You are what you eat,” the saying goes, but is what you eat playing a role in how much you sleep? Sleep, like nutrition and physical activity, is a critical determinant of health and well-being. With the increasing prevalence of obesity and its consequences, sleep researchers have begun to explore the factors that predispose individuals to weight gain and ultimately obesity. Now, a new study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania shows for the first time that certain nutrients may play an underlying role in short and long sleep duration and that people who report eating a large variety of foods — an indicator of an overall healthy diet — had the healthiest sleep patterns.
The authors found that total caloric intake varied across groups. Short sleepers consumed the most calories, followed by normal sleepers, followed by very short sleepers, followed by long sleepers. Food variety was highest in normal sleepers, and lowest in very short sleepers. Differences across groups were found for many types of nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
In a statistical analysis, the research team found that there were a number of dietary differences, but these were largely driven by a few key nutrients. They found that very short sleep was associated with less intake of tap water, lycopene (found in red- and orange-colored foods), and total carbohydrates, short sleep was associated with less vitamin C, tap water, selenium (found in nuts, meat and shellfish), and more lutein/zeaxanthin (found in green, leafy vegetables), and long sleep was associated with less intake of theobromine (found in chocolate and tea), dodecanoic acid (a saturated fat) choline (found in eggs and fatty meats), total carbohydrates, and more alcohol.
“Overall, people who sleep 7 — 8 hours each night differ in terms of their diet, compared to people who sleep less or more. We also found that short and long sleep are associated with lower food variety,” said Dr. Grandner. “What we still don’t know is if people altered their diets, would they be able to change their overall sleep pattern? This will be an important area to explore going forward as we know that short sleep duration is associated with weight gain and obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Likewise, we know that people who sleep too long also experience negative health consequences. If we can pinpoint the ideal mix of nutrients and calories to promote healthy sleep, the healthcare community has the potential to make a major dent in obesity and other cardiometabolic risk factors.”
- Does your diet influence how well you sleep? (cnn.com)
- Does Your Diet Influence How Well You Sleep? (healthland.time.com)
- Diet Affects Sleep Patterns, Study Finds (huffingtonpost.com)
- A Totally Unexpected Perk to Healthy Eating (cosmopolitan.com)
- Want to Limit Overeating? Get More Sleep (psychologytoday.com)
Lots of us hate to admit it, but marketing has a huge impact on what we buy, eat, and how we live our lives. While marketing and advertising affects all of us, children are especially impressionable. A good advertiser knows what will stick with kids, and they use every trick in the book. The junk food industry is no exception, and marketers understand that getting their message to children leads to big business.
A Review of Food Marketing to Children and Adolescents,” which shows that food and beverage companies spent less in marketing targeted to children in 2009 than they did in 2006, and the food and beverages marketed to youth had very small improvements in nutritional quality during that period. Food companies spent $1.8 billion to advertise to children age 2 to 17 in 2009, down from $2.1 billion in 2006. The report was an update to the FTC’s 2008 report, “Marketing Food to Children and Adolescents: A Review of Industry Expenditures, Activities, and Self-Regulation,” which documented the amount food companies spent on marketing targeted to youth in 2006. The reduction can be attributed to a decline in advertising on traditional media such as TV, radio, and print; however, food companies increased their youth-targeted spending on other forms of marketing, including websites, internet advertising, viral/word-of-mouth marketing, product placements, movie and video ads, cross-promotion licenses, celebrity endorsements, events, and philanthropy. In addition, spending on food marketing to tweens and teens increased from 2006 to 2009. “While there’s been progress in advertising to children age 2 to 11 on traditional media, children continue to see too many ads for products of questionable nutritional quality,” said Jennifer Harris, PhD, MBA, Rudd Center Director of Marketing Initiatives. “Companies have also shifted much of their spending toward a somewhat older child audience, including 12- to 14-year-olds, and into newer forms of marketing.” “Industry has faced public and legal pressure as well as pressure from health experts to improve their practices,” said Kelly Brownell, PhD, Rudd Center Director. “The voluntary changes they made are only modest and they have stepped up marketing in some arenas. The pressure on industry to do more must continue.” The FTC’s report was conducted as part of a Congressional inquiry into rising childhood obesity rates and aims to help public health experts, parents, and lawmakers understand the extent of food marketing to children. best and worst examples of food marketing practices in 2012, including McDonald’s and Coca-Cola’s sponsorship of the Summer Olympic Games (worst) and Disney restricting junk food advertising to children (best).
