Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Profiling the Adventurous Eater | Food and Brand Lab

Profiling the Adventurous Eater  – From the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab***.

Think you’re a foodie? Adventurous eaters, known as “foodies,” are often associated with indulgence and excess. However, a new Cornell Food and Brand Lab study shows just the opposite –adventurous eaters weigh less and may be healthier than their less-adventurous counterparts.

The nationwide U.S. survey of 502 women showed that those who had eaten the widest variety of uncommon foods — including seitan, beef tongue, Kimchi, rabbit, and polenta— also rated themselves as healthier eaters, more physically active, and more concerned with the healthfulness of their food when compared with non-adventurous eaters. “They also reported being much more likely to have friends over for dinner,” said lead author Lara Latimer, PhD, formerly at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab and now at the University of Texas.

“These findings are important to dieters because they show that promoting adventurous eating may provide a way for people –especially women – to lose or maintain weight without feeling restricted by a strict diet,” said coauthor Brian Wansink, (author of Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life). He advises, “Instead of sticking with the same boring salad, start by adding something new. It could kick start a more novel, fun and healthy life of food adventure.” The article is published in the journal Obesity. It is authored by former Cornell researchers, Lara Latimer, PhD, (currently a Lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin) and Lizzy Pope, PhD, RD (currently Assistant Professor at the University of Vermont), and Brian Wansink, (Professor and Director of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University.

Summary by Brian Wansink

***The Food and Brand Lab is an interdisciplinary group of graduate and undergraduate students from psychology, food science, marketing, agricultural economics, human nutrition, education, history, library science, and journalism along with a number of affiliated faculty.

Links to

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Beating Mindless Eating

Grocery Shopping Psychology

Restaurant Confidential

and other research areas with summaries of findings for us nonscientists!

July 17, 2015 Posted by | Nutrition, Psychology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Press release] Controlling obesity with potato extract

Controlling obesity with potato extract.

From the 9 December 2014 McGill University press release

Extract of Irish potatoes, rich in polyphenols, reduces weight gain to a surprising extent
Published: 9Dec2014

Take a look in your pantry: the miracle ingredient for fighting obesity may already be there. A simple potato extract may limit weight gain from a diet that is high in fat and refined carbohydrates, according to scientists at McGill University.

The results of their recent study were so surprising that the investigators repeated the experiment just to be sure.

Investigators fed mice an obesity-inducing diet for 10 weeks. The results soon appeared on the scale: mice that started out weighing on average 25 grams put on about 16 grams. But mice that consumed the same diet but with a potato extract gained much less weight: only 7 more grams. The benefits of the extract are due to its high concentration of polyphenols, a beneficial chemical component from the fruits and vegetables we eat.

“We were astonished by the results,” said Prof. Luis Agellon, one of the study’s authors. “We thought this can’t be right – in fact, we ran the experiment again using a different batch of extract prepared from potatoes grown in another season, just to be certain.”

The rate of obesity due to over-eating continues to rise in Canada, affecting 1 in every 4 adults. Obesity increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. According to this study, potato extracts could be a solution for preventing both obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Extract derived from 30 potatoes

“The daily dose of extract comes from 30 potatoes, but of course we don’t advise anyone to eat 30 potatoes a day,” says Stan Kubow, principal author of the study, “as that would be an enormous number of calories.” What the investigators envisage instead is making the extract available as a dietary supplement or simply as a cooking ingredient to be added in the kitchen.

Popularly known for its carbohydrate content, the potato is also a source of polyphenols. “In the famous French diet, considered to be very healthy, potatoes – not red wine – are the primary source of polyphenols,” says Kubow. “In North America, potatoes come third as a source of polyphenols – before the popular blueberries.”

A low-cost solution

“Potatoes have the advantage of being cheap to produce, and they’re already part of the basic diet in many countries,” Kubow explains. “We chose a cultivated variety that is consumed in Canada and especially rich in polyphenols.”

December 12, 2014 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Avoid Promoting Miracle Diets For New Year, British Lawmaker Urges Magazines

English: Jo Swinson MP addressing a Liberal De...

