In this week’s news: Gluten-free diets spark a grain of concern; slow and steady may not win the weight-loss race; and that regrettably fattening lunch may have been your brain’s fault.
Tag: weight loss
Is your house making your fat? It’s possible that the urge to reach for a cookie instead of an apple or to dig into second and third helpings really isn’t our fault. According to food psychologist Brian Wansink, director of Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab, our environment is the biggest predictor of whether or not we have healthy eating habits. He’s identified what he calls the “five zones” where most of our eating and food choices occur — home, favorite restaurants, workplace, grocery stores and our kids’ schools. In his new book, Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life (William Morrow), he explains how each affects us and how we can take more control.
Many of us are guilty, at least on occasion, of scarfing down food and swallowing large mouthfuls. Beyond that, who hasn’t heard some variation of the chew-your-food-X-number-of-times counsel? Such advice may sound like dietary superstition, but how well a person chomps actually matters. Chewing rate can have a significant impact on digestion of nutrients and may also affect hunger levels.
The Tooth of the Matter
In recent years, several studies have determined that chewing food thoroughly makes more nutrients available for absorption. Extra chewing allows compound within the food an additional opportunity to combine before they make it further down the digestive tract, which may have a positive influence on health. According to some studies, taking more time to chew also promotes a slower rate of eating, which can help with better appetite control and (in the long run) improved weight management.
Regulars in the celebrity-magazine rotation, including Jennifer Lopez, have credited their recent weight-loss success to the 22 Days vegan diet. It’s the same eating plan Beyoncé and Jay-Z popularized by posting food photos on Instagram. But is cutting out all animal products a healthy way to lose weight?
Why 22 Days?
The creator of this particular vegan diet, Marco Borges, is an exercise physiologist who believes veganism is the perfect way to achieve optimum wellness. His theory is that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit, and so he developed the 22 Days Challenge in order to achieve his so-called “major breakthrough.”
Research in recent years has made it clear that losing weight and getting healthy isn’t something that happens in a vacuum. One study that garnered numerous headlines several years back found that a person’s chance of becoming obese increases by 57 percent if a close friend is obese, 40 percent if a sibling is obese, and 37 percent is their spouse is obese. That’s some hefty (pun intended) pressure on your social circles.
But Harvard professors Walter Willett, MD, and Malissa Wood, MD, have taken the research several steps further. Their new book Thinfluence examines how friends, family, colleagues, online communities and the environment exert influence over your health behaviors — and how you can make them work in your favor. Here, Dr. Wood talks about what it takes to stay on track.
Who exerts the biggest influence over your behaviors and why?
For most people, it’s whoever you spend the most time with. And that often ends up being your co-workers. You might spend more time with them than you do your family and eat more meals at work than you do at home.
What are some ways these people can negatively — or positively — influence your own behaviors and choices?
The influences can be very powerful. If you work with a group of people who like to go out and eat unhealthy food every day for lunch or always order in pizza when you’re working late, those decisions will shape your behavior. But, for example, I’m lucky enough to work with several women who all decided to make some efforts to get healthier by eating better and exercising more. I spend all day with these people, so that has had a very positive effect. Read more
A study published earlier this month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that skipping breakfast doesn’t affect weight loss in dieters. But if you think the findings offer permission to skip breakfast, think again.
Researchers examined the effect of skipping or eating breakfast on weight loss in 309 healthy overweight and obese people who ranged in age from 20 to 65. One group ate breakfast before 10 a.m., while the second group didn’t eat anything before 11 a.m. A third group consisting of 44 people who normally skipped breakfast and 52 people who normally ate breakfast were not given any instruction.
The study found that eating or skipping breakfast did not affect weight loss one way or the other. But does it truly not matter if you bypass breakfast?
It’s February! Or in other words, the time when many people start breaking their New Year’s resolutions. At the gym, lines for the elliptical trainer are slowly dwindling, while at home, healthy eating habits are beginning to slide. Here’s how to resist falling back on old habits for the remaining 11 months of the year.
Myth: Juicing helps you lose weight
Fact: Although fruits and vegetables are relatively low in calories and have plenty of vitamins and antioxidants, too much of anything can pack on the pounds. Each ½ cup of fruit has about 60 calories. Juicing 4 to 5 cups of fruit comes out to 480 to 600 calories in one serving. If you’re trying to lose weight while juicing, portions still matter. Furthermore, diets that advocate juicing alone aren’t balanced (where’s the protein?) and are often dangerously low in calories overall.
Myth: Juicing is a way to cleanse your body
Fact: Your liver and kidneys were created to detoxify and naturally cleanse your body. Juicing or taking special concoctions won’t do a better job and there is no scientific evidence proving otherwise.