Thursday, December 31, 2009

UK Man Wins £1,000 by Losing Weight

Source: BBC News (Summary by NIM)

Ian Armstrong, a 44-year-old father from the UK has just won himself £1,000 in a bet to lose weight. With an initial bet of only £50 and the odds against him at 20-1, he came out on top and won much more than he had anticipated.

Made last January, the bet stipulated that Ian would lose 5 stone, or 70 lbs, by this Christmas day - and he has done it. Even though he's won a hefty chunk of cash, the weight that he's lost will improve his health and change his life much more than anything money can buy.

Armstrong managed to lose the weight by changing his diet and drinking a pint of water before meals. Giving his winnings and old, over sized clothes to charity, he has stated that "It's amazing how everything changes when you ditch the big portions of pie and chips and go on the rice pasta chicken instead".

Hey - this could be you next year if you play your cards right! Better get on those New Year's Resolutions!

Find out more about Ian's success in the article "Bradford man wins Christmas weight loss bet" from BBC News (Dec. 23, 2009).

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

CO2 Injections May Burn Fat

Source: AOL Health (Summary by NIM)

You know that carbon dioxide makes your soda fizzy, but who would have ever thought that it could help you lose weight? Well, that's exactly what new research from Italy has found.

According to the study from the University of Siena in Italy, injections of carbon dioxide may actually shrink fat tissue. In a process called 'carboxytherapy', carbon dioxide is injected just under the surface of the skin using a fine needle. In the study, a group of women with excess fat around their thighs, knees and midsection received CO2 injections and lost an average of 2 cm from their thighs, 1 cm from each knee and 3 cm from their stomachs.

Nick Finer of University College London, former chairman of the UK Association for the Study of Obesity isn't quite sold on application of CO2 for weight loss. He said "These injections are tackling the fat under the skin, but it is stored fat in the abdomen that raises the risk of diabetes, heart disease and so on,". At the very least, according to Finer, the fat loss associated with the injections may offer a psychological boost that some individuals may need in order to get healthy in the long run.

Find out more about this study by reading the article called "Gas Injections Could Reduce Fat, Researchers Reveal" From AOL Health (Dec. 29, 2009).

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Taiwan May Introduce World's First Junk Food Tax

Source: AFP (Summary by NIM)

There has been much talk about imposing a junk food tax in the US, but Taiwan may turn out to be a world leader when it comes to this health-promoting movement.

In order to encourage their citizens to eat healthfully and cut obesity rates, The Bureau of Health Promotion in Taiwan may impose a tax on foods considered unhealthy, such as sugary drinks, candy, cakes, fast food and alcohol.

According to Beryl Sheu, chief of the food and nutrition division of a Taiwanese health advocacy group, the John Tung Foundation, "Overweight problems are getting worse in Taiwan with 25 to 30 percent of children obese, and it will cause more strain on our national health system,".

She went on to say "Hopefully the tax will dissuade people from eating junk food and snacks and prompt food companies to make healthier products,". The tax may take effect as soon as 2011.

Find out more about the junk food tax by reading the article "Taiwan 'considering world's first junk food tax'" from AFP (Dec. 21, 2009).

Monday, December 28, 2009

Champagne, in Moderation, is Good for Your Heart

Source: Science Daily (Summary by NIM)

This New Year's Eve, you may want to celebrate
and improve your heart health by drinking not one, but two glasses of champagne! A new study published in the British Journal of Nutrition has found that the polyphenols found in champagne actually help increase the availability nitric oxide in the blood vessels, improving circulation and heart health.

In slowing down the natural removal of nitric oxide from our blood, the molecule will have a longer time to act on blood vessels, improving the flow of blood around the body. In addition, higher concentrations of nitric oxide in the blood may help to decrease both blood pressure and the likelihood of blood clots forming, which lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Even though the research has shown that drinking about two glasses of champagne per day can be good for the heart, Dr. Jeremy Spencer, from the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences advises "We always encourage a responsible approach to alcohol consumption". So, this New Year's Eve, be safe, have fun and be sure to raise a glass of champagne (or two) to your health!

Read more about this study in the article called "Champagne Is Good for Your Heart, Study Suggests -- But Only in Moderation" from Science Daily (Dec 14, 2009).

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas! Burn Off Christmas Calories with a Festive Walk

Source: BBC News (Summary by NIM)

Did you know that the average person typically consumes about 1,500 calories during Christmas dinner? That's roughly half of the daily recommended calories for a man and nearly two thirds that of a woman's. And that's not even including other meals, snacks or desserts! Plus, who can forget about all those goodies consumed during the holiday season in general?

In order to combat those extra holiday pounds, the British department of health is recommending that their citizens take a festive Christmas walk following their meals. They've even included a list of popular walking trails throughout England. Even a walk of one mile could make a difference to your waistline.

British Public health minister Gillian Merron said: "Whatever the weather, a traditional festive walk is a great way for families and friends to avoid that sluggish feeling and have a more active Christmas."

Find out more about Christmas walks in the article "'Burn off' Christmas with a walk" from BBC News (Dec. 22, 2009).

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays Everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Nestle Makes Misleading Health Claims About Drinks for Kids

(Reuters Health Summary)

Food Labels - with all their health claims and nutritional information, you would think there's some kind of science behind writing and understanding them, and you'd be right indeed. Did you know that every 'health claim' statement fits into some very specifically outlined criteria? Check out some of Health Canada's, for example.

That said, it's no surprise that major corporations slip up sometimes and make 'misleading' claims by failing to meet specific criteria, which is what happened recently with Nestle. In a letter on December 4th, the FDA stated that Nestle made unauthorized nutrient content claims about Juicy Juice Brain Development Fruit Juice Beverage (Apple), Juicy Juice All-Natural 100% Juice Orange Tangerine and Juicy Juice All-Natural 100% Juice Grape. Apparently, the "no sugar added" claim on the label is not permitted for products aimed at children under the age of 2.

Prior to this incident, on December 3rd, another letter from the FDA to Nestle stated that their 'Boost Kid Essentials Nutritionally Complete Drink', in vanilla, chocolate and strawberry flavours, was promoted as a "medical food" but did not meet requirements for that type of claim.

Despite how tricky nutrient content and health claims can be, you'd think that a huge, global corporation like Nestle would check theirs out a little more closely...

To find out more about this story, check out the article called "Nestle made misleading drink health claims: FDA" from Reuters Health (Dec. 22, 2009).

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Health Canada May Add Anti-Cancer Drugs to Junk Food

(National Post Summary)

Health Canada is taking a rather unconventional approach to combating the health risks associated with eating certain junk foods by proposing the addition of anti-cancer drugs to these foods.

Certain carbohydrate-rich foods, such as potatoes, when fried at high temperatures, not only produce a tasty (but not-so-healthy) treat - they also produce a carcinogenic compound called acrylamide as a by-product, which has been linked to cancers in animals and is considered harmful to humans.

Scientists have been looking for a solution to the acrylamide problem ever since the time of it's discovery seven years ago. Now, Health Canada is proposing the removal of the requirement for a prescription to administer the enzyme asparaginase, so that food manufacturers can add it into acrylamide-producing foods in order to curb the production of the carcinogen.

