Sunday, January 15, 2012

Use a red plate to lose a bit of weight: People who eat off them cut their food intake by 40%

Eating from a red plate could help dieters lose weight, scientists claim.
Serving up meals on red plates or drinking from red cups cuts consumption by about 40 per cent, according to one study carried out by German and Swiss academics.
Researchers say the colour red may encourage diners to avoid snacking because it is commonly associated with  the idea of ‘danger, prohibition and stop’.

Weighty issue: Researchers say using a red plate stops people eating as much food and using red cups could also stop pub-goers drinking as much alcohol

They claim the discovery means the Government and  food industry could use red packaging on unhealthy foods as a deterrent – and could even use more red in pubs to prevent people drinking too much.

In the study, 41 male students were asked to drink tea from cups marked with red or blue labels. They drank 44 per cent less from cups with red labels.
In the second part of the study, 109 people were given ten pretzels each on either a red, blue or white plate. Those with a red plate ate fewer pretzels.
The results were published in the journal Appetite.
Ursula Arens, from the British Dietetic Association, said: ‘Red may be associated with alarm or something primeval.'

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

How to Pick a Healthy Packaged Food

How to Pick a Healthy Packaged Food

When you find a packaged food in the supermarket with a long list of ingredients on the label, just set it back on the shelf and look for a simpler version of the food. (We’re talking here about the “Ingredients” part of the label. “Nutrition Facts” is another part, and more about that later.) The alarming truth is, many of those ingredients are various kinds of sugars and chemical additives, and they’re not put there for you — they’re there to benefit the company that processes the food.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Today is the day when most people will give up their New Year's resolutions... just nine days after they were made

We began 2012 with the best of intentions, vowing to ditch our bad habits for good.
But already the last traces of willpower are fading away.
Today is the day most people will give up their New Year's resolutions - just nine days after they were made.
Slowing down: Most of us are about to give up on our vows to exercise, save money or lose weight (file picture)
Slowing down: Most of us are about to give up on our vows to exercise, save money or lose weight (file picture)

Three-quarters of 3,000 British adults surveyed admitted they were no longer confident they would stick to their promises for the rest of the month.

The most popular resolutions this year related to physical and emotional wellbeing, with seven out of ten joining a gym or going jogging in the past two weeks.
Six out of ten said they were trying to eat more healthily or lose weight, according to the study by
Spokesman Ajit Malhi said: 'While 2011 took its toll for many of us financially, it's important that people look after their emotional and physical health to make sure you can deal with the demands of today's busy lifestyles.
'Setting resolutions is a great way to start afresh but as the stats show it can be difficult to kick out old habits.'
Defeated: This will on average be the fourth year we have failed to keep the same resolution
Defeated: This will on average be the fourth year we have failed to keep the same resolution

Two thirds of those who made resolutions did so with a concrete goal in mind, including reaching a certain weight, clearing debt and saving for a holiday.
Three out of ten said they were cutting down on alcohol while a quarter planned to stop smoking.
More than a quarter said they had experienced a 'health scare' that had made them reassess their lifestyle and aim to change in 2012.
Although most people were motivated by a desire to be healthier, four out of ten said they wanted to become 'a better person', with many hoping this would improve their relationships.
A third were pushed into making their resolution at someone else's request and one in ten said they were doing it for their children.
Sixty per cent said they preferred to keep their resolutions to themselves, with many concerned that friends and family would try to tempt them back into their old ways.
Six out of ten admitted to making the same promise last year. On average, we will have failed in sticking to the same resolution a disappointing four times.

Read more:

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Apples or a fizzy drink? Which is worse for your teeth?

A breakfast to boost your performance in the bedroom and the fruit that rots your teeth — 2011 was packed with food fads and revelations. 
But have you been paying attention? Take our quiz to find out ...

What is better for bones: wine, beer or vodka? 

A vodka Martini
Glass of red wine
Glass of beer
Red wine (left) is thought to have a more beneficial effect than white; beer (centre) and spirits (right) had no positive effect on bones

Wine. In a study of 1,000 pairs of post-menopausal twins in their mid-50s, those who drank a glass of wine a day had the highest bone mineral density. 
Researchers from East Anglia University and King’s College London believe polyphenols, a plant chemical and antioxidant found in grape skins, might be of benefit, as previous research found they boost the rate of bone production. 
Red wine is thought to have a more beneficial effect than white because the grape skins are not removed before the wine-making process. Beer and spirits had no positive effect on bones.

What could help impotence: croissants, Weetabix or  boiled eggs? 

