Tag Archives: hunger

Sesame Street Takes On Food Insecurity with New Muppet Lily

On Sunday, October 9th, you and your family can watch a Sesame Street one-hour primetime special on PBC titled Growing Hope Against Hunger with country singer Brad Paisley and a brand new Muppet named Lily.

Lily was designed to be as human as possible, in both appearance and mannerisms, to represent the more than 16 million children in the United States that are “food insecure,” a term used to describe those who have limited or uncertain access to affordable and nutritious foods. Lily was designed for this special, and there are not currently any plans for her to become a more permanent member of the Sesame Street cast.

In addition to Paisley and Lily, Growing Hope Against Hunger will include many of your Sesame Street favorites such as Elmo, and documentary-like vignettes starring real children who have experienced hunger. (more…)

Brain Signals are Key to Weight Loss

If a dieter decreases their calories, they also decrease their brain cells’ calories. This process has recently been researched and linked to the ultimate demise of most diets. As the hungry brain cells signal the body of that hunger, appetite increases, and metabolism slows. But what if the brain couldn’t send out those signals? That’s a whole new arena we’ve never been to before.

Recently, researchers have created mice whose brains can not send out hunger signals or appetite-increasing proteins. These mice were found to be leaner and ate less even after they were starved. It’s believed that these results would apply to humans since mice are often used as human biological models.

In the study the scientist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York were able to isolate the appetite-sensing neurons in the mice. These neurons are the culprits for increasing autophagy, a process where cells break down their used parts. When the breakdown of cells is increased, appetite-inducing proteins are released. Ultimately, the brain is told it’s time to eat due to these proteins.

When the researchers turned this process in the mice, their appetite-inducing proteins stayed low and even in times of starvation, the hunger signals stopped. Compared to normal mice, the mutant mice were 10 percent leaner, capable of burning more energy, and were more active. One of the most revealing facts was that these mice still ate less even after food was withheld to the point of starvation.

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Your Perception of Food Affects Your Hunger Levels

Can just the way you perceive the food you are about to eat have an impact on how satisfied you will feel afterward? That’s what researchers at Yale University set out to find when they performed a new study.

The researchers measured levels of the hormone gherkin, which is released in the stomach as a response to hunger. When your blood contains high levels of the so-called “hunger hormone,” it sends your brain the signal that it wants food.

In the study, they took 46 volunteers between 18 and 35 years old. They were told that they were going to test two new milkshakes. One of them would be labeled high fat, 620-calorie “indulgent” milkshake, the other was a no-fat 140-calorie “sensi-shake,” for being a “sensible” choice. Thing is, both shakes had the same calorie content (380). In fact, they were the exact same french vanilla milkshakes, just in different packaging.

Amazingly, the volunteers’ levels of the hunger hormone was different, depending on their perception of what they were drinking. When they were anticipating a decedent treat, their gherkin levels dramatically increased in anticipation, which was followed by a steep decline afterward. This indicates that they were more satisfied by it. (more…)

Children are Growing Fatter as They Go Hungry

We’ve all heard that obesity is a huge crisis in America, but what many of us forget is that it’s our nation’s children who are suffering the brunt of the problem.  Childhood obesity has tripled over the past thirty years with nearly one third of children or teens being overweight or at risk for becoming overweight.

According to a report issued by First Lady Michelle Obama’s Task Force on Childhood Obesity, the number of obese Americans is growing. Nearly 75 percent of Americans will be overweight or obese by 2019, a condition that will have a negative impact on our nation’s economy. Ironically, as our nation weighs in heavier, the New York’s Food Research and Action Center reports another dilemma: families can become obese at the same time they are going hungry.

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18th Annual Healthy Weight Week Celebrates Healthy Living Habits

Many Americans begin the month of January on a diet. After a week of eating greens, practicing cleanses and blending protein shakes, the second week of January is when we fall off the wagon and succumb to chocolate cake cravings. The third week in January? Stop dieting for good and commit to a balanced diet that you can maintain throughout the year.