This process is considered safe, however some scientists question whether or not adding asparginase to foods will actually be a viable solution to the acrylamide problem or if it will just be a waste of money. Health Canada is currently seeking feedback on this proposal.

To find out more about acrylamide or Health Canada's Proposal, read the article "Health Canada proposes putting anti-cancer drug into french fries, potato chips" From the National Post (Dec. 21, 2009).

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Artificial Sweeteners May Change the Way Real Sugar is Metabolized

(Reuters Health Summary)

The debate as to whether or not artificial sweeteners are safe or healthy has been ongoing for years, but a new study has found that a combination of artificial sweeteners and real sugar may boost the secretion of hormones that trigger a sense of fullness, and also control blood sugar levels.

The implications of these findings on our health is still unclear, however "in light of the large number of individuals using artificial sweeteners on a daily basis, it appears essential to carefully investigate the associated effects on metabolism and weight," conclude Dr. Rebecca J. Brown and colleagues from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

In the study, it was found that the consumption of artificial sweeteners followed by real sugar may trigger secretion of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which sends a "fullness" signal to the brain, curbing appetite and calorie intake.

Read more about this fascinating finding in the article "Fake sugar may alter how the body handles real sugar" from Reuters Health (Dec. 18, 2009)

Monday, December 21, 2009

'Superman' Mouthpieces Enhance Athletic Performance

(New York Times Summary)

Feeling down after a rough night, or just lacking the stamina to complete your workout? Maybe you should give a performance-enhancing mouthpiece a go and you might just surprise yourself - and your friends.

That's what one cyclist found when he tried a new flexible mouth guard by a Canadian company called Makkar. He not only outperformed his competition, but did so after a night filled with several beers and not enough sleep. The mouthpieces are light, flexible pieces of molded plastic that fit over the teeth and claim to reduce stress, open up the airways, prevent teeth-clenching and align the jaw.

Unlike regular mouth guards, which you can purchase straight off the shelf and at a low price, performance-enhancing mouthpieces cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars and must be custom-fitted by a dentist. The Makkar Pure Power Mouthguard (or PPM, as the company calls it), introduced in 2006, costs between $595 and $2,250, not counting the dentist’s fee. Under Armour’s line of Performance Mouthwear was introduced in September with a low, low price of only $495.

Find out more about these new performance-enhancing tools in the article "A Device to De-Stress Your Workout" From the New York Times (Dec. 16, 2009).

Sunday, December 20, 2009

9 Tips For Healthy Holiday Eating

(Source: Medical News Today)

The holiday season is a time for festive gatherings with family and friends. It is also the time of year when we see tempting treats everywhere we turn. "Weight gained during the holidays often comes from eating foods that are high in sugar and fat. The good news is that you can still enjoy these special occasions as long as you use a bit of restraint and keep yourself from indulging too much," says Joan Daniels, R.D., a dietitian at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Daniels and fellow Cancer Center dietitian Nancy Burke, R.D., offer the following tips to help you enjoy the holiday season while keeping a balanced and healthy diet.

To find out the top 9 tips on eating healthy this season, continue reading "
9 Tips For Healthy Holiday Eating" by Medical News Today (Dec. 17, 2009).

Friday, December 18, 2009

DHA Linked to Better Nervous System Function

(ScienceDaily Summary)

Feeling overwhelmed? Need a lift? Eat some fish! According to a new study, DHA, a type of Omega-3 fatty acid, helps animals avoid sensory overload and aids in information processing in individuals with various afflictions of the nervous system, including ADHD.

The study, published in Behavioral Neuroscience adds even more proof that your mother was right when she told you that fish is brain food. The researchers found that two omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), appear to be most useful in the nervous system. The researchers think this might be thanks to their ability to maintain nerve-cell membranes.

These particular fatty acids are considered essential because we can not readily produce them on our own, they must be consumed in our diets. Foods such as fish, as well as supplements, provide our bodies with readily usable sources of essential fatty acids. EPA is already known for its anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular effects, but DHA makes up more than 90 percent of the omega-3s in the brain (which has no EPA), retina and nervous system in general.

Find out more about what DHA and EPA can do for you by reading the article called "New Study Links DHA Type of Omega-3 to Better Nervous-System Function" from Science Daily (Dec. 16, 2009)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

New Foods Release 'Anti-Hunger' Aromas with Chewing

(Science Daily Summary)

Food. It elicits so many different meanings in each of us, but ultimately, we need food for energy and for life. It can taste so good and evoke so much emotion is us, but we also fear it because of the mindset that 'if it tastes good it's bad for you" and weight will undoubtedly ensue.

Until now, the search has mainly focused on finding or designing foods that trigger a sense of fullness, which stop us from overindulging. According to a new report from the American Chemical Society, researchers are now expanding their focus to include foods that release hunger-quenching aromas during chewing. Molecules that make up a food's aroma apparently do so by activating areas of the brain that signal fullness and stop us from eating. The report suggests several possible applications for these findings, including developing foods that release more aroma during chewing or developing aromas that have a more powerful effect in triggering feelings of fullness.

On one hand we're shifting our focus back towards all-natural, organic, and local ingredients, but on the other hand, with technological advancements, we're coming up with all kinds of supplements, meal replacements and seemingly sci-fi, futuristic foods in pill-form. We want life to be an all-you-can-eat buffet with no consequence or weight gain. Well - the search for that paradoxical 'weight loss food' continues and only the future will tell what 'food' will ultimately mean to us.

From the article "New Weapon in Battle of the Bulge: Food Releases Anti-Hunger Aromas During Chewing" from ScienceDaily (Dec. 16, 2009).

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Knowing What’s Worth Paying For in Vitamins

(Source: NewYork Times)

WHEN I stock up on ibuprofen (my painkiller of choice), I typically buy a 500-count bottle of a store brand like Kirkland or Rite Aid. After all, ibuprofen is ibuprofen. Each pill costs me about 3 cents — or only one-third the cost of 9-cent Advil. Yet, when it comes to vitamins — which I take only when I feel run down — I turn to name brands like Centrum or Nature Made. My thinking has been: Why mess around with quality when it comes to the essential ABCs? But now that I’ve done some research, I might soon change my vitamin-buying ways. Read on to find out why.

Find out more and read the full article "Knowing What's Worth Paying For in Vitamins"
published by the New York Times (Decemeber 4, 2009)

Firm Legs and Butt, No Workout Necessary?

(New York Times Summary)

Just like any other trend (or fad) before it, the latest fitness craze has hit the nation, and this time, it's a fashion-fitness hybrid. Just head to your nearest shoe store and you'll most likely spot a pair of peculiarly shaped walking shoes that are designed to tone your legs and butt just by simply walking.

Several shoemakers including Sketchers (with their Shape-Ups) have already jumped on the bandwagon, and now Reebok has released their take, called the EasyTone, which has turned out to be the company's most successful new product in the last five years. Designed by a former NASA engineer, the new muscle-activating shoes are engineered to create a sense of instability with their curved soles and Reebok’s “balance pods”. These innovations are said to force the wearer to engage stabilizing muscles further, resulting in additional toning for calf, hamstring and gluteal muscles.