My husband and I are on the third week of using the USDA online tool Supertracker to monitor our daily nutrition intake and physical activity.
We have begun to change our eating habits. For example, I am eating more fruit and drinking more milk to get calcium and potassium.
Unsalted unbuttered air popped popcorn has been re-discovered as a whole grain. Meat consumption has decreased. Cocoa powder is not as tasty as the chocolate in store bought chocolate milk. But another source of high fructose corn syrup no longer is in our fridge.
It is a good thing I am using this as a lifestyle tool, not with a goal to lose weight. My weight has stayed the same despite sticking to overall calories and having a great physical activity report. So, although I would like to lose 10 pounds, I will have to look at other factors, as sleep quality.
As noted in a previous post, I am going to be looking into vegan nutrient sources to replace some of my dairy and meat.
Some thoughts on the pros and cons of Supertracker.
- One place to go for tracking both nutrition and physical activity
- Easy to use. food and activity selections are made by entering a word or phrase and then selecting from the resultant options
- Throughout the day one can monitor levels of consumed fats, oils, calories, nutrients as well as see how one’s food choices stack against daily food targets.
- Entered foods can be modified (as portion size) or deleted. This is a great decision making tool, including snack options later in the day.
- One can opt for calorie allotment based on previous week’s physical activity
- Does not include all foods (especially convenience/packaged foods)
- When entering homemade, you are probably best off entering ingredients individually. USDA food options having several ingredients tend to be convenience/packaged which are are high in sodium.
- Physical activity tracker seems to be a work in progress. For example, the range of weight lifting activities seems to be sparse.
- Physical activity options are “canned”. They do not allow for individual heart rates.
- Long range reports can be done for data on individual nutrient levels. However overall long range reports for nutrition are only averages.
- It does take time to enter one’s data!
Attractive, catchy names can compel youngsters to eat more vegetables
IMAGE: He is a professor of marketing, Cornell University.
The age-old parental struggle of convincing youngsters to eat their fruits and vegetables has some new allies: Power Punch Broccoli, X-Ray Vision Carrots — and a host of catchy names for entrees in school cafeterias. Cornell University researchers studied how a simple change, such as using attractive names, would influence elementary-aged children’s consumption of vegetables.
IMAGE: He is a professor of behavioral economics, Cornell University.
In the first study, plain old carrots were transformed into “X-ray Vision Carrots.” 147 students ranging from 8-11 years old from 5 ethnically and economically diverse schools participated in tasting the cool new foods. Lunchroom menus were the same except that carrots were added on three consecutive days. They found, for example, that by naming plain old carrots “X-ray vision carrots,” fully 66 percent of the carrots were eaten, far greater than the 32 percent eaten when labeled “Food of the Day” — and the 35 percent eaten when unnamed.
- Healthy food cues better school lunch choices (futurity.org)
The first scientific analysis of nutrient levels in edible microgreens has found that many of those trendy seedlings of green vegetables and herbs have more vitaminsand healthful nutrients than their fully grown counterparts. A report on the research appears in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry…
They found that microgreens generally have higher concentrations of healthful vitamins and carotenoids than their mature counterparts. But they also found wide variations in nutrient levels among the plants tested in the study. Red cabbage microgreens, for instance, had the highest concentration of vitamin C, for instance, while green daikon radish microgreens had the most vitamin E. Concentrations of vitamins and carotenoids in popcorn shoots and golden pea tendrils were low compared to other microgreens, but were still as high as some common mature vegetables.