Weetabix. Like other fortified breakfast cereals, it contains vitamin B3, also known as niacin, which has been shown to help men with erection problems. 
Researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong studied 161 men suffering from impotence, who took two to three 500 mg niacin pills every day for 12 weeks, and discovered they had significant improvements in their love lives, compared with those taking a placebo.
The scientists believe the daily niacin supplement boosted blood flow to the pelvic region by reducing levels of cholesterol deposits in the main arteries. Niacin may also help blood vessels to dilate. 
An especially high niacin dose was used in the study — much higher than the recommended daily amount of 14 mg. 
Two Weetabix would give you a third of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of niacin. Other good sources include red meat, particularly liver, and wholemeal bread. 

What prevents depression: tea, coffee or hot chocolate?

Coffee was found to be far more influential on depression levels than chocolate or tea due to the high caffeine content
Coffee was found to be far more influential on depression levels than chocolate or tea due to the high caffeine content

Coffee. Women who drink four or more cups of coffee a day are a fifth less likely to become depressed. Drinking two or three cups reduces the risk by 15 per cent. 
This is the result of a study of 51,000 women over ten years, published in the Journal of the American Medicine Association. 
One theory is that caffeine reduces the impact of the chemical adenosine in the brain, which can make us feel drowsy by slowing down nerve cell activity. Some anti-depressants also work by blocking the adenosine receptors. 
Coffee was found to be far more influential on depression levels than chocolate or tea due to the high caffeine content. 

Which is worse for teeth: apples or a fizzy drink?

Granny Smith Apple
Fizzy drinks
The researchers believe the damage is more severe with an apple (left) because we take longer to eat the fruit than drink a fizzy drink (right)

Apples. In a study of 1,000 men and women, those who ate apples regularly were 3.7 times more likely to have damage to their dentine — the layer of the tooth below the outer covering of enamel. 
Surprisingly, those who drank fizzy drinks regularly had no additional risk, found researchers at King’s College London Dental Institute. 
Apples are acidic and each contains around four teaspoons of sugar. 
Those who eat apples regularly are more likely to have damage to their dentine ¿ the layer of the tooth below the outer covering of enamel
Those who eat apples regularly are more likely to have damage to their dentine - the layer of the tooth below the outer covering of enamel
Though fizzy drinks contain around eight teaspoons of sugar per can and have a similar acidity to apples, the researchers believe the damage is more severe with the fruit because we take longer to eat an apple than drink a can.
‘Also, pieces of the apple are more likely to get caught between your teeth, where they can continue to damage the enamel until they are removed by brushing and flossing,’ says dentist Harvey Grahame, clinical director of hygienist services firm Smilepod. 
To minimise the damage from apples, drink water immediately after eating to wash away harmful particles, or eat your apple with milk or cheese, which contain calcium that neutralises acid. 

How many fruit gums provide one of your 5-a-day: 2, 18 or 195?

195. Fruit gums may have ‘real fruit juice’ in their list of ingredients but, according to Nestle, you’d need to eat 195 (11½ tubes) to give you as much vitamin C as in an average portion of fruit. 
This would also give you 1,955 calories — almost the recommended total of 2,000 calories a day — and 238 g of sugar — the recommended amount for women is 50 g or less a day. 

A big breakfast keeps you slim: true or false?

The study in Nutrition Journal said that if you want to lose weight, watch what you eat from the minute you get up
The study in Nutrition Journal said that if you want to lose weight, watch what you eat from the minute you get up

False. We’ve been told for years that eating a good breakfast curbs the appetite and stops us eating too much later in the day.
But a German study of 400 people found that participants ate similar amounts for lunch and dinner regardless of how much they had eaten for breakfast. 
The study in Nutrition Journal said that if you want to lose weight, watch what you eat from the minute you get up. 

Best natural alternative to statins: camomile tea, tomatoes or goji berries?

Tomatoes. Scientists have discovered that cooked tomatoes can have the same benefits as a small dose of statins if you suffer from high cholesterol or high blood pressure. 
Just 50 g of tomato paste or a pint of tomato juice would ‘provide protection against heart disease’, according to the study’s authors. 
Cooked tomatoes contain lycopene, a chemical that can help reduce cholesterol. A study in the journal Maturitas found that eating more than 25 mg of lycopene a day reduces bad cholesterol by up to 10 per cent. 
However, you should never stop taking statin medications without first consulting your GP. 

Which improves vision: chocolate, liquorice  or coconut? 

