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Something to Chew On: Food Texture Can Make You Overeat

Just like people prefer certain tastes over others, we all tend to have texture preferences when it comes to food. Take for example the chocolate chip cookie. Some will insist the best cookies are thin and crisp, while others will argue soft and chewy is the way to go.

food texture

Texture can influence a lot more than food preference. A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research revealed texture can also affect how people perceive the number of calories in food.

Study authors Dipayan Biswas, Courtney Szocs (both of University of South Florida), Aradhna Krishmna (University of Michigan), and Donald R. Lehmann (Columbia University) wrote, “We studied the link between how a food feels in your mouth and the amount we eat, the types of food we choose, and how many calories we think we are consuming.”


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Why Do (or Don’t) We Eat Healthy Food?

The minds behind Sullivan Higdon & Sink’s (SHS) FoodThink are at it again, and this time they’re taking a good look at the how and why of eating healthy. Their new white paper, “Our Appetite for Healthy Eating,” covers everything from attitudes about healthy foods to our attempts to eat right.

healthy choices

According to research conducted by SHS, 61 percent of Americans make the commitment to eat healthy. Of course, there’s a lot of variation in that claim.

From “Our Appetite for Healthy Eating”: Organic shoppers, for instance, are 31-percent more likely to say they’re committed to healthy eating. On the other hand, those who believe their cooking skills to be sub-par are 13-percent less likely to say they’re committed to healthy eating.


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Supersize Your Salad: How Better Value May Lead to Better Health

Supersizing—though the official term, created by McDonald’s in the 1990s, has disappeared from fast food places, the concept never really left. Consumers will still purchase, and generally eat more food if they feel like they are getting a better deal.

grocery shopping

“We know the health implications of a giant latte or supersized fries, so a little justification through feeling financially savvy and saving money makes us feel better about our decision and increases consumption,” said Kelly L. Haws, a marketing researcher Vanderbilt at Vanderbilt University.

Haws is part of a research team that recently found consumers aren’t just looking for deals on unhealthy fast food meals. In fact, Haws and co-author Karen Winterich found that the supersizing effect works just as well on healthier food choices.


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Have a Healthy Weekend! Make the Most of Your Last Saturday and Sunday of 2013!

Welcome to the weekend! Saturdays and Sundays may mean relaxed diet and fitness rules during much of the year, but the timing of this specific weekend—right between Christmas and New Year’s Eve—may inspire you to get in a few final acts of health in 2013. If you’re feeling like you could use a health reboot right now, here are 10 ways to have a healthy weekend.

weekend ahead

1. Limit your coffee intake. Inherently, coffee is full of all sorts of health-promoting properties. The beverage has been linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even some cancers. However, regularly loading up on caffeinated coffee can make you moody and dependent on its energy boosting effects; what started as one cup can quickly turn into three or four if you don’t keep your habit in check. So, if you need extra pep have a single cup, then switch to decaf, which has many of the same health-protecting properties but isn’t addictive.


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Is MSG Bad for You? The Facts about Monosodium Glutamate Make for a Hung Jury

It’s in ranch dressing, Doritos, canned soups, and french fries. You’re eating it if you go to KFC, have green bean casserole, or take a swig of Diet Coke. Really, any processed food likely includes some form of it. What is this ubiquitous food product? Monosodium glutamate, most commonly known as MSG.

For years, MSG has been the subject of debate. The Food and Drug Administration calls it safe, MSG-sensitive persons think it causes headaches and asthma, and scientists show conflicting research on the effects of MSG. What’s the truth? Should everyone stop eating it? Are the food companies and government in conspiracy against the public? Or is this product a safe and healthy flavor enhancer?

First, it is helpful to go over what monosodium glutamate is. MSG is added to foods to enhance flavor without giving a flavor of its own, according to the FDA. It was first discovered in Japan in 1908 by a scientist named Ikeda, who isolated the compound after wanting to know the secret of his wife’s delicious soup. Along with branding his product and making millions, he also came up with the idea of umami, a fifth taste translated as savory or deliciousness that is distinct from the senses of sweet, sour, bitter, and salty.
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