In an independent study by Reebok, it was found that wearing the EasyTone worked gluteal muscles an average of 28 percent more than regular walking shoes and hamstrings and calf muscles were worked 11 percent harder. Reebok's claims, however, are only backed by a single study involving a mere five people.

What do you think? Would you give these shoes a try? Read more about them in the article "Firm Body, No Workout Required?" from the New York Times (Dec. 7, 2009).

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tea and Coffee May Prevent Diabetes

(Reuters Health Summary)

No matter whether it's tea, coffee or decaf, drinking any of these brews may cut your risk of a multitude of ailments, including diabetes, according to a meta-analysis of over 18 studies including nearly 458,000 participants.

Dr. Rachel Huxley of The University of Sydney, Australia, and colleagues found that for each additional cup of coffee a person consumed each day, their risk of diabetes decreased by 7 percent. They also found that with decaf, people who consumed more than three or four cups a day were at 36 percent lower risk of diabetes. In regards to tea, people who drank more than three or four cups daily were at 18 percent lower diabetes risk.

The researchers can't conclude whether the results of the studies that they analyzed are solely due to the beverages themselves or if there is an effect of the individuals who choose to consume them - perhaps they practice healthier diets to begin with. Despite these doubts, the fact that all three types of beverages showed similar effects suggests that the results are real, and the researchers think that the magnesium, lignans (estrogen-like chemicals found in plants), or chlorogenic acids (antioxidants that slow the release of sugar into the blood after a meal) found in coffee, tea and decaf contribute to their health benefits.

Check out more about this study in the article called "More evidence coffee, tea could prevent diabetes" from Reuters Health (Dec. 14, 2009).

Junk Food Reigns in Ads on Web Sites for Kids

(Source: Reuters Health)

Advertisements for junk food may be cluttering many of the Web sites most popular with children, a new study suggests. When researchers examined 28 of the Web sites most frequented by children, they found that the majority of food products advertised there met experts' criteria for "foods to avoid."

Ads for sugar-laden cereals, candy, soda or fast food populated a majority of the Web sites, which included sites one would not readily associate with food, like those run by Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network, among others, noted Dr. Lori Dorfman, director of the Berkeley Media Studies Group in California and one of the researchers on the study.
In contrast, of the 77 advertised products across all the Web sites, only five were foods that children should be encouraged to consume, the researchers report in the American Journal of Public Health.

Check out the full article "
Junk food reigns in ads on Web sites for kids" on Reuters Health (December 15 2009).

Monday, December 14, 2009

Burger King Japan Introduces the Windows 7 Burger

(Windows Blog Summary)

Japan is known for being one of the craziest and most amazing places in the world. Just take for example it's wacky inventions, game shows and technology. But how about this - Using a hamburger to promote a computer operating system? This has got to be a first.

Microsoft has joined forces with Burger King in the creation of a limited-edition 'Windows 7 Burger'. The 'Windows 7 Burger' boasts an outlandish 7 patties, weighing in at 1.7lbs and a colossal 2,120 heart-clogging calories, and measures in at over 5 inches in height. The burger, only available for a fitting seven days, initially cost only 777 Yen, or roughly $8.50 US for the first 30 customers, but then went up to 1,450 Yen, equal to $15.86 US. That's a steep price to pay for heart disease on a bun!

I can't think of a more fitting time than this to reiterate BK's famous slogan - and if heart disease, obesity and diabetes are your cup of tea, then get yourself a 'Windows 7 Burger' and "Have it your way!".

Check out the Microsoft Blog and BK Japan's websites for more details.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pistachios May Reduce Lung Cancer Risk

(Source: ScienceDaily)

A diet that incorporates a daily dose of pistachios may help reduce the risk of lung and other cancers, according to data presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Conference, held Dec. 6-9. "It is known that vitamin E provides a degree of protection against certain forms of cancer.

Check out the full article "Pistachios May Reduce Lung Cancer Risk"
provided by American Association for Cancer Research on ScienceDaily. (December 9, 2009).

Friday, December 11, 2009

Percentage of Fat in Diet Doesn't Affect Weight Gain Over Time

(Reuters Health Summary)

In maintaining a healthy lifestyle, most people are concerned with the amount of fat in their diet. We're all advised to maintain a relatively low-fat diet, including more "healthy" fats, but keeping our fat intake between 20 and 35% of our daily calories. But according to new research, weight gain may not have as much to do with fat intake as we had previously thought.

The researchers in this new study have found that the percentage of calories from fats that are consumed each day, as opposed to protein and carbohydrates, have nothing to do with long term weight gain. Neither do the types of fats, including the healthy ones.

The researchers followed nearly 90,000 men and women from six different countries participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition Study for up to ten years. Average fat intake ranged from 31.5 percent to 36.5 percent of total calories. On average, people gained about a quarter of a pound every year. The analyses performed found no relationship between how much weight was gained and how much fat was consumed by participants, or their intake of polyunsaturated fats versus saturated fats.

According to Dr. Nita Forouhi of the Institute of Metabolic Science, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, UK, it would be "absurd" to think it's OK to go nuts and eat as much fat as you want, "given so much evidence that already exists on the potential harms of diets high in saturated or trans-fats for heart health for instance," She went on to say "The healthiest way to avoid weight gain is to make sure that, when appropriate, total calorie intake is limited by reducing one's intake of added sugars, fats, and alcohol, which all provide calories but few or no essential nutrients, to watch portion sizes of food (so food portions consumed do not increase in size over time), and at the same time take regular physical activity."

Check out the whole article called "Fat in diet won't affect weight gain over time" from Reuters Health (Dec 11, 2009).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Study: Greater Weight Loss in Teens Using Healthy Methods

(HealthDay Summary)

A new study out of California, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association adds more evidence to the fact that good old-fashioned, healthy weight loss behaviours are the most effective when it comes to losing and keeping weight off.

The study involved 130 adolescents who were attempting to lose weight in a number of different ways, grouped into four categories:
  • Healthy weight control behaviors, which included eating fewer calories, increasing exercise, eating less high fat and junk food, drinking less soda, drinking more water, weighing oneself, eating more fruits and vegetables and doing different types of exercise.
  • Unhealthy weight control behaviors, which included laxatives, vomiting, diuretics, smoking and fasting.
  • Extreme dietary changes, which included use of liquid diet supplements, the Atkins diet, a structured diet, fasting and increasing protein consumption. And finally,
  • Structured behaviors, which included eating a certain amount of calories, counting calories, recording food intake and working with a professional.
Of the sample, 62 participants lost weight, whereas 68 did not. Over all, those who were successful in losing weight used the greatest number of 'healthy' behaviours. Those who didn't lose weight tended to use more unhealthy behaviours.

According to
Kerri Boutelle, of the departments of pediatrics and psychiatry at the University of California San Diego, "our findings suggest that there are no magical solutions, and that behaviors such as eating more fruits and vegetables and eating less fat and decreasing sedentary time seem to offer the most promise for success..."

Check out more about this study in the article called
"Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies" from HealthDay (Dec. 4, 2009).

Monday, December 7, 2009

Western, High-Fat Diets Turn On Fat Genes

(ScienceDaily Summary)

It's no surprise that consuming an excess of calories, especially from fats (they are the most energy dense, with 9 calories per gram) results in excess fat storage. According to new research, diets that are high in fat and sugar content, more commonly known as 'Western' diets, actually switch on genes that cause our bodies to store even more fat - more than we're supposed to.

