Tag Archives: research studies

Is Your Target Weight Loss Realistic? It Probably Doesn’t Matter.

shattered-scale

When it comes to setting weight loss goals, most dieters are unrealistic. Medical experts, concerned with adequate nutrition and physical and psychological health, recommend an average weight loss of a half to one pound per week. But dieters want nothing to do with that. They expect to lose at a rate twice as high, at a minimum.

Scientists have studied, at length, dieters’ expectations about losing weight. Dr. Thomas Wadden, Director of the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders at the University of Pennsylvania, found that even when patients were “informed repeatedly” that their weight loss goals were unrealistic, they still wanted to lose more than was recommended.

In another study, a group of women expected to lose 22 to 34 percent of their weight in six months, and when told that average weight loss is 8 to 10 percent during the first six months of dieting, they said that number was “unacceptable” and “disappointing.”

Patients undergoing gastric lap band surgery were no different. They expected to lose almost 100 percent of their excess weight when typical results are 20 to 25 percent.

But does it matter if a dieter’s weight loss goals are realistic? Apparently not. (more…)

Regulation Nation: What Consumers Really Think About the Feds in Our Food

The question of whether or not the government should regulate the food industry seems like a simple one, but it’s really an incredibly complex topic. Variables like price, availability, variety of offerings, and quality of products are all involved. Also, there’s the issue of how much regulation the food industry should have. Should it all be regulated? None? Or maybe somewhere in the middle?

To help us make sense of the issue, Sullivan Higdon & Sink (SHS) has produced its latest White Paper, Regulation Nation. Through their research, they’ve learned the issue of food regulation comes down to a lot more than a simple yes we should have it, or no we shouldn’t.

regulation pros and cons

Regulation Benefits: Food is safer, healthier, better-quality.

Regulation Negatives: limit choices, restrict freedoms, and ultimately drive up costs.

(more…)

Are Your Kids Over-Fortified? Too Much of a Good Thing Puts Their Health at Risk

kids-overfortified

Millions of well-intentioned American parents, unbeknownst to them, are over-fortifying their kids with too many nutrients. That’s according to a report published earlier this year by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

EWG, an American-based health and research organization, analyzed the nutrition facts labels for 1,550 breakfast cereals and found that 114 cereals were fortified by the manufacturer with 30 percent or more of the adult Daily Value of vitamin A, zinc, and/or niacin. They also looked at 1,000 snack bars and found that 27 common brands were fortified with 50 percent or more of the Daily Value of at least one of those nutrients.

Among the most fortified cereals were:

  • General Mills’ Total line
  • Wheaties Fuel
  • Kellogg’s Product 19
  • Smart Start
  • All-Bran Complete
  • Cocoa Krispies
  • Krave

The most fortified snack bars included

  • Balance
  • Kind
  • Marathon

Food Awards: Best & Worst Breakfast Cereals

When foods are fortified, vitamins and minerals that aren’t originally in a food are added by the manufacturer. Classic examples include adding vitamin D to milk, iron to flour, fiber to cereal, and iodine to salt. Since 1998, folic acid has been added to breads, cereals, and other products that use enriched flour in an effort to reduce Spina Bifida and other serious birth defects. The idea of fortification was developed almost 100 years ago to treat common nutrition-deficiency diseases.
But it is possible to consume too many fortified foods, especially by children, because the Daily Values are set for the needs of adults not kids. Furthermore, the Daily Value standards were set in 1968 and so some are higher than levels currently deemed to be safe. (more…)

Idaho has Cheapest Groceries, Virginia Most Expensive: Can You Feed Your Family a Meal for $15?

grocery prices by stateEMBED THIS GRAPHIC

Do you think you could feed your family a healthy meal with only $15? It all depends on where you live, and what you’re willing to buy.

To get the ingredients to make a simple meal at home, you would spend an average of $15. That’s compared to an average of $6.50 for a single meal from a fast food restaurant like McDonald’s. When looking at base cost, fast food certainly seems like the cheaper option, and that’s appealing to a family crunched for cash.

However, the ingredients you could get for $15 would make a meal for four people — we priced chicken breasts, potatoes, apples, and milk — and the meal would be better for you than a cheeseburger and fries from the nearest drive-through.

5 Family Menus for $15 or Less

Unfortunately, not everyone has access to fresh ingredients, nor can everyone afford them. In some states, the cost of a meal’s worth of groceries is far more than $15. In Virginia, for example, you would need nearly $30 for the same amount of food you could get for less than $10 in Idaho. How is it possible that a family can have more or less affordable food depending on where they live?

