We often turn to food to alleviate negative emotions, however it’s also true that we use food just as much to reinforce positive emotions. Think of the birthday party, job promotion, a win for your favourite team, or sealing that important business deal. How do we celebrate? With food of course!
Certain foods have been termed “feel-good” foods. This is because they contain a substance called tryptophan, which produces the neuro-chemical serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is the chemical that helps regulate appetite, sleep patterns, and mood.
Scientists from MRC Human Nutrition Research have taken a closer look at the eating habits of children and have identified a shopping basket of foods that are linked to a four-fold increase in obesity risk.
Researchers were specifically looking at food consumption in children aged 5 and 7 years. By using statistical analysis, they were able to show the impact of dietary choices on the risk of becoming obese at 9 years of age.
So, what did they find?
As you would expect, a diet full of fruit and vegetables was associated with a significantly reduced risk of obesity later in life. This is actually the first study of its kind to show such a link in children.
I often hear people commenting they simply can’t lose weight.
However, a new study indicates that most people can in fact lose weight, if they have access to the right tools and support.
The study, conducted at the Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research, suggests that food journalling, in conjunction with a weight management program, is the ideal combination of tools and support.
Researchers found that keeping a food diary can double a person’s weight loss. The results are to be published in the August issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Lead author Jack Hollis stated,
“The more food records people kept, the more weight they lost. Those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records. It seems that the simple act of writing down what you eat encourages people to consume fewer calories.”
Study participants followed the DASH diet, which encourages plenty of fruits and vegetables, and low-fat dairy. They also attended weekly group sessions, and exercised at moderately intense levels for at least 30 minutes a day.
After six months, the average weight loss, among the almost 1,700 participants, was approximately 13 pounds.
More than two-thirds of the participants (69%) lost at least nine pounds. This was enough to reduce their health risks, and qualify for the second phase of the study, which lasted 30 months, and investigated strategies for maintaining the weight loss.
Co-author Victor Stevens said,
“More than two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. If we all lost just nine pounds, like the majority of people in this study did, our nation would see vast decreases in hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.”
In an earlier study Stevens found that losing as little as five pounds can reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure by 20%.
Do you struggle with weight gain? What are the issues that hold you back?
If you find it difficult to lose weight, you may have underlying unhealthy habits that are acting as a stumbling block to you.
Lets take a look at a few possibilities:
#1 You eat when you’re stressed
Many people eat more when they’re stressed, bored, depressed, or lonely. It has been estimated that 75% of overeating is caused by emotions alone.
Do you find yourself eating junk food when you’re really not hungry?
Research suggests that women are particularly prone to poor eating habits when they’re under pressure.
In a study by Dr Zellner, from Montclair State University, men and women were given sets of word jumbles in different difficulty levels (easy and hard), and also bowls of grapes, chips, peanuts and M&Ms nearby.