According to the study, high fat and high sugar foods hit our bodies with a double whammy - not only are those foods already difficult to metabolize, but they also turn our bodies into fat-storing machines. In the report, it was shown that foods high in fat and sugar stimulate a receptor, called the kappa opioid receptor, which plays a role in fat metabolism. When this receptor is stimulated, it causes our bodies to hold on to far more fat than our bodies would do otherwise.

In evolutionary times, when food was scarce, this may have saved our lives by allowing us to store more energy than normal. Today, however, this research provides more proof that high-fat and high-sugar diets should be avoided.

Check out more about this study in the article called "Western Diets Turn on Fat Genes: Energy-Dense Foods May Activate Genes That Ultimately Make Us Obese" from ScienceDaily (Dec 1, 2009).

Friday, December 4, 2009

Trans Fats Can Be Even More Deadly For At-Risk Groups

(Reuters Health Summary)

In women with a history of heart disease, eating too many foods with artery-clogging trans fats can significantly increase their risk of suddenly dying of cardiac arrest.

Trans fats (man-made during food processing, to make fats solid at room temperature) act in almost the same way as saturated fats (found in nature) in the human body. Both types of fats accumulate in the arteries, resulting in the production of fatty plaques, which increase the risk of heart disease, including heart attacks, and stroke. In addition, trans fats increase the levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol and decrease levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol, which further exacerbate the problem.

According to a new study published in November's issue of the American Heart Journal, in nearly 87,000 U.S. women, increased consumption of trans fats did not increase the risk of sudden death from cardiac arrest, on the whole. In women with a history of heart disease, however, there was a significant increase in the incidence of sudden death from cardiac arrest. Of those women, the ones who ate the most trans fats -- typically getting 2.5 percent of their daily calories from the fats -- were three times more likely to die of cardiac arrest than those who ate the least.

With so much evidence that consuming Trans- and saturated fats is bad for our health, it's remarkable that they are still consumed today in such large numbers. It's best to avoid these unhealthy fats whenever possible and consume more heart-healthy fats from olive oil, almonds and walnuts, avocadoes, and seeds instead.

Check out more about this study in the article "For some women, trans fats could be deadly" from Reuters Health (Dec. 2, 2009).

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Jared From Subway Falls Off the Diet Wagon

(AOL Health Summary)

Have you heard of Subway's Jared? You know, the guy who lost a whopping 245 pounds in less than a year by eating subway every day and exercising. It was nearly a decade ago that we were first introduced to the kinda nerdy 20-something college student through Subway's ads, but he's looking a little different lately.

Jared was recently spotted at Miami airport looking less than fit, suggesting he's fallen off the diet wagon. According to Subway's website, "
Today, Jared still enjoys his favorite SUBWAY® sandwich, but has eased himself into eating other foods. He always chooses foods low in fat and limits the amount of alcoholic beverages. He still drinks only "diet" beverages and continues his walking regimen." Hmmm...maybe he hasn't been walking too much lately? Or maybe he's enjoying those other foods just a little bit too much.

The transition from a structured diet to the inclusion of other foods can certainly be tough. It's easy to get carried away with diet de-railers, if they've been excluded for a while. Perfect example: the holidays. Nobody (well, most of us, I should say) eats that way on a daily basis, so when the good stuff hits your lips, it's hard to resist or slow down. The good news is that there's always support for you if you seek it, and if you recognize that you slipped up once or twice, don't throw your whole diet out the window - be honest with yourself and get right back on that wagon! Remember, it takes 3500 calories to gain a pound, so if you pay attention to those extra calories in, you can anticipate the work you'll have to do to counteract them later!

Read more about Jared's story on Subway's website.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Pooches Provide a Better Workout than the Gym

(Dream Dogs Summary)

Any dog owner knows that dogs need walking. What they might be surprised to know, however, is that their pooches are returning the favour by providing their owners with more heart-healthy, fat-burning exercise than many gym-goers get!

In a new study from British Pet company
Bob Martin, the average dog owner walks their dog for about 25 minutes, twice a day. That adds up to more than 5.5 hours of exercise per week. In addition, dogs tend to be walked more often and for longer on the weekend, for a total of over 8 hours exercise per week! The average gym-goer, even if they hit the gym for a few hours a week, can't beat that!

If you're thinking that walking the dog doesn't make you break into a sweat the same way that going to the gym can, consider this - most people are not getting enough exercise as it is, so 8 hours is
way better than nothing. Plus, being outside and enjoying the fresh air helps us clear our minds and actually enjoy what we're doing, while the changing terrain and scenery allows us to keep moving and blasting calories without getting bored! According to the study, walking the dog was seen as a pleasure, whereas going to the gym is viewed as more of a chore.

Find out more about this study in the article "Dog owners healthier than gym bunnies" from Dream Dogs (Nov. 27, 2009).

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Study: Polyphenols and PUFAs Boost Brain Cell Growth

(ScienceDaily Summary)

It's now widely accepted that polyphenols (antioxidants) and Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs or "healthy" fats) help improve heart health, but now there's even more reason to include these nutrients in your diet. A new study out of Barcelona has found that both of these nutrients actually help increase you brain's production of neurons.

According to the study, diets high in polyphenols and PUFAs, known as the LMN diet, boost neural cell proliferation and growth in two main areas of the brain, the olfactory bulb and the hippocampus, both of which are greatly damaged in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Despite the fact that the study was performed in mice, the results give support to the hypothesis that a diet made up of foods rich in these antioxidant substances could delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease or even slow down its evolution.

Polyphenols can be found in tea, beer, grapes, wine, olive oil, cocoa, nuts and other fruits and vegetables. Polyunsaturated fatty acids can be found in fish, olive oil, avocadoes and vegetables such as corn, soy beans, sunflowers and pumpkins.

To find out more about this study, check out the article called "Polyphenols and Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Boost the Birth of New Neurons, Study Finds" from ScienceDaily (Nov. 30, 2009)

Monday, November 30, 2009

One in Ten Obese Individuals Think Their Bodies are Healthy

(Dallas Heart Study Summary)

It's important to pay attention to our body weight, as changes can oftentimes be a signal of changes in our health. From time to time, in
paying too close attention to our weight, we can be a bit too critical of our bodies. On the flip side, however, there are some individuals who do not pay enough attention to their weight, or are simply not being honest with themselves, and may overlook some important signs about their health. That's what the Dallas Heart Study has found.

In the study, nearly one in 10 clinically obese individuals thought that their weight was healthy and that they didn't need to lose any weight. In fact, some individuals even felt they could still gain some weight and be OK. Of those individuals, 35% had high blood pressure, 15% had high cholesterol, 14% had diabetes and 25% were smokers. According to Dr. Tiffany Powell, lead author of the study and a cardiology fellow at the
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, "They were also somewhat clueless about taking care of themselves...They did not visit doctors regularly. They did not exercise regularly."

The study begs the question - where is the line that separates a healthy perception of body weight and flat-out self delusion? Obviously culture, media and friends and family have an influence. Ultimately, it's important to make regular visits to your doctor to ensure your body weight is healthy, in addition to being comfortable in your own skin.

