- A healthy diet is linked to better reading skills in the first three years of school (Science Daily). The study showed that children whose diet was rich in vegetables, fruit, berries, whole grain, fish and unsaturated fats, and low in sugary products, did better in tests measuring reading skills than their peers with a poorer diet quality.
- Swapping soda for water reduces obesity. The study published in the journal Nutrients found that adults who swapped a single 8-ounce sugary drink - including soda, energy drinks, and sugar-sweetened coffee - for an 8-ounce serving of water reduced their total percentage of calories from drinks from 17 percent to 11 percent. This led to reduced cholesterol, blood pressure and obesity levels. (source: Medical News Today)
- Obesity-related cancer risk is increased by the duration of being overweight. A study led by Milina Arnold and colleagues at the IARC explored how the timing, duration, and intensity of overweight and obesity impacts on cancer risk, taking into account other factors related to obesity, such as physical activity, diet, smoking, hormone use, and history of diabetes. The study found that being overweight for a longer duration as an adult significantly increased the incidence of all obesity-related cancers by 7 percent for every 10-year increase in overweight adulthood period. The authors write: "We found that longer durations of overweight and obesity were significantly associated with an increased incidence of obesity-related cancers, postmenopausal breast cancer, and colon, endometrial, and kidney cancer." (Source: Medical News Today)
- Eat a bigger breakfast and a smaller dinner. This summer, a review study in the journal Biochimie answered long-standing questions about meal size and timing in relation to weight: Australian researchers found that eating a bigger percentage of the day’s calories at or before noon aids weight loss. Likewise, eating more than a third of the day’s calories in the evening doubles obesity risk. A healthy adult shouldn’t need a lot of calories later in the day, unless you’re working a night shift or exercising heavily. (Source: Huffington Post)
- Obesity increases brain aging. From middle-age, the brains of obese individuals display differences in white matter similar to those in lean individuals ten years their senior, according to new research led by the University of Cambridge. White matter is the tissue that connects areas of the brain and allows for information to be communicated between regions. Our brains naturally shrink with age, but scientists are increasingly recognizing that obesity - already linked to conditions such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease - may also affect the onset and progression of brain ageing. (Source: News Medical)
- Drink water to lose weight. Water might be a secret weapon for dieters, research involving nearly 10,000 adults suggests. “Those who were inadequately hydrated had higher body mass indexes (BMIs) than those who were adequately hydrated,” said study leader Dr. Tammy Chang, an assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School. Also, people who took in too little water daily had 50 percent higher odds for obesity compared to those who consumed enough, the study found. (Source: Health.com)
- Probiotics contribute to weight loss. A team of researchers from Taizhou, China has conducted a study and found that these helpful bacteria helped participants lose weight and lower their body mass index (BMI) scores. Probiotics, which can be found naturally in certain foods or in the form of supplements, are generally accepted as being beneficial to overall well-being. The findings showed that taking the probiotics contributed to decreased weight and BMI scores, particularly in participants who were overweight. Additionally, the researchers found that weight loss increased after using these substances for eight weeks. Taking more than one type of probiotic also resulted in increased weight loss. (Source: Consumer Affairs)
- Friendships matter if you want to lose weight. Researchers made the discovery in analyzing a survey of more than 9,300 Americans between the ages of 18 and 65. Overweight people who want to drop weight are less likely to succeed if they only socialize with other overweight people. Though they may be more comfortable with plump peers, they're more apt to shed unwanted pounds if they include thinner people in their social lives, according to the study published recently in the journal Obesity. (Source: HealthDay)
- To cut calories, place online food orders ahead of time. New research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Carnegie Mellon University show that people choose higher-calorie meals when ordering immediately before eating and lower-calorie meals when orders are placed an hour or more in advance. Published in the Journal of Marketing Research, the results could lead to ways to address the U.S. obesity epidemic. “Our results show that ordering meals when you’re already hungry and ready to eat leads to an overall increase in the number of calories ordered, and suggest that by ordering meals in advance, the likelihood of making indulgent purchases is drastically reduced,” said lead author Eric M. Van Epps. (Source: BioSpace)
- Copper Is key In burning fat. A new study is further burnishing copper's reputation as an essential nutrient for human physiology. A research team led by a scientist at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and at the University of California, Berkeley, has found that copper plays a key role in metabolizing fat. Long prized as a malleable, conductive metal used in cookware, electronics, jewelry and plumbing, copper has been gaining increasing attention over the past decade for its role in certain biological functions. It has been known that copper is needed to form red blood cells, absorb iron, develop connective tissue and support the immune system. "We find that copper is essential for breaking down fat cells so that they can be used for energy," said Chris Chang, a faculty scientist at Berkeley Lab's Chemical Sciences Division. "It acts as a regulator. The more copper there is, the more the fat is broken down. We think it would be worthwhile to study whether a deficiency in this nutrient could be linked to obesity and obesity-related diseases." (Source: BioSpace)
Scientists are constantly performing research and publishing new studies relating to weight loss and how to conquer obesity. Here are 10 interesting recently released news stories you might find informative.
Here's a quick and delicious morning meal. Not an oatmeal fan? This will win you over.
Mix in a microwaveable bowl:
Microwave about 5 minutes, but yours might need more or less time. Once it comes out (be sure not to burn yourself!) add:
Let cool a few minutes, then mix in 1/3 cup of skim or 1% milk and enjoy!