Healthy Weight Week (Jan. 16-22) was created by health professionals to help us “celebrate healthy living habits that last a lifetime and prevent eating and weight problems, rather than intensifying them, as diets do.”

Instead of extreme dieting, Healthy Weight Week promotes healthy lifestyles for both children and adults of every size. Healthy Weight Week is meant to help people develop reasonable, rational diet and exercise patterns that they can feel good about.

How can you celebrate Healthy Weight Week? Francie Berg, chairwoman of 2011 Healthy Weight Week told the Monterey Herald, “Normal eating means having a healthy relationship with food that is natural, trusting and flexible.”

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Honor Your Hunger This Holiday Season

Now that it’s the holiday season and tempting treats are everywhere, it’s very, very important to pay attention and eat according to your hunger. It may sound easy, but so many of us often eat for other reasons then hunger, including emotions, societal pressure (imagine Aunt Mildred saying, “You just have to eat one of my holiday cookies!”) and external cues, but listening to your true hunger is a great strategy for combating that holiday weight gain. Read on for three tips to really tune into your hunger and stop eating once you’re full!

1. Log your hunger and fullness. You already know how beneficial food journaling can be, but don’t just track your eats — track your hunger, too! On a scale from zero to 10 with zero being starving and 10 being uncomfortably and even painfully full, jot down how hungry you are before eating and then how full you are after. Try to eat when you’re at a three or a four, and stop eating when you’re at a six or a seven. Remember it can take your body up to 20 minutes to feel full so eat slowly.

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End Childhood Hunger with the Great American Dine Out

Most of us could benefit from eating out less, but if you are looking for a noble reason to hit up one of your favorite eateries, look no further than the Great American Dine Out.

From September 19 to September 25, Share Our Strength’s third annual Great American Dine Out is working with thousands of restaurants across the country. They will be offering great promotions, featuring special dishes, and donating part of their proceeds from that week to help support Share Our Strength’s work to end childhood hunger in this country. This year, Aaron McCargo Jr. from Food Network’s “Big Daddy’s House” is the Great American Dine Out’s official spokesperson and he is encouraging you take part of this special cause.

All you have to do is locate a participating restaurant via this Share Our Strength Restaurant Finder and dine in or dine out to help make the organization’s mission of “No Kid Hungry” a reality. (more…)

Billions Needed to Improve Child Nutrition

More than 17 million children live in households that sometimes skip meals in order to make ends meet. One third of U.S. children are obese or on the road to becoming so. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called on lawmakers to appropriate one billion dollars a year more into programs aimed at ending the twin scourges of childhood obesity and lack of nutrition. One of those programs is the Child Nutrition Bill, on the agenda for re-authorization this year.

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Considering Haiti: Rethinking Eating Habits

haitian boyIt seems like Haiti is on everyone’s hearts and minds at the moment. Such events reach us at a level where we change behavior. I doubt that many of the people texting donations to the Red Cross had never sent a non-personal text message before; I wonder how many had never previously sent a text message. I know a six-year-old child who was doing extra chores to earn money to give to his school’s fundraiser. Big events impact our thinking and our priorities. In these cases, we are driven by compassion and concern. Sometimes it takes big events to break us out of focusing only on our own concerns and daily stressors.

Has Haiti been on your heart or mind? Have you done anything differently as a result? Has the Haitian earthquake changed your eating habits? (more…)

Snack Smart to Keep Energy High Before Thanksgiving Day

thanksgiving stressI can almost hear the hustle and bustle that’s the hallmark of the holiday season. If you are entertaining this Thanksgiving, you may be stressing about finding that perfect local, organic, free-range turkey who got a hug before he met his demise or you may be worrying about how to keep Aunt Edna out of the kitchen so she doesn’t make that disgusting “sweet potato casserole” with marshmallows in the microwave.

Whatever your holiday deal, you will be busy and when you’re busy you might forget the important things, like say…. oh…. eating! Never fear, your diet diva is here. Read on to find out some of the best high energy snacks you can grab in a pinch. (more…)