Click here to find out more about the Dallas Health Study.

Friday, November 27, 2009

FL Pizza Shop Owner Gets Healthy Eating Nothing But Pizza For a Month

Tampa, Florida pizza shop owner Matt McClellan was tired of getting dirty looks and nasty comments when he brought free samples of his product along with coupons to the gym. I mean, who in their right mind would even touch a slice of pizza when they're trying to get ripped? Well, all this inspired Matt to prove that his pizza could indeed be part of a healthy lifestyle, so he decided to eat nothing but pizza for a month and chronicle his journey along the way.

Although he looked healthy, Matt had high cholesterol and high blood pressure from an already poor diet. On his 30-day pizza diet, Matt consumed about 2500 calories per day - 6 slices of pizza throughout the day - and worked out vigorously for at least an hour a day. Wanting to prove that his weight loss and improved health was from his food intake alone, Matt didn't stop consuming beer, sodas and energy drinks concurrently with his diet.

'Pizza Diet' may seem like an oxymoron, but, in fact, pizza actually contains all the food groups - grains in the dough, dairy in the cheese, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and meats or meat products. Despite the fact that pizza is usually sky-high in calories and fats, if it's made sensibly, it can not only be delicious, but it can be healthy too - It's all about portion control and using fresh, healthy ingredients! Matt opted for healthy toppings such as skim milk, lean meats, avocado, garlic, organic Roma tomatoes.

Here's a summary of Matt's results in 30-days:
  • Weight: 203 pounds to 179 pounds
  • Blood Pressure: 140/90 to 118/80
  • Cholesterol: 243 to 157
  • Bicep: 15 inches to 14 inches
  • Chest: 42 inches to 43 inches
  • Waist: 38 inches to 33 1⁄2 inches
  • Hips: 42 inches to 39 inches
  • Body fat: 19 % to 9 %
  • BMI: 26.9 to 23.6
All this goes to show that, with portion control, you can essentially eat whatever you like and still lose weight! Just don't forget to make healthy choices including getting enough fibre, choosing foods lower in saturated fat and higher in healthy fats, and getting enough lean protein to keep your body in tip top shape!

Read more about Matt's Journey here!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Rachel McAdams: 'Had to Rely on Yoga' for Role in Upcoming Sherlock Holmes Film

(FitCeleb Summary)

Rachel McAdams is one of the brightest young stars in Hollywood - she's beautiful, talented, and best of all, she's Canadian! And this Christmas, she'll be starring in one of the most anticipated films of the year - Sherlock Holmes - along side Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law, and directed by renowned filmmaker Guy Ritchie.

In case you haven't seen the trailers, Rachel's character, Irene Adler, is gracefully sporting an uber-tight constricting corset for most of the film. Rachel admits it wasn't easy being squeezed into the age-old contraption, but thankfully, lots of yoga and a little bit of laughter helped her fit into it just fine.

Rachel was quoted as saying: "I wasn’t allowed to take that corset off! I had to rely on yoga exercises! Don’t get me wrong, I’m such a girly girl, I was in heaven being dressed in these incredible costumes. But it was like something out of ’Gone With The Wind’. I’m holding onto the trailer door trying to eek out just a little bit of space so that I can speak properly. Each morning, they tried to make me laugh and on the laugh they’d yank – that’s how they managed to squeeze me in every day."

Sounds painful, but all that yoga definitely paid off!

Adapted from the article "Rachel McAdams: Tight Corsettes For 'Sherlock Holmes' Role = A Lot Of Yoga" From FitCeleb (Nov. 20, 2009).

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Italy: Skipping Lunch 'Violates Workers' Rights'

(Reuters Health Summary)

Italians, famous for their love for food, responded with an uproar on Tuesday to a minister's comments that lunch breaks should be abolished. According to the minister, they're bad for both waistlines and for the economy.

In Italy, lunch breaks aren't your typical sandwich-at-the-desk, or even cafeteria food. Nope, in Italy, lunches are usually an hour-long affair filled with pasta or meat, a vegetable dish, fruit and coffee at a buffet restaurant.

Cabinet minister Gianfranco Rotondi, who was heavily criticised for his comments, including being lampooned by cartoonists, argues that excessively long, indulgent lunches, take away from the work day, causing it to be unnecessarily long. This, in effect, reduces the amount of time parents can spend with their children and so on and so forth. He claims that this "ritual" "brings Italy to a standstill".

Nutritionists, on the other hand, argue that Italians already eat a very light breakfast, usually some kind of small pastry paired with an espresso, so if they were to skip lunch, they may collapse half way through the day!

Now, I don't know about you - but it seems to me that both groups in this story are being a tiny bit dramatic...Lunch should not be skipped, however it doesn't need to be a 3-course meal lasting an hour! Interesting arguments from both sides, though!

Read more about this issue in the article "Italy finds proposal to skip lunch hard to digest" from Reuters Health (Nov. 24, 2009).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Study: On-Off Fasting May Work For Some

(American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Study Summary)

A small study from the University of Illinois at Chicago suggests that 'alternate day fasting' (ADF) may help some adults lose weight and protect their hearts.

In this very small preliminary study, sixteen obese adults completed a ten week diet trial, split in to three phases. During the 4-week weight loss/ADF phase, the adults consumed 25% of their required calories on one day, and then their normal amount the next.

The researchers found that, on average, the participants' body weight decreased by about ten pounds after 8 weeks of dieting. In addition, their body fat percentage, total cholesterol, LDL ("bad cholesterol") and triacylglycerol concentrations all decreased, but HDL ("good cholesterol") remained unchanged. To cap things, systolic blood pressure also decreased. The researchers believe that alternate day fasting may be "a viable diet option to help obese individuals lose weight and decrease coronary artery disease risk".

Once again, these findings are very preliminary and participants were all obese at the start of the trial. In other cases, results will likely differ and the health effects or potential benefits may not be generalizable.

Adapted from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Nov. 2009).

Monday, November 23, 2009

Heidi Klum On the Runway Again Right After Baby

(AOL Summary)

It's no doubt that Heidi Klum is one of the hottest women in the world. She's an international supermodel, working with Victoria's Secret for years, as well as a mother of four. And you might be surprised to know that she's 36 years old.

If you follow entertainment news, you'd know that Heidi just gave birth to her fourth child a mere 6 weeks ago. As a result, she decided only to host this year's Victoria's Secret fashion show as opposed to participating, as she normally does. Well, when you tune in to watch the show, you'll notice that Heidi changed her mind - and you'd seriously never know she just had a baby!

Having gained 45 pounds in her pregnancy, Heidi opted to wear probably the least revealing outfit of the show, sporting a full skirt and a corset. She told the audience "I'm definitely one of the heaviest of the bunch of the 30 girls in the show. And I still have 20 pounds to go," but I'm certain that any new mom would do bad things to get a body like Heidi's. What's her secret?

Heidi leads a busy life, taking care of her family and hosting 'Project Runway' among other things. To help get her body back, she worked with her in-home personal trainer for the past few weeks, going on lots of walks and working with a medicine ball. Heidi's not working too hard on her figure at the moment, as the health of her baby as well as her own health are a priority this close to having given birth. Besides, she's not too worried about her new motherly figure anyways, saying "I embrace that I have more curves right now." Good for her!

