what he said was a low point in his life.

Newton was charged with felony counts of burglary, larceny and obstructing justice. He posted his police mug shot on the nine-year anniversary of his arrest Tuesday, saying he did it to show others that people can rebound from the mistakes.

"A lot of me changed that day, for obvious reasons," Newton said during a news conference on Wednesday. "My biggest scar, in essence, ended up being my biggest star."

He thought his football career was over. He completed a pretrial diversion program, struck a plea deal and all charges were dropped. The moment still sticks with Carolina Panthers quarterback as the low point of his life.

But Newton said hitting rock bottom helped turn his life around.

Since transferring from Florida amid allegations that he cheated on classwork, Newton has enjoyed plenty of success on the field. He has won two national championships - one at Blinn College and another at Auburn. He was the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft in 2011, is a former league MVP award, has played in three Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl. The 28-year-old has also run for more touchdowns than any QB in NFL history.

He also has several endorsement deals.

Newton said he contemplated whether or not to post his arrest photo, knowing it would open him up to more scrutiny from and bring back some painful memories. But he said he thought someone who has made a mistake might benefit if he did.

"For a person that probably made a mistake, no matter what it was, to try to be better from it," Newton said. "I have (people I know) that are in the penitentiary, family members that are incarcerated. But yet that doesn't define them. We are all owed a second chance, even third and fourth chances.

"It is what you learn from it that defines you."

Newton has had to live by those words.

His share of off-the-field issues didn't cease after he left Florida.

In 2010, the NCAA said Newton's father, Cecil Newton, and another unnamed person tried to market Newton "as a part of a pay-for-play scenario in return for Newton's commitment to attend college and play football." Newton was suspended for one day but then reinstated after an NCAA investigation determined he had not violated any rules.

Newton's image took a hit after his abbreviated press conference following a Super Bowl loss to the Denver Broncos in February of 2016 where he barely answered questions, carrying himself as a poor loser.

And he lost a sponsor earlier this year following sexist remarks he made to a female reporter during a news conference. He later apologized on social media for his comments.

Newton said after talking with a friend about all of his past problems he decided to post the arrest photo, saying he was "thankful" for a second chance.

"I don't want to be the poster child of perfection because when you put yourself up on that pinnacle and you finally mess up, that's when it all comes tumbling down," Newton said. "I want people to look at me and say, 'Cam is still going strong, but look at the mistakes that he has made.'

"I'm still a work in progress myself."

Newton had received more than 215,000 "likes" on his Instagram post as of Wednesday.

"It was a turning point in his life, obviously," Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. "I think it helped him. He could have gone one way or the other. I think it motivated him to do things the right way."

Panthers wide receiver Russell Shepard wasn't surprised by Newton's Instagram post.

"That's Cam," Shepard said. "Cam is going to be bold. He's going to be very opinionated. He's going to be the guy that isn't the stereotypical type of guy. That is what makes him who he is. That is what makes his story a little different than most franchise quarterbacks."

___

For more NFL coverage: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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