One other notable finding: Exposing microgreens to light tended to change the nutritional content, which is an ongoing research effort led by Dr. Lester and Dr. Wang, and results will be published soo
- Many trendy ‘microgreens’ are more nutritious than their mature counterparts (eurekalert.org)
- Tiny Microgreens Packed With Nutrients (webmd.com)
- Are Microgreens More Nutritious Than Fully Grown Greens? – The Salt (thekitchn.com)
- Many trendy ‘microgreens’ are more nutritious than their mature counterparts (phys.org)
- Microgreens, Macro Trend (ferventfoodie.com)
- San Diego Micro Green Farmer Announces Launch of New Website (prweb.com)
- San Diego Microgreen Farmer Completes Expansion on Greenhouses, Packing House (prweb.com)
- What to do with all that wintercress? (myfloweryprose.wordpress.com)
Most of America’s urban cores were designed for walking but offer little in the way of supermarkets, healthy restaurants and other amenities for residents to walk to, according to a study led by a Michigan State University scholar.
The study is one of the first to show that poor residents living in declining urban neighborhoods want healthy food choices – evidenced by their willingness to travel long distances to find them. Past research has generally assumed that poor people will shop at whatever store is closest.
But compared with suburban residents, the urban poor are more overweight and must travel farther to find healthy food and access personal services, said Igor Vojnovic, associate professor of geography and lead author on the study…
..Other findings included:
- Fast food restaurants were more plentiful in poor neighborhoods. In addition, residents there reported that 55 percent of all dining-out experiences were at fast food eateries, compared with only 13 percent for those in the suburbs.
- Poor urban residents had to go nearly twice as far as suburbanites to shop at supermarkets.
- The urban poor made about five trips per month to convenience stores (which aren’t known for stocking healthy foods) compared with only one trip per month for suburbanites…
During the past 30 years, urban planners and business investors have largely ignored poor communities, instead focusing policy, research and investment efforts on wealthier neighborhoods, Vojnovic said. As a result, little is known about resident behaviors in declining communities, even as the number of poor people increases in the United States, he said.
The current study shows that the fundamental principles in city planning and design that have been developed around wealthy communities do not necessarily hold in poor neighborhoods.
Meanwhile, some have advocated an “obesity tax” on unhealthy foods to help pay for the health-care system overhaul or as a policy to curtail obesity. But Vojnovic said such a tax would disproportionately burden the urban poor and noted that this population has little power to influence the location decisions of healthy food suppliers.
- Urban poor plagued by ‘burdens of place’ (scienceblog.com)
- Urban poor need to hunt for healthy food (futurity.org)
- Urban poor need to hunt for healthy food (holykaw.alltop.com)
- Kinder Work Schedules May Reduce Obesity (theepochtimes.com)
- Obesity and Your Dental Health (topdentists.com)
- Overtime Shifts May Increase Obesity Rates Among Nurses (medicalnewstoday.com)
- AMA and Mercy Aligned in Educating Kids about the Dangers of Obesity (prweb.com)
- Fat of the land: how urban design can help curb obesity (healthycities.wordpress.com)
- Study: Junk food laws may help curb kids’ obesity (rep-am.com)
It doesn’t cost any more to eat healthy food than it does to eat junk food, a government study found, casting doubt on the popular belief that many people can’t afford healthful foods.
The study, released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service, found that foods like beans, carrots, milk, and yogurt are actually less expensive than ice cream sandwiches, cinnamon buns, and soda.
One reason that many people assume junk food is more affordable is because many studies that compare the cost of unhealthy foods with healthy ones use cost-per-calorie as a measurement.
By this metric, vegetables and fruit are relatively more expensive ways to consume “food energy” (i.e., calories) because they don’t contain many calories, whereas less healthy foods (also called “moderation foods”), which tend to be high in saturated fat and sugar, are a cheaper way to consume a lot of calories….
Bytesize Science videos include a few that are health related as
This slideshow presents the truth about many claims that seem healthy on the surface as
- No trans fat – anything including at least .5 grams of fat per serving can legally be rounded down to zero
- High fiber – many fibers have no health benefit, you’re almost always better off with natural fibers in fruit, vegetables, whole grains
- Top 10 Food Label Tricks to Avoid in 2012 (livingstrongandhappy.blogspot.com)
- Kitchen Counselor: Food labels offer a guide to nutrition information (pbpulse.com)