Check out more in the article "Heidi Klum Hits The Runway After Baby" from AOL Health (Nov. 20, 2009)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Food Manufacturers: 'Blame Consumers for Excessive Sodium Content'

(Globe and Mail Summary)

Reducing our sodium intake may be a tougher battle than we realize. Although it's simple enough to limit our use of salt at home, it's another problem all together to avoid the sodium found (or hidden) in processed foods. And according to food manufacturers, that's our fault as consumers.

Catherine O'Brien, director of corporate affairs at Nestlé Canada Inc., said earlier this week “We must balance the push of science against the pull of the market. Consumers will simply not compromise on taste, therefore, [taste] must be a priority alongside improved health.” So, basically, they'll try to cut sodium
a little bit so that they look like they care about our health, but really, they mostly just want us to buy their products. They are, after all, a business, like any other.

Funny enough, medical experts are challenging that argument, saying there is no evidence to show consumers reject products with less salt. The average Canadian – including children as young as 1 – consumes about 3,100 milligrams of sodium a day, more than double the recommended amount.

Find out more in "Canadians want salt, food makers tell MPs" from the Globe and Mail (Nov.19, 2009).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Found: Molecular Trigger that Helps Prevent Aging and Disease

(The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine Summary)

It has been shown in previous research that dietary restriction, to a degree, is effective in helping to prevent aging and disease, but the mechanism has not been clear. Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have now found a major clue that could help 'solve' the mysteries of aging and disease.

Published in the November 17 edition of the journal Public Library of Science Biology, the study examines how dietary restriction and a high-caloric diet influence biochemical responses. The researchers found that, under certain conditions, a lower-calorie diet slows the development of some age-related conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, in addition to the aging process. The way in which the diet is restricted doesn't appear to matter.

Charles Mobbs, PhD, Professor of Neuroscience and of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, said "It may not be about counting calories or cutting out specific nutrients, but how a reduction in dietary intake impacts the glucose metabolism, which contributes to oxidative stress." Meanwhile, a high calorie diet may accelerate age-related disease by promoting oxidative stress.

Read more about this fascinating study in the article called "Scientists Find Molecular Trigger That Helps Prevent Aging and Disease" from ScienceDaily (Nov. 18, 2009)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Burger King Sues Burger King Over $1 Burger

Yes, you read that correctly - last week, Burger King Franchisees sued the Chain over their new, vehemently opposed $1 double-cheeseburger promotion.

The cost to make the burger is actually $1.10, meaning that franchisees are losing 10 cents per burger. The $1.10 is made up of about 55 cents for the meat, bun, cheese and toppings, with the remainder covering expenses such as rent, royalties and worker wages.

Even after testing the deal nationwide, franchisees rejected it twice because of it's price. The chain went ahead with the program as scheduled since, apparently, they have the right to require franchise owners to participate in their value menu promotions. Dan Fitzpatrick, a Burger King franchisee from South Bend, Ind., and a spokesman for the National Franchise Association said "New math, or old math, the math just doesn't work,".

Catch up on all the details in the article called "Food fight: Burger King franchisees sue chain" from the Associated Press (Nov. 12, 2009)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Study: Nintendo Wii Games Might Actually Provide Exercise

(Reuters Health Summary)

Nintendo's Wii Console gained a lot of buzz when it first introduced games like 'Wii Fit' that actually made players get off their butts and move around. Advertisements and promotional efforts for the console and games featured fit-looking individuals dressed in athletic gear, suggesting that playing Wii games might help individuals incorporate some kind of physical activity into their daily lives. Thanks to a new study out of Japan, this might actually be the case.

The study (funded by Nintendo, no less) found that some of the
Wii's sports and activity games can help players work up a sweat, get their heart rates up and burn calories requiring an energy expenditure of 3.0 METs or above, which is considered to be moderate intensity exercise, according to the American Heart Association (AHA) exercise guidelines.

Motohiko Miyachi, head of a physical activity program at the National Institute of Health and Nutrition in Tokyo, who led the study, said "It's a very easy and fun way to start exercising,". According to Miyachi, some physical activity, even of the video variety, is better than none. Agreed!

Catch all the details about the study in the article "Nintendo Wii may provide actual exercise: study" From Reuters Health (Nov. 16, 2009).

Monday, November 16, 2009

Diet Tips from Liz Hurley

(Daily Mail Summary)

There's no doubt that Liz Hurley, actress, mother and the face of Estée Lauder for the past 14 years, looks absolutely amazing for her age. She's got a figure that women half her age would kill for (she's 44!) so, naturally, you'd think she's got some kind of diet tricks up her sleeve, and you'd be right indeed.

In what could only be considered 'extreme' measures to stay slim and trim, Liz has cut out wine and coffee from her diet, and only eats one meal per day. She doesn't miss the wine though, because she's switched to vodka sodas. Oh yeah, and and did I mention she has a strange love affair with beef jerky? Yeah, she even has her own line of it.

Now, I don't know about you, but this so-called diet raises a lot of red flags from a nutritional perspective and is definitely NOT recommended for anyone. First off, why switch from wine, which has many health benefits and is full of antioxidants, for vodka, with no known health benefits? In addition, 1.5 oz of vodka has about the same number of calories as a regular glass of wine anyways! Secondly, numerous studies have highlighted the health benefits of coffee, and caffeine in general, in terms of assisting in weight loss, speeding up metabolism and enhancing athletic performance. Liz says she heard it causes bloating...Sure, too much of anything - including wine or coffee - is certainly not recommended, but in moderation, there are health

Next on the agenda - only one meal a day? Come on, Liz! It's been shown in many studies that consuming smaller meals more frequently throughout the day (grazing) actually boosts one's metabolism and assists in weight loss and weight management. One meal per day can actually stall your metabolism and cause your body to go into a 'fasting' mode whereby the body preferentially stores energy as glycogen and fat. And don't even get me started on the beef jerky thing...

Liz, you look fantastic, but
please consult an expert next time before you start blacklisting foods from your diet and take extreme measures to lose weight. The same goes for all of you!

From the Daily Mail's article "Liz Hurley gives up wine and starts on the vodka to stay in shape" (Nov. 12, 2009).

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Savour Your Food To Lose Weight

(Reuters Health Summary)

Many of us have been warned against shovelling down our food too quickly, since not only is it not very well-mannered or attractive, it also tends to lead to weight gain and obesity. Several studies have backed this notion, and now there's one more that actually provides evidence behind the wisdom in slowing down when eating.

In a recent study out of Athens University Medical School in Greece and the Imperial College London in the UK, 17 healthy men enjoyed generous portions of ice cream, for scientific purposes, obviously. All men ate the ice cream under two conditions - in the first, they ate the it in two servings over 5 minutes; in the other, they ate it in small servings over 30 minutes.

While the participants felt just as full when they ate the ice cream in both conditions, the researchers found that when the men ate slowly, they showed higher blood levels of the hormones peptide YY (PYY) and glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) for roughly three hours after the meal. PYY and GLP-1 are both released from the digestive tract sending signals of fullness to the brain, resulting in a decrease in appetite and calorie intake.

