Diet and Weight Management

There are many diets and weight loss programs available, and more are created every day. How is one supposed to sift through all of the conflicting claims? Should I go low carb - high protein? Is that good for me? Is it effective? What about just counting "points" or staying with another diet that relies on fruits? Or even “Paleo”.

While you may find some answers on this page, what you will find is information about good and solid research that can help you determine what to eat and how to plan staying healthy.

Keep in mind that weight loss is based on a very simple principle regardless of which diet or fad one may choose to follow: the balance of calories. In other words, if you take in more calories than you expend through physical and mental activity, you will gain weight. If you expend more calories than you take in, you will lose weight.

There are some tricks, though, that can make dieting easier and more effective. For example, are there ways to make us less hungry or feel full sooner? What nutrients are in which foods and what do we need them for?

See the articles and links below for answers.

Don’t Diet!

Don’t Diet! That’s the advice one researcher gives to people who are struggling to adhere to a diet, lose weight, and gain it right back when they stop the diet. There are other, and better, ways to manage your weight! The link will pull up a blog by the researcher, Charlotte Markey, in PDF form.

Addicted to Food

Mental and physical forces seem to influence or even control our decisions about what we eat and how much. The way a particular food looks, tastes and feels in our mouth can trick our brain into eating well past necessity from an energy standpoint. It appears that people who overeat activate the same “reward pathway” in the brain that is triggered in other addictions (e.g., alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex). Not only are the brain structures in the reward pathway triggered, it appears that indulging in pleasure foods actually inhibits the function of the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with self-control, planning and rational thinking.  And that's when we are in danger of eating for pleasure rather than eating because we need nourishment. Read the full article here.

Change Your Memories to Lose Weight

Lose Weight by Changing Your Memories of how much you ate: Two and three hours after eating, subjects of a recent study were all hungrier, of course, but it was what they remembered seeing on their dish that mattered. In fact, those who ate the small portion and thought it was large were more sated than those who ate the large portion and thought it was small. When it comes to the feeling of fullness, the eyes are apparently more important than the stomach.

Coffee: The Original Wonder Drug!?!

Coffee has been shown to have an amazing array of positive benefits, from mental health to cardio-vascular, even cancer-fighting and neuro-chemical impacts. There are some negative effects also. Read this fascinating article here

How Food Affects The Brain: Omega 3 Especially Important

In addition to helping protect us from heart disease and cancer, a balanced diet and regular exercise can also protect the brain and ward off mental disorders. "Diet, exercise and sleep have the potential to alter our brain health and mental function. This raises the exciting possibility that changes in diet are a viable strategy for enhancing cognitive abilities, protecting the brain from damage and counteracting the effects of aging..." ... Click here for a PDF version of the full news release

Mint as a Drug for Digestive Issues

Mint has been used as a flavoring and tea for millennia. Turns out, modern research supports the idea of using mint as a first stage drug for multiple digestive issues. See more here.

Doing Taxes is Easier Than Eating Healthy

Fifty-two percent of Americans responding to an online survey said they think it's easier to do their own taxes than it is to figure out how to eat healthfully. Men, people lacking a college degree, overweight or obese adults, and people with high blood pressure, heart disease, or high cholesterol were most likely to say they find it harder to know what foods they should or should not be eating.  Although they consider themselves to be in good health, only about one in four people said their diet is extremely or very healthful, while about one in five rated their diet as not at all or not too healthful. Men said they were more challenged by consistently eating a healthful diet (60%) than they were by remaining physically active (40%). The opposite was true for women... Read more about this survey here

Chocolate Is Good for the Heart and Brain

The results of a new study show that chocolate may be good for your heart and your brain.  British investigators are reporting that individuals who ate the most chocolate had a 37% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 29% lower risk of stroke compared with individuals who ate the least amount of chocolate.

Higher levels of chocolate consumption compared with the lowest levels of chocolate consumption reduced the risk of any cardiovascular disease 37% and stroke 29%. There was no association between chocolate consumption and the risk of heart failure, and no association on the incidence of diabetes in women. Click here for more details about the study.

Editor’s Note: While this may be good news for those of us who like chocolate, it seems doubtful that this will be the last word on this topic. What about an association between chocolate consumption and weight gain, with associated cardiovascular or other health related complications? Let’s not forget that, for example, one popular chocolate bar contains 266 calories. That’s nothing to snicker at!

Sugary drinks are associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) as well as some adverse changes in lipids, inflammatory factors, and leptin. Even a moderate amount of sugary beverage consumption —  about one can of soda every day — is associated with a significant 20% increased risk of heart disease. For more on this study, click here

Sugary Drinks Increase Heart Attack Risk

Learning how to eat Mediterranean-style may help people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) improve their symptoms. A new study shows that participants felt some relief of their pain and symptoms after switching to the Mediterranean diet. But there's a hitch....
Click here to read more of the study

Mediterranean Diet Relieves Symptoms of Arthritis

Apple Juice May Boost Memory

An apple (or two) a day may help keep Alzheimer's away -- and fight the effects of aging on the brain. A new study shows drinking apple juice may improve memory by preventing the decline of an essential neurotransmitter...  click here to read the news release

Green tea, adequate sleep and goal setting are all important aspects of a good diet. New Research links sleep deprivation with increased hunger and a new report indicates that most dieters set unrealistic goals. Green tea has long been known to have appetite suppressing properties. Click here to read the details

Green Tea, Sleep and Goal Setting: all part of a good diet

Adherence to diet for one year, not the specific diet plan, is the most important determinant of weight loss and reduction of cardiovascular risk, according to this study. See the summary here

All Diets Work For Those Who Adhere To The Regimen

Fatty acid tied to depression and inflammation

The imbalance of fatty acids in the typical American diet could be associated with the sharp increase in heart disease and... Click for more

What are Micronutrients?

What are they good for and in what kinds of foods can I get them? The link below will connect you to an excellent web site where you can get these and other questions answered. Take me to the Linus Pauling Research Institute at the University of Oregon

What is the vitamin content of various fruits? Download a reference chart. And see here the recommendations for how much vitamin to take in.

Vitamin Content of Fruits?