Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

Compendium of interesting bits I come across, with an occasional IMHO

Tips to skip junk food

Very useful. It didn’t mention the obvious — don’t have junk food at home where it becomes too easy to grab it — probably because it’s not an option for some.

Six strategies to help you say no to junk food

By CAITLIN DOW | MAY 3, 2017 |  Nutrition Action

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October 11, 2017 Posted by | diet, health | | Leave a comment

Preservatives are making you fat

It looks like the chemical BHT (often added to keep foods tasting fresher) interferes with your body’s signals of fullness after eating.  And then there is PFOA and TBT…

Study Shows How Food Preservatives May Disrupt Human Hormones and Promote Obesity

Innovative Stem Cell Testing System Demonstrates Potential for Evaluating Health Effects of Chemicals Used in Everyday Life

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September 26, 2017 Posted by | diet, health | , | Leave a comment

Wrong time to eat

Looks like eating time affects circadian rhythms.  Although the experiments were carried out on mice, eating when they were supposed to be sleeping prevented weight loss and increased sleep deprivation.  It may even affect lifespan.  If it applies to humans, it would mean that we should be eating only during daylight hours.  (One more thing that points to the “breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper” saying.)

The article below is from a scientist point of view, but the message is clear.

Study: Eating at ‘wrong time’ affects body weight, circadian rhythms

July 18, 2017 | UTSouthwestern Medical Center  Continue reading

August 5, 2017 Posted by | diet, health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Great diet tips

Little things can make a difference:

Diet Res-Illusions: Tips from the pros on how to lose weight

We make ’em, we break ’em. New Year’s diet resolutions fall like needles on Christmas trees as January goes on. Genes can work against us. Metabolism, too. But a food behavior researcher has tested a bunch of little ways to tip the scale toward success.

His advice: Put it on autopilot. Make small changes in the kitchen, at the grocery store and in restaurants to help you make good choices without thinking.

“As much as we all want to believe that we’re master and commander of all our food decisions, that’s just not true for most of us,” said the researcher, Brian Wansink. “We’re influenced by the things around us — the size of the plate, the things people are doing … the lighting.”

He heads the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, has written books on taking control of food choices, and has had government and industry funding.

Some tips are gimmicks, and some may not work as well for you as they did in tests. But they “make a lot of sense” and many are backed by other studies, said one independent expert, Dr. William Yancy, a weight specialist at Duke University’s diet and fitness center.

To start: Make goals that are SMART — Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound, Yancy said. Instead of resolving to eat better, plan how to do it, such as having chips once or twice a week instead of every day. Rather than vague vows to get in shape, resolve to walk half an hour every day after dinner.

Other tips from Wansink and research to support them:

IN THE KITCHEN

Redo the pantry to put healthy stuff in front. You’re three time more likely to eat the first food you see than the fifth one.

Tidy your kitchen before eating. Women asked to wait in a messy kitchen ate twice as many cookies as women in the same kitchen did when it was organized and quiet.

Redo the fridge. Even though it shortens shelf life, move fruits and vegetables out of crisper drawers and put them at eye level. Keep good foods in clear bags or containers and less healthy things like leftover pizza in aluminum foil. In one study, people who put fruits and vegetables on the top shelf ate nearly three times more of them than they did the week before.

Keep no food out except a fruit bowl. Researchers photographed 210 kitchens to see whether countertop food reflects the weight of women in each home. Those who left breakfast cereal out weighed 20 pounds more than neighbors who didn’t; those with soft drinks out weighed 24 to 26 pounds more. Those with a fruit bowl weighed 13 pounds less.

AT THE TABLE

Beware the glassware. Use narrower glasses, pour wine when the glass is on the table rather than in your hand, and use a glass that doesn’t match the color of the wine. A study found that people poured 12 percent more wine when using a wide glass, 12 percent more when holding the glass, and 9 percent more when pouring white wine into a clear glass versus a colored or opaque one. Pour any glass only half full — this cuts the average pour by 18 percent.

Use smaller plates and pay attention to color. Big plates make portions look small. In one study, people given larger bowls took 16 percent more cereal than those given smaller bowls, yet thought they ate less. People also take more food if it matches the color of their plate. But they eat less when the tablecloth or placemat matches the plate; it makes the food stand out more.

Keep the TV off and eat at a table. A study of dinner habits of 190 parents and 148 children found that the higher the parents’ body mass index (a ratio of height and weight), the more likely they were to eat with the TV on. Eating at a table was linked to lower BMI.