According to one of the researchers, "Our study provides a possible explanation for the relationship between speed eating and overeating by showing that the rate at which someone eats may impact the release of gut hormones that signal the brain to stop eating,".

To find out the whole story, check out the article "To eat less, your body may want you to eat slowly" from Medline Plus (Nov. 9, 2009).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Stronger Muscles Decrease Alzheimer's Risk in Elderly

(Reuters Health Summary)

Elderly individuals with stronger muscles are at a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease compared with their weaker counterparts, a new study has found.

In the study, the researchers have found that, over a four year period, the stronger an individuals muscles were, the less likely they were to develop Alzheimer's disease in addition to the decline in mental capacity that precedes the disease.

A group of 970 dementia-free elderly adults with an average age of 80 years old had 9 muscle groups in their arms and legs tested for strength, in addition to testing their breathing muscles. During the follow-up, 130 individuals had developed the disease - those individuals were weaker from the get-go. People who ranked in the top 10 percent for muscle strength were 61 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer's than the weakest 10 percent. Stronger people also showed a slower decline in their mental abilities over time.

Find out more about the strength-Alzheimer's relationship in the article "More muscle power means lower Alzheimer's risk" from Reuters Health (Nov. 9, 2009).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

CLA Aids in Weight Loss, Especially Around the Middle

The average North American is seriously lacking CLA in their diets. Why should they care? Well, a lack of CLA means that their dietary fat will preferentially be stored as the physical fat found in their problem areas. Let me explain.

As a dietary supplement, CLA has been popular in health and wellness stores for quite some time now, and for good reason. Previous studies have shown that supplementing one's diet with CLA can help speed up their metabolism and reduce BMI by increasing the amount of fat burned, but preserves lean muscle mass. CLA is naturally found in foods like red meat and dairy products, however in order to get the amount of CLA that we require would mean consuming large amounts of these foods that we really should be consuming in moderation to maintain good health.

A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that CLA helps to preferentially burn fat from the abdominal area. During a 16-week supplementation period, participants' BMI and over all fat was reduced, but muscle mass stayed the same. Results were apparent after about 8 weeks, so anyone who thinks that CLA will be a 'magic pill' may be right, but they'll have to be patient!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Froot Loops: Now With Fibre?

As the epidemic of childhood obesity continues to plague the US and Canada, imagine my shock and surprise when I saw this advert on TV today. As cute as the kids in the ad are (and not obese), I can't begin to tell you how much things like this upset me. I truly wonder how ads like these are considered 'ethical' when all they're doing is brainwashing kids and parents to purchase and consume highly processed sugar-loaded morsels of food colouring and 'whole grains'.

According to a recent study out of California, children's TV networks present a whopping 7.7 food commercials every hour, which amounts to nearly 1 food commercial every 8 minutes! Ads for sugary cereals and sweets, high fat food, convenience or fast-food restaurants, chips/crackers and sugar-added beverages predominate the ad airtime.

Kellogg's is now trying to get kids to buy into their brand by sprinkling some fibre into the Froot Loops recipe and dusting it all off with a mound of sugar. Who cares if one cup of Froot Loops has 3 grams of fibre? It also has 12 grams of added sugar and contains absolutely nothing natural! In contrast, one medium apple contains 4.4g of fibre and won't make your kids bounce off the walls or contribute to childhood obesity!

Check out Kellogg's latest attempt to lure kids and parents into buying Froot Loops here, and read the article "TV Bombards Children With Commercials For High-fat And High-sugar Foods" From ScienceDaily (Nov. 5, 2009) to find out more.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Processed Food Linked to Depression

(BBC Health Summary)

I'm not sure if it could be any clearer that eating healthy foods improves your health, and eating processed 'junk' food is bad for your health - both mental and physical. Our bodily systems are all intertwined and interrelated, so anything we put into our body has the ability to help or hinder every aspect of our well being. Well, to add more evidence to this body of work, British researchers have found that diets higher in processed, junk or fast foods are linked to a higher incidence of depression versus a diet rich in whole foods.

The British researchers surveyed 3,500 participants who were split into two groups - those who ate a diet mainly based on whole foods, which includes lots of fruit, vegetables and fish, and those who ate a mainly processed food diet, such as sweetened desserts, fried food, processed meat, refined grains and high-fat dairy products.

The researchers followed up on these participants 5 years later and found that the individuals who ate the most whole foods had a 26% lower risk of future depression than those who at the least whole foods. By contrast, those individuals who ate a diet high in processed food had a 58% higher risk of depression than those who ate little or no processed foods.

If you aren't already eating a Mediterranean-style diet - high in fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, seeds and other healthy fats, lean protein and fish - get on it! There is no greater investment in life than in your own health.

Check out the article "Depression link to processed food" from BBC Health (Nov. 2, 2009).

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Kate Winslet Wins Lawsuit Over Exercise Claims

(Reuters Health Summary)

Kate Winslet must feel really good right now. Not only does she look amazing, but she just won £25,000 because her amazing figure comes so easily.

As we reported back in January, Kate herself admitted to doing little or no exercise per day in order to maintain her svelte physique - it just comes naturally. Winslet was quoted by The Daily Mail as saying that she doesn't attend a gym - she does about 20 minutes or so of pilates per day, and she doesn't diet. The paper accused Kate of lying and said that she obviously trains harder, given her great figure. The paper also included nude photos of Winslet from various films as 'evidence'. Winslet said in a statement:

I am delighted that the Mail have apologised for making false allegations about me.

I was particularly upset to be accused of lying about my exercise regime and felt that I had a responsibility to request an apology in order to demonstrate my commitment to the views that I have always expressed about body issues, including diet and exercise.

I strongly believe that women should be encouraged to accept themselves as they are, so to suggest that I was lying was an unacceptable accusation of hypocrisy.

Women everywhere should take note: Kate obviously understands the principle of energy balance, because she enjoys what she eats, but she clearly eats just enough to maintain a healthy balance. Energy in equals energy out.

Read more about Winslet's Lawsuit in the article "Kate Winslet wins damages over exercise libel" from Reuters Health (Nov. 3, 2009)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Chewing Gum Aids in Energy Balance

(ScienceDaily Summary)

Energy balance is all about off-setting energy in (eating; food and drinks) with energy out (moving around; exercise). In this state, the body has just the right amount of energy it needs to get through the day, without weight gain or weight loss. A new study has found that chewing gum may be beneficial for some in maintaining this process.

Kathleen Melanson, a professor of nutrition and food sciences at the University of Rhode Island has found that, within individuals, when they chewed sugar-free gum, they tended to burn more calories through the day, but also consumed fewer calories over all, while feeling more energetic and less hungry than when they did not chew gum.

Each participant in this study came into the lab twice, once after chewing gum, and another time without having chewed gum, effectively acting as their own controls. Each participant chewed 3 pieces of gum, each for 20 minutes, in the morning and their calories consumed at lunch were measured. Compared to when they did not chew gum, participants consumed about 70 less calories at lunch, plus if they chewed gum before and after lunch, they also burned 5% more energy.

According to Melanson, "Based on these results, gum chewing integrates energy expenditure and energy intake, and that's what energy balance is about,". She went on to explain that there are nerves in the jaw that are stimulated when a person chews, signalling to the brain that there is no need to eat at the time being, resulting in reduced hunger and increased satiety.