Chocolate. Researchers at Reading University asked participants to read coloured numbers that became progressively similar to the background colour until they disappeared.
When the participants ate 35 g of dark chocolate (a third of a large bar), their performance improved by 17 per cent. The effect was almost instant and the improved vision was found to last for more than 2½ hours. 
Flavonols — antioxidants found in cocoa — are believed to improve vision because they boost the body’s production of nitric oxide, which helps dilate blood vessels, allowing more blood to flow to the retina. 
Dark chocolate is better than milk chocolate because the levels of flavonols are higher. 
What protects against skin cancer: grapes, oranges or melons?
Grapes. Ultra-violet radiation from the sun increases levels of harmful molecules that form in the skin, damaging cells and causing wrinkles. But scientists writing in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found flavonoids (powerful antioxidants) from grapes can prevent these molecules from forming in skin cells exposed to UV light. 

How many eggs can we healthily eat: one a day or two a week?

There is no recommended limit to how many eggs we can healthily eat
There is no recommended limit to how many eggs we can healthily eat
Neither — eat them freely. We’ve long been warned to stick to two or three eggs a week because of their high cholesterol content. 
But according to the Food Standards Agency, there is no recommended limit, unless you have been told to cut down by your GP. 
There is no evidence that eating eggs raises cholesterol levels — and researchers found that eggs contain less cholesterol than in the past because hens are no longer given bone meal, which was banned in the Nineties after the BSE crisis. 
Research by the British Egg Council found that that a medium egg gives you around 100 mg of cholesterol, a third of the 300 mg recommended daily limit. 

Do strawberries: protect stomach, reduce wrinkles or freshen breath?

Protect the stomach lining. A diet rich in strawberries can help slow down formation of stomach ulcers and prevent gastric illnesses caused by drinking too much alcohol or taking aspirin. 
Scientists at Barcelona University found that rats given ethanol had less damage to their stomach lining and fewer ulcers if they had been fed strawberry extract for ten days previously. 
Strawberries are thought to help activate a protective, antiseptic enzyme called lysozyme in the stomach lining. 

How many portions of fruit and veg do we need a day: three, five or eight?

Eight. Most of us manage only three, but new data has shown even five portions of fruit and veg a day may not be enough.
Every extra portion gives added protection against heart disease, says research from a European investigation into diet and health, which is assessing 300,000 people in eight countries. 
The study revealed that eating eight portions of fruit and vegetables a day cuts your chance of dying from heart disease by  22 per cent compared with those who eat just three portions. 

What ice-cream is a ‘super-food’: camel milk, chocolate or green tea?

Camel milk ice-cream. Camel milk is lower in saturated fat than cow’s milk, contains ten times more iron and five times more  B vitamins — and its creamy,  light texture is said to make delicious ice-cream. 
Popular in the Middle East, the ice-cream isn’t cheap at £4 a scoop. But the milk is said to have many health benefits, and studies have shown it may help balance blood sugar levels. 
Camel milk is also reputed to boost immunity because it contains immunoglobulins (antibodies) similar to those found in human breast milk.

Read more:

Monday, January 2, 2012

8 ways to control your cravings and save your diet

1. Avoid Your Triggers

'You crave what you eat, so if you switch what you're eating, you can weaken your old cravings and strengthen new ones,' says Marcia Pelchat, PhD, of the Monell Center. This can happen pretty fast. For five days, her study volunteers drank bland dietary-supplement beverages. During that time, they craved fewer of their trigger foods. By the end of the study, the volunteers actually wanted the supplements instead. The first few days are always the hardest, and you probably can't completely eliminate your old cravings. But the longer you avoid your trigger foods, the less likely you may be to want them. In fact, you'll probably begin to crave the foods you eat, a real bonus if you've switched to fresh fruit.
2. Go Nuts

Drink two glasses of water and eat an ounce of nuts (6 walnuts, 12 almonds or 20 peanuts). Within 20 minutes, this can extinguish your craving and dampen your appetite by changing your body chemistry, says Michael F. Roizen, MD.
3. Let it Go

Since stress is a huge trigger for cravings, learning to deal with it could potentially save you hundreds of calories a day. This will take some practice. You can try deep breathing or visualizing a serene scene on your own, or you can speed things up by buying one of the many CDs that teach progressive muscle relaxation.
4. Take a Power Nap

Cravings sneak up when we're tired. Focus on the fatigue: Shut the door, close your eyes, re-energize
5. Get Minty Fresh

Brush your teeth; gargle with mouthwash. 'When you have a fresh, clean mouth, you don't want to mess it up,' says Molly Gee, RD, of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

6. Distract Yourself

If only ice cream will do, it's a craving, not hunger. 'Cravings typically last ten minutes,' says John Foreyt, PhD, of Baylor College of Medicine. Recognize that and divert your mind: Call someone, listen to music, run an errand, meditate or exercise.

