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…)
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.
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…)
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.
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.”