Find out more about this incredible study in the article called "Chewing Gum Can Reduce Calorie Intake, Increase Energy Expenditure, Nutritionist Finds" from Science Daily (Nov. 1, 2009).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Kevin Federline to Appear on Celebrity Weight Loss Program

(AOL Health Summary)

Britney Spears' ex, Kevin Federline has gone from K-Fed to K-Fat faster than you can say Fried Chicken. Kevin's rapid weight gain seemingly came out of nowhere, but he's now ready to do something about it. Along with other celebrities with a few pounds to lose, Federline will attempt to shed a reported 40 pounds and document it for the world to see on VH1's "Celebrity Fit Club".

As a former back-up dancer, Federline used to be in great shape, but since his split from Britney 3 years ago, he's started packing on the pounds.

Tune in to catch K-Fed's transformation on the newest season of Celebrity Fit Club, which premieres on VH1 Feb. 14, 2010.

Check out more details about Celebrity Fit Club at AOL Health (Oct 30., 2009).

Monday, November 2, 2009

Fight Belly Fat with Fibre

(Reuters Health Summary)

As if to reiterate the message from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada that was posted on the cafeteria wall in the Ryerson Library, a new study from LA has found that including even a little bit more fibre in your diet can make a real difference in the size of your waistline.

In the study, teens and adolescents were monitored for two years, during which time they increased the amount of fibre in their diets. The researchers found that the participants ended up with significantly less fat around their waists than at the start. In participants who decreased the amount of fibre in their diets, their waistlines expanded.

The researchers were interested in measuring changes in belly fat, because numerous studies have shown a link between bigger waistlines and an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. Bottom line - make sure you're getting your 25-30 grams per day and your body will thank you in all kids of ways!

Check out the rest of the details in the article called "Upping fiber intake could help defeat belly fat" from Reuters Health (Oct. 29, 2009)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Smoking, Even Light, Affects Young Adults' Arteries

(Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Summary)

In young adults, smoking even one cigarette a day is enough to stiffen their arteries by 25%. As a person's arteries become stiffer, their risk of heart disease and stroke increases dramatically.

In the study, both smokers and non-smokers participated in three exercises tests. The smokers were not allowed to smoke for 12 hours before the first test, smoked before the second, and chewed nicotine gum before the third.

In non-smokers, arterial stiffness decreased following exercise. In smokers, however, arterial stiffness increased after the first round, increased 6x after chewing nicotine gum, and 12x after smoking a cigarette, for a total of a nearly 25% increase. Doing this every day
"can damage the arteries, compromising the ability of their bodies to cope with physical stress, such as climbing a set of stairs or running to catch a bus" according to one of the researchers.

Check out the full press release called "Smoking gun: just one cigarette has harmful effect on the arteries of young healthy adults" at the CNW group (Oct. 27, 2009).

Thursday, October 29, 2009

11 Ways to Avoid a Hallowe'en Diet Disaster

Well, folks, it's that time of year again. For the past month or so, the store shelves have been stocked chock full of cavity-inducing and waistline-widening candies. That's right - It's Hallowe'en. And the really scary part? It's not just the kids who are eating all the's us grown-ups too! Even scarier? Hallowe'en is the unofficial "kick off" for weight gain season...

Despite the fact that temptation is running rampant and every next person at work has a snack-sized chocolate bar in their lunch, there's no need to worry this year. We're on your side - Here's how you can enjoy those Hallowe'en treats without busting your waistline. Just follow these handy tips.

1. Avoid candy all together. Buy healthier treats like bags of pretzels, granola bars or sugarless gum, or pass out non-edible treats like stickers or Hallowe'en pencils.
2. OK let's be real. At least buy Halloween candy on Halloween. No matter how your candy at the last minute.
3. Don’t overbuy. It’s better to run out of candy and end the show early then to have piles of tempting treats leftover.
4. Buy candy you don't like so it won't be a temptation. Why torture and tempt yourself by having boxes and bags of your favourite candy bars around the house?
5. Keep gum in our mouth when you're going to be around other treats.
6. Get rid of over 50% of the treats your kids bring home and/or leftover goodies that were not given away. Donate it or throw it out. Having it in the house is too much of a temptation and a health hazard for the whole family!
7. Avoid "drive-by's". Tempation lurks at every turn. Co-workers will have candy bowls. There will be pumpkin cookies at parties. Take control by NOT eating everytime you see something that tempts you.
8. Don't skip meals. Eat your normal meals and then a snack-sized version of your favourite candy bar for dessert.
9. Set a limit. grab one or two mini-chocolate bars and tell yourself that's it. They're so small that you think you can have 'one of each' and it's OK...but it's not! Those calories add up fast!
10. Then hide the rest. Get them out of your sight! Out of sight, out of mind...
11. Get a workout in the next day and you won't feel badly about splurging the night before.

Remember, it's OK to indulge once in a while, just make sure that the rest of the time, you eat healthy and take care of yourself!

And finally, before you dig in to those candies, test your Hallowe'en knowledge in the quiz "What Does 100 Calories of Candy Look Like?" from Women's Health Online.

Happy Hallowe'en!

Eat Healthy and Save Money With the Mediterranean Diet

( Guest Article)

Saving money today is more popular than ever. Eating more meals at home is something more people are doing. Of course, it is still possible to spend a lot of money at a supermarket, but with wise and frugal shopping, your grocery bill can be minimal and you still eat healthy.

There are many resources available to help you become a frugal shopper while paying attention to nutrition. A ‘thrifty plan’ has been created by the Department of Agriculture. It feeds a family of four members with two adults and two children. The cost of the plan is only $135 a week and does meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

The tips within the thrifty plan help you save money and still eat healthy. An additional benefit is that eating healthy also prevents expensive future medical bills. A healthy diet, like the Mediterranean diet, which includes food rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and limits red meat while emphasizing good fat is able to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and other conditions.

Before you leave for the supermarket, it is important to check your staples and make a plan:
1. Check the pantry for unused items to prepare meals.
2. Plan ahead by making a menu and then only buy what you need for that.
3. Change the focus away from meat. Not every meal has to have a meat.
4. Weight your time versus money. Many times preparing foods can cost less than if already done for you.
5. Look for coupons on items that you regularly use.
6. Sign up for shopper cards where you do your shopping.
7. Join clubs to get the discounts when you buy in bulk.

While you are in the supermarket, consider
1. Staying away from the junk food. Sweets are empty calories and cost more.
2. Look in the bakery. Often times the bakery has goods that are less expensive that commercial brands.
3. Try store brands. Other brands tend to be cheaper and just as good.
4. Choose organic products wisely, they tend to be expensive.
5. Look for canned or bagged foods. Fresh products tend to be more expensive.
6. Look for food in other locations of the store. Many times a product is on sale in a different location.
7. Check your receipt for items that you were overcharged on.

About the Author

Valery Fortie is the editor of the Mediterranean diet blog, a directory of medical news on Mediterranean eating habits to help people lower blood pressure and live longer and better. is a non commercial website created to preserve the Italian Healthy Eating Traditions. Founded in 2004 in Italy, feels very strongly about having informed consumers on duty in all healthy eating fields.