Category Archives: junk food

Craving junk food after a sleepless night?

I am a big believer in getting a good night’s sleep. When I was in the working world I thought of sleep as an unwelcome interruption in my life. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Sleep is a wonderful chance for the brain to reboot and your body to repair any physical mishaps. To learn more about the value of sleep please check out my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep?

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Sleep-deprived subjects gobbled doughnuts and potato chips
Brain zeroes in on smells of energy-rich food
After sleepless night, your ‘tired’ nose fails to talk to brain regions directing food choices

When you’re sleep-deprived, you tend to reach for doughnuts, fries and pizza. A new Northwestern Medicine study has figured out why you crave more calorie-dense, high-fat foods after a sleepless night — and how to help thwart those unhealthy choices. Continue reading

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Strategies to curb poor food choices

You  can’t outrun a bad diet. Words to live by. And, why not start early, like with our kids.

two people holding chips and fried chicken

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What’s the best way to prevent children from overloading on bad food choices? Flinders University in Adelaide South Australia researchers have found that promoting substitution is the answer to turn around children’s excessive consumption of nutrient-poor foods and beverages – resulting in nutritional benefits that are even better than reducing intake of these discretionary food and drink choices.

Flinders University researchers studied the impact on the energy and nutrient intakes of more than 2000 Australian 2- to 18-year-olds through simulations of three dietary strategies. Continue reading

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Filed under junk food, junk food calories, nutrients, nutrition, vegetables, whole grains

Sleep loss linked to late time snacking, junk food cravings, obesity, diabetes

Nighttime snacking and junk food cravings may contribute to unhealthy eating behaviors and represent a potential link between poor sleep and obesity, according to the University of Arizona Health Sciences.

Nighttime snacking and junk food cravings may contribute to unhealthy eating behaviors and represent a potential link between poor sleep and obesity, a study by University of Arizona Health Sciences sleep researchers stated.

close up photography of woman sleeping

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The study was conducted via a nationwide, phone-based survey of 3,105 adults from 23 U.S. metropolitan areas. Participants were asked if they regularly consumed a nighttime snack and whether lack of sleep led them to crave junk food. They also were asked about their sleep quality and existing health problems. Continue reading

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Filed under circadian cycles, diabetes, good night's sleep, junk food, obesity, sleep, sleep deprivation, Snacking

Eating Triggers Endorphin Release in the Brain

If we want to get control of our weight and our health we clearly need to engage our brain before we start eating because the food’s taste impacts our appetite and desire for more. As I wrote in the introduction to this blog nearly 10 years ago. “everything you eat and drink becomes a part of you …”

Recent results obtained by Finnish researchers from Turku PET Centre have revealed that eating leads to widespread opioid release in the brain, likely signalling feelings of satiety and pleasure.

Eating a delicious pizza led to significant increase of pleasant feelings, whereas consumption of calorie-matched nutritional drink did not. However, both types of meals induced significant release of endogenous opioids in the brain.

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Opioids are associated with pleasure and euphoria. The study revealed that a significant amount of endorphins is released in the entire brain after eating the pizza and, surprisingly, even more are released after the consumption of the tasteless nutritional drink. The magnitude of the opioid release was independent of the pleasure associated with eating. According to the researchers, it is likely that the endogenous opioid system regulates both feelings of pleasure and satiety.

– The opioid system regulates eating and appetite, and we have previously found that its dysfunctions are a hallmark of morbid obesity. The present results suggest that overeating may continuously overstimulate the opioid system, thus directly contributing to development of obesity. These findings open new opportunities for treating overeating and the development of obesity, says Professor Lauri Nummenmaa from Turku PET Centre.

– It was a surprise that endorphins are released in the entire brain and that the nutritional drink had a larger impact. This creates a basis for future research and hopefully we will find ways to study and describe the development and predictors of addiction, obesity and eating disorders, says Researcher, M.D., PhD. Jetro Tuulari.

The study was conducted using positron emission tomography (PET). The participants were injected with a radioactive compound binding to their brain’s opioid receptors. Radioactivity in the brain was measured three times with the PET camera: after a palatable meal (pizza), after a non-palatable meal (liquid meal) and after an overnight fast.

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Filed under calories, junk food, junk food calories, pizza

How Canada battles obesity

University of Toronto nutritional scientists are leading a study with national experts calling on the Canadian government to outlaw junk food marketing to children, impose stricter limits on unhealthy nutrients added to foods, and impose a “sugary drink tax.”

Professor Mary L’Abbé, chair of the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Banting postdoctoral fellow Lana Vanderlee, made the recommendations in a newly released report, called the Food-EPI Study, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. In it, they examined Canada’s progress on obesity-curbing measures compared with other countries.

They found that Canada performed well on some important measures, such as political leadership to support healthy eating, and transparency in developing food policies (which if secretive can lead to undue influence by the food industry). (My emphasis.)