English: Jo Swinson MP addressing a Liberal Democrat conference in the Bournemouth International Centre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

From the 27 December 2012 article at Medical News Today

 

Please do not promote “miracle diets” for the New Year, British Women and Equalities Minister, Jo Swinson has urged magazine editors.

Every year throughout the world, magazines are awash with miracle cure diets that guarantee incredible results after weeks of overindulgence during the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Jo Swinson, MP (Member of Parliament) for East Dunbartonshire, says magazine editors must avoid the temptation of falling into the annual diet hype among their New Year resolutions for 2013. The Minister made the request in an open letter to magazine editors.

Swinson urges editors to think twice about the consequences of promoting unrealistic and untested diets on girls and women.

Swinson said “Surely by now we’re all aware that there are no miracle diets or if there are, they are miracles that come with a cost. Given that most diets fail within a very short time, it is irresponsible for magazines to offer ‘tips’ ‘tricks’ and ‘simple steps’ so that people can be thin. Not healthy or vibrant, just thin.”…

 

 

 

Read entire article here

 

 

December 27, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, Nutrition, Psychology | , , | Leave a comment

More Reasons To Keep This New Year’s Weight Loss Resolution Uncovered By Ben-Gurion U Researchers

 

Deutsch: Das Messen des Gewichts ist ein wicht...

Image via Wikipedia

From the 31 December 2011 Medical News Today article

Long-term healthy dietary interventions frequently induce a rapid weight decline, mainly in the first four to six months, followed by weight stabilization or regain, despite continued dieting. The partial regain may discourage people from adhering to healthier habits, but research now shows that improvements to health remain even if weight is regained.

The study recently released online in Diabetes Care (Print: February 2012) identified two distinct biomarker patterns that correspond to weight change, one of which continues to improve with time.

According to BGU Faculty of Health Sciences Prof. Assaf Rudich, “This study tells us that we may all have tunnel vision on weight when it comes to healthy dieting. Although maintainingideal body weight is linked to better health, when it comes to adopting healthier dietary habits in mild to moderately obese people, there are benefits beyond weight loss, such as decreasing inflammatory tone and elevating the ‘good cholesterol‘ HDL.”

Rudich explains that switching to healthier dieting extends benefits beyond the single outcome of weight loss. In fact, important improvements that likely signify decreased risk for cardiovascular disease occur even despite weight regain, as long as dieting continues. ….

Read the entire article

December 31, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Nutrition | , | Leave a comment

Crowdsourcing Nutrition in a Snap: Counting Calories in Photos, PlateMate Proves the Wisdom of the (Well-Managed) Crowd

Computations and algorithms cannot yet evaluate a meal, but it turns out that they can build an effective workforce. The PlateMate project proves that a well-managed crowd can play the role of a nutritional expert. (Credit: Image courtesy of Eric Hysen)
From the 5 November 2011 Science Daily article
Americans spend upwards of $40 billion a year on dieting advice and self-help books, but the first step in any healthy eating strategy is basic awareness — what’s on the plate.

If keeping a food diary seems like too much effort, despair not: computer scientists at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have devised a tool that lets you snap a photo of your meal and let the crowd do the rest.

PlateMate’s calorie estimates have proved, in tests, to be just as accurate as those of trained nutritionists, and more accurate than the user’s own logs. The research was presented at the 24th ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology, a leading conference on human-computer interaction.

“We can take things that used to require experts and do them with crowds,” says Jon Noronha ’11, who co-developed PlateMate as an undergraduate at Harvard and now works at Microsoft. “Estimating the nutritional value of a meal is a fairly complex task, from a computational standpoint, but with a structured workflow and some cultural awareness, we’ve expanded what crowdsourcing can achieve.”…

PlateMate works in coordination with Amazon Mechanical Turk, a system originally intended to help improve product listings on Amazon.com. Turkers, as the crowd workers call themselves, receive a few cents for each puzzle-like task they complete.

PlateMate divides nutrition analysis into several iterative tasks, asking groups of Turkers to distinguish between foods in the photo, identify what they are, and estimate quantities. The nutrition totals for the meal are then automatically calculated.

Read the article

November 14, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Medical and Health Research News, Nutrition | , , | Leave a comment

   

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