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)