7. Indulge Yourself -- Within Limits

Once in a while, it's OK to go ahead and have that ice cream. But buy a small cone, not a pint. Try 100-calorie CocoaVia chocolate bars or 100-calorie snack packs of cookies, peanuts or pretzel sticks. The trick is to buy only one pack at a time so you won't be tempted to reach for more. And since even 100 extra calories can sabotage weight loss if you indulge daily, strike a bargain with yourself to work off the excess calories. A brisk 15-minute walk will burn 100 calories or so.
8. Plan or Avoid

Vary your usual routine to avoid passing the bakery or pizzeria. If you know you'll be face-to-face with irresistible birthday cake, allocate enough calories to fit it into your diet.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Science-Based Slim-Downs

The benefits of weight loss go well beyond fitting back into skinny jeans. That’s why a number of big-name researchers, hospitals, and health organizations have launched their own diets to help strengthen the fight against a number of health conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity. These lab-tested plans have been around for a while, 

What It Is: Originally created as a meal plan to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, the DASH diet can help you lose weight and improve other health factors too, like your risk of diabetes or certain cancers. 

How It Works: You’ll cut salt intake and eat mostly whole foods, which will lower blood pressure levels and reduce risk of heart disease and even kidney stones. The most recent iteration of this program, The DASH Diet Action Plan: Proven to Lower Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Without Medication (Marla Heller, $15.63), features a 28-day diet plan complete with recipes. 

What You’ll Eat: Between 1,200 and 2,000 calories a day, depending on your weight loss goals. Expect lots of veggies, fruits, protein, and whole grains but very little sodium. Sample meals might include a sandwich with soup and veggies on the side, or a large salad topped with chicken, followed by a frozen yogurt sundae. 

Bottom Line: The main focus of this plan is improving cholesterol and blood pressure levels; weight loss is secondary, although it should occur for most people, particularly if you follow one of the reduced-calorie plans. Because this book includes 4-weeks’ worth of recipes it’s best suited for people who have the time to cook and are interested in trying completely new meals. 

Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) Diet
What It Is: This diet plan, which was crafted by the National Institutes of Health, is the gold standard for the American Heart Association. By lowering fat and cholesterol consumption and increasing fiber intake you’ll improve your heart health and lose weight, too. 

How It Works: The three-part program is designed to help lower blood cholesterol levels through diet, exercise, and weight management. The 81-page plan is free to download online. The booklet contains information about managing cholesterol and heart risk, in addition to healthy eating guidelines and several meal plan recommendations, although recipes are not included. The plan also suggests 30 minutes of exercise most days. 

What You’ll Eat: Between 1,200 and 2,500 calories a day, depending on your sex and your weight loss goals. You’ll be eating a lot less fat, particularly saturated fat, which is limited to 7% of daily calories. But you’ll be able to enjoy plenty of fruits, veggies, nonfat or low-fat dairy, fish, and skinless chicken. 

Bottom Line: The plan can be tailored not only to help improve cholesterol scores but also aid in weight loss, depending on your needs. Recipes and shopping lists are primarily up to you, so this plan might be a good fit for an experienced cook who wants to modify favorite meals. 

Mayo Clinic Diet
What It Is: This phase-based plan is part diet, part lifestyle changes, all geared to accelerate weight loss. In phase 1 of the plan you spend 2 weeks stringently monitoring what you eat and learning new health habits. By the third week the rules ease up, making the program easier to maintain long-term, but still effective for aiding weight loss. 

How It Works: For the complete guide, pick up The Mayo Clinic Diet: Eat Well, Enjoy Life, Lose Weight (by the weight loss experts of the Mayo Clinic, $14.63). Some recipes are included in the book, but if you want a true meal plan pick up the Fix-It and Enjoy-It Healthy Cookbook. Regular exercise—from walking for fitness to walking around the grocery store—is encouraged, as is eliminating bad habits such as eating in front of the TV. 

What You’ll Eat: Between 1,200 to 1,800 calories, depending on your sex and weight. You’ll fill your plate with lots of fruits and veggies, plus a moderate amount of carbs, fiber, and protein. This diet focuses on moderation more than absolute restriction. 

Bottom Line: This program focuses on food as well as lifestyle, which can help make the results stick. After 2 weeks of intense dieting you’ll be guided to make your own sensible choices, which should add up to a loss of 1 to 2 pounds each week.

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