I started my fitness journey at the exact wrong time of the year. Or exact right time, depending on your perspective. I started on October 15th - just before Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. These are four very hard-hitting holidays when it comes to food temptation.
On top of that, my workplace happens to cater lunch every day. And they bring in foods like lasagna (a.k.a. a greasy vat of cheese), chicken cordon bleu, and meat loaf. And dessert - whole trays of eclairs, cream puffs, lemon bars, cookies, cake and more. You're probably thinking "wow, what a great perk!" I thought so too until I changed my eating habits for the healthier and realized I couldn't eat most of what was brought. Oh, let's not forget the closet full of Costco snacks - candy bars, chips, oreos, etc. You can see how I gained 70 pounds.
What are the secrets to resisting food temptation? Well there are many, but I'll boil it down to 8 that were helpful for me, hopefully they will be helpful to you as well.
1. Remember your goals and commitment
Hopefully you've made a goal to eat food that will help you feel more healthy and lose weight. If you haven't, you should read my blog post on starting out. You need to constantly remember that commitment and let that fuel your fire to change. Don't sacrifice what you want most at the moment for what you want most. Ask yourself, "is it worth it?" If it is, see #7.
2. Don't have it around
This one sounds simple, but deserves some thought. If you have unhealthy food around the house, you're making it easy for yourself to eat it in a moment of weakness. Make it hard for yourself to obtain unhealthy food, and I'm not talking about putting a chain and lock around the refrigerator. Get rid of the soda, get rid of the TV dinners, the sugary treats and candy, the refined foods that have 30 ingredients. Just get rid of them. If you have to hop in the car and go get a burger and fries, at least you're adding some time for you to think about what you're doing. And instead of a burger and fries you'll get the salad with the low cal dressing, or the grilled chicken sandwich, right?
3. Stock up on yummy healthy food
Related to the last point, stock your shelves with yummy, healthy food. When you have a craving, you can turn to food that won't put on the pounds. Have fun - grocery stores these days have aisles devoted to healthy eating. Of course, not all of it is healthy, but look at the nutrition facts and ingredients and get things that taste good and are good for you. At work, I put a bunch of healthy snacks in the fridge and in my desk drawer. They are all factored into my daily meal planning.
4. Eat frequently
As I said in my other post, one strategy to avoid cravings is to keep hunger at bay by eating frequently. If you're eating smaller meals every 3-4 hours, then your cravings won't get out of hand. Protein-rich foods are especially filling, and good for weight loss.
5. Don't think of food as a reward or consolation
How often do we feel like - it's a special occasion, let's have pizza! Or ice cream sundaes! Or chips and dip! Or I've had a rough day, so I deserve some food that will comfort me. Start getting out of that frame of mind. Find other ways to reward yourself, or find better foods. I find eating a sirloin steak and shrimp just as rewarding as having a treat or pizza. Kashi and blueberries now tastes like a treat to me. And they are much healthier.
6. Let people know that you're trying to be healthy
At some point, people will start to notice that you're living a more healthy life. It was great when I first heard "Hey, have you lost some weight? You're looking good!" And I wasn't eating the cakes anymore that were brought in for birthdays. They noticed, and some started to ask questions about what I was doing. I freely told them that I was eating better and exercising, and that I was feeling more healthy. That's great! When a lot of people around you know about your decision, it makes it easier to stay on track. You can even become a leader for change! A few of us at the office who were trying to eat more healthy banded together and we got our lunch caterer to start bringing healthy options. It's a bit embarrassing to be eating junk when everyone knows you're trying to avoid it. So buy some junk secretly on your way home, hide it in the closet, and...umm, no, what am I saying?
7. Give in
Ok, fine. Go ahead an eat whatever it is that you're craving. You certainly don't want to build up a whole mental attitude that there are forbidden foods. Eat it. Enjoy it. Savor it, slowly. And tell yourself "As long as I'm consistent 90% of the time, I can splurge once in a while." Obviously if you splurge every day you're probably not going to reach your goals, but an unplanned cheat once in a while isn't going to derail you. Let me put that more strongly - don't let an unplanned cheat derail you. That scoop of ice cream isn't an appetizer for pizza, wings and whatever else you can find. It's a scoop of ice cream, you'll enjoy it, get that craving out of your system and continue on your weight loss journey. Don't get depressed about it or let it cause you to doubt your commitment. You're human, and while the cravings diminish over time, I can tell you that for me, they have never vanished.
8. Make choices ahead of time
Don't leave food choices up to moments of temptation. If you've had a busy day, there isn't food in the house and you're hungry, you're asking for trouble. At work, if you automatically reach for a doughnut whenever they appear, you obviously don't have a plan of defense when treats attack. When you're in a good position to think, write down all of the kinds of temptations that might come up and determine how you will react. If you have a plan beforehand, then it will be easier to do the right thing. Or like I said in my other post, plan on a cheat meal each week...look forward to it, enjoy it, and keep your fitness goals on track.
It gets easier! The same treats are here at the office every day, but I don't even notice them anymore. They simply aren't things that deserve my attention, I'm a fit, healthy person and I think and act like a fit, healthy person. Not that old fat person I used to be.
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