Try small portions of “bad” foods. Eat a bite or two, then distract yourself for 15 minutes to see if you feel satisfied. A study gave people different portions of chocolate, apple pie and potato chips and had them rate hunger and craving before and 15 minutes after eating. Bigger portion folks ate 103 calories more, but didn’t feel more satisfied than those given less.

AT THE GROCERY STORE

Divide your shopping cart in half. Use a partition, purse or coat for a visual cue to fill at least half of your cart with fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods. In two studies, half of shoppers were given divided carts and told to put healthier items in front. They spent more on produce than those given regular shopping carts.

Be careful when buying in bulk . A study found that people who bought big containers of chips, juice boxes, cookies, crackers and granola bars ate half of it within the first week — twice as fast as they normally would. Tip: Repackage into single-serve bags or containers, or store it out of reach, such as the basement.

Eat an apple first. People given a sample of an apple at the store increased spending on fruits and vegetables versus those given no sample or a cookie. A healthy snack may prime people to buy better foods, not the fast, processed foods they gravitate to when shopping hungry.

Circle every island in the produce section. In a study of 1,200 shoppers, every minute spent in the produce section meant $1.80 more in fruit and vegetable sales.

AT A RESTAURANT

Let the light shine. Researchers checked sales receipts of patrons at four casual chain restaurants. Those in brighter rooms were more likely to order healthier fish, vegetables or white meat rather than fried food or dessert. Diners in dim rooms ordered 39 percent more calories.

Sit near a window. Researchers analyzed 330 diners’ receipts after they left. The closer they were to a window, the fewer foods and alcoholic drinks they ordered.

Ask for a to-go box in advance. Half of diners in a study were told before they ordered that the portions were big and that they could have a doggie bag. Those told in advance wound up taking more food home. To-go boxes encourage people to eat about a third less.

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Marilynn Marchione can be followed at http://twitter.com/MMarchioneAP

February 28, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, diet, health, lifehack | , | Leave a comment

Gut bacteria affect your brain

More and more evidence is showing up that your microbiota can affect your mental health.  In other words, eat you probiotic yogurt.

Is Your Gut Making You Depressed or Anxious?

Turns out “gut feeling” is more than just a fancy name for intuition. Our small and large intestine, and the trillions of bacteria that call it home, are more important than ever imagined for influencing our mood, our anxiety, our choices, and even our personalities. This week Savvy Psychologist Dr. Ellen Hendriksen goes straight for the gut with three surprising mind-gut connections.

Ellen Hendriksen, PhD | December 23, 2016 | Quickanddirtytips.com

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February 17, 2017 Posted by | brain, diet, health, nutrition, psychology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eat soup to lose weight

Great tip for feeling fuller on less calories: start your meal with a thick low-cal soup.  The article below explains. (I got myself an immersion blender, which makes great pureed soups with minimum effort)

The Weird Reason You Should Eat More Soup

And why it sometimes has an edge over solid food

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January 2, 2017 Posted by | diet, health | , | Leave a comment

Social Status Affects Immune Health

Chronic social stress can affect your health:

Who’s Top Monkey? How Social Status Affects Immune Health

Social hierarchies among rhesus macaques give rise to differences in their ability to respond to bacterial and viral invaders

Catherine Caruso | November 24, 2016| Scientific American

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December 15, 2016 Posted by | health, sociology | , , , , | Leave a comment

What you eat when you’re sick may determine if you’ll get better

In short, if you have a viral infection, go for glucose;  bacterial, ketogenic diet.

Details:

What you eat when you’re sick may determine if you’ll get better

By Debora MacKenzie | 15 September 2016 | New Scientist

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October 24, 2016 Posted by | diet, health | , , , | Leave a comment

What to eat for less smelly farts

Aside from the embarrassment, smelly farts increase the risk of bowel cancer.  According to new research, protein (meat, eggs, dairy, etc) is a main culprit. But you can reduce their smelly effects by mixing them with resistant starch and fructans, found in such foods bananas, legumes, wheat, asparagus, etc. That goes against the conventional wisdom of avoiding fibre.

Full details:

These are the foods you should eat if you want less smelly farts

Alice Klein | 14 October 2016 | New Scientist

October 24, 2016 Posted by | diet, health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Your lab results are positive for…

If you ever get a positive result for a medical condition, you need to read this article (even though it is somewhat difficult) to realize what false positives mean.

The problem with p-values

Academic psychology and medical testing are both dogged by unreliability. The reason is clear: we got probability wrong

David Colquhoun | 11 October, 2016 | aeon

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October 20, 2016 Posted by | health, statistics | , , , , | Leave a comment