Food inequality is a growing problem in the United States, as shown in a recent study released by the Harvard School of Public Health. Though diet quality has improved among people of higher socioeconomic status, the same cannot be said for those on the other side of the spectrum. (more…)

Trouble in Oz: Study Supporting Oz-Promoted Diet Pills Formally Retracted

dr. oz

Dr. Oz is making headlines again for products he’s promoted not passing “scientific muster.” Four months ago, the well-known doctor was skewered in a Senate hearing on false claims made in advertising for weight loss products; in part due to a lack of scientific evidence supporting those claims. Now, a study supporting diet pills containing green coffee bean extract (GCBE) and promoted by Dr. Oz has been retracted.

The study was one our own Mary Hartley, R.D. came out against, and now it seems the study’s lead researchers want to take it all back.

“The sponsors of the study cannot assure the validity of the data so we, Joe Vinson and Bryan Burnham, are retracting the paper,” the scientists posted in a statement online.

(more…)

What Do Americans Eat? Kale, Gluten-Free, and Organics Top 2014 Food Trends

food statistics

Food trends come and food trends go. One year we’re all raving about Sriracha, the next we’re falling for the cronut. For the last 30 years, Parade has surveyed those trends and other American eating habits.

This year, foods like snack bars and frozen sandwiches have risen in popularity. As more people eat on the go, convenience foods are going to see a natural rise. According to Parade‘s survey:

  • 27 percent of main dishes made at home are frozen or ready-to-eat meals.
  • 80 percent of our meals are prepared at home, and over half of them are made from scratch or fresh ingredients.

(more…)

The Brown Fat Takeaway TIME Magazine Missed

scientist

Full confession: I love to read about brown fat, a relatively newly discovered form of fat that burns calories directly. Brown fat might be the key to weight loss, writes Alice Park, who covers breaking health news for TIME magazine. Last week, she published, Why Brown Fat May Be the Key to Weight Loss. Kudos to TIME for covering valuable research (when others did not.) But there’s a lot more to add. First, some words about brown fat.

The body makes two kinds of fat: white fat, familiar to all, the storage form of energy, and brown fat that is not stored but burned directly as fuel. When triggered by exposure to the cold, brown fat generates heat (white fat just sits there). Hibernating animals produce brown fat to stay warm during the winter. Newborn babies have lots of brown fat, their own little furnaces, to protect against the cold. We used to think that adults could not make brown fat, but now we know everyone can turn white fat into brown when there is need. (more…)

Your Sports Bra is the Most Important Item in Your Gym Bag

enell

We’ve all got our reasons for not being as physically active as we should. Typically, low energy level, time, and other lifestyle constraints affect our decision to hit the gym. But according to a study from the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, there’s another reason women aren’t engaging in exercise as much as they’d like.

Seventeen percent of women reported that the breast was a barrier to physical activity participation. I can’t find the right sports bra and I am embarrassed by excessive breast movement were the most significant breast-related setbacks recorded by the study.

It’s no wonder women experience this obstacle when considering the unique nature of female breast tissue. According to this article from the New York Times, a recent study by the Research Group in Breast Health discovered that “unsupported female breasts — that is, those not contained within a bra — oscillate as much as eight inches in space when a woman runs, and not just up and down, but also side to side, forward and backward.” Wow. That’s a lot of motion!

This is no surprise to Renelle Braaten, founder and president of ENELL, a company whose purpose is to create state-of-the-art, high-quality performance sports bras for women C cup or above so that they have the opportunity to fully participate in an active lifestyle. (more…)

Exercise is Driving Us to Drink! Do You Imbibe after a Workout?

drinking

We know exercise can make you thirsty, but a new study is suggesting physical activity is making people reach for something quite a bit stronger than water.

In the study, published in Health Psychology, researchers asked participants to track their alcohol consumption and when they exercised over three stretches of 21 days. Strangely, the records showed that people tended to drink more on the days they exercised more.

Participants in the study reported more physical activity from Thursday to Sunday, meaning they exercised more on the weekends. They also drank more too, but it’s already known that people drink more on weekends than they do during the week. It would have been case closed for the study had the researchers not put a control in place to account for increased drinking on the weekends.

“We adjusted for the day of week, so any associations between physical activity and alcohol consumption could not be attributed to the fact that it was, for example, a Saturday,” said lead study author David E. Conroy in a statement. (more…)

Retrain Your Brain to Actually Enjoy Eating Healthy Food

diet

We all know eating salad is better than eating candy bars, but you can’t control which foods you actually enjoy eating…or can you? This new study brings new meaning to brain food.

Shape Magazine recapped a recent study published by Nutrition & Diabetes explaining that it may be possible to neurologically reprogram your brain to prefer healthier foods. The study took 13 people and gave the first group a structured high protein, low glycemic index, low calorie diet while the second group could continue eating “normal” foods like pizza and potato chips. They took MRI scans of all participants before the study, then again six months later.

Both times, all participants were shown images of healthy foods and unhealthy foods, then they tracked and compared the neurological responses.

What did they find?  (more…)