For some important areas where Canada trails its peers, Health Canada has recently announced new policies to address these issues. However, the authors say Canada still has work to do: there are a number of areas where there are almost no policies or programs at any level of government.

Despite the good news, there were notable disparities between provinces, with Quebec having the most progressive food policies, including a restriction of junk-food marketing to children, and some other provinces failing to do as much to protect residents. Even the foods and drinks that can be sold in schools varied across provinces and territories. Overall, Ontario fared roughly in the middle of the pack.

“Even if we’re meeting best practices in some areas, we shouldn’t get complacent,” says Vanderlee. “Canada doesn’t have taxes on unhealthy foods, such as sugary drinks, even though the evidence from other countries suggests these work. If we don’t move on this front, we’re going to fall behind.”

Mexico, which has some of the world’s highest child obesity rates, is seeing success with a soda tax, and other countries are following suit, she says. The UK is on the verge of implementing such a tax, and South Africa just announced one.

“Most of the evidence indicates that sugary drinks are among the biggest contributors to sugar consumption and play an important role in weight gain,” she says. “You don’t get as full when you’re drinking your calories and it’s easy to consume a lot of sugar in a short time.” (My emphasis.) Continue reading

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Filed under chronic disease, junk food, junk food calories, obesity

Junk Food Ads Sway Kids’ Preferences

We really do have to pay attention to what our kids are consuming, both visually and by mouth. Sadly, they can form habits and develop food preferences in their youth that will damage them their entire lives.

The fact that more than 80 pct of televised food ads are for unhealthy products is downright scary.

Tony

Our Better Health

Children under 8 most vulnerable to marketing’s effects, study says

Any parent who’s ever endured a whining child begging for that colorful box of cereal won’t be surprised by a new study’s findings: Children are more likely to eat junk food when they’ve seen ads for unhealthy foods and beverages.

The new review included 29 past studies. There were more than 6,000 children involved in those studies.

The researchers found that ads and other marketing for products high in sugar or salt have an immediate and major impact on youngsters. And children younger than age 8 might be most susceptible to junk food and beverage marketing, the study authors reported.

The findings show the influence that such ads can have on children, said lead author Behnam Sadeghirad, a doctoral student at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada.

tv watch

“This [review] shows that the extensive exposure kids have to marketing of unhealthy foods…

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Emotional Guide to a Healthy Diet – Infographic

This would be one of those one picture is worth a thousand words posts.
Check out my Page – What’s Wrong with Soft Drinks? for more.

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Tony

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McDonald’s – One Picture is Worth 1000 Words

This picture is one of those Pinterest gag posts that people put on their ‘Funny’ pin boards. An ironic juxtaposition of two billboards. The top one warning about childhood obesity and the lower one trumpeting that king of burgers – McDonald’s.

As the billboard says, “Don’t take it lightly.”

Obesity is not a joke. I don’t know how many times I have written “60 percent of us are overweight and 30 percent obese.” This is twice as many as 20 years ago. Even our children are getting fatter. Among young people, 15 percent of those ages 6 to 19 are seriously overweight. That’s nearly 9 million, triple the number of cancers that a person is vulnerable to.

 

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Also, a study published in 2013 by the National Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reported that the total number of knee replacement more than tripled between 1993 and 2009 more than tripled. They said the prevalence of overweight and obesity in the U.S. accounted for 95 percent of the higher demand for knee replacements, with younger patients affected to a greater degree.
So, if  you feel you ‘deserve a break today’ you might either miss McDonald’s or pick from their salad menu.
Tony

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Is There a Way to Control Your Cravings? – Infographic

I firmly believe there is. Knowledge can set you free.

As a former fat guy, I still often crave sugar as well as salty treats. I regularly snacked on chocolate and then potato chips when I was busy losing my battle of the bulge. Now I simply realize that I am doing myself no good by eating that good tasting stuff, but non-nutritious stuff. I understand the impact of those sugars, fats and salts on my body and choose not to cave to my cravings. As I wrote in How to lose weight – and keep it off, I know that everything I eat becomes a part of me.

If that doesn’t work for you, perhaps understanding the source of your craving might be the key. Check out this list I picked up on the web that shows what minerals you are really needing when you reach for the junk. Good luck!

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Tony

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Filed under cravings, junk food, Weight, weight control, weight loss

Weight Loss Hack – Calorie Cost of Junk Food – Infographic

It’s actually worse than this looks. As bad as these calorie costs are, they are computed for a 130 pound woman. If you are a 150 pound man add another 15 percent.

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Tony

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Sugar Overpowers Fat in Cravings Test

As a person who has battled his belt line over the years, I have overindulged in sweet treats like ice cream as well as fat treats like pizza. I know that each felt compelling at the time, but it turns out that sugar has more powerful impact on the brain’s pleasure centers than fat, according to a recent study published in the US National Library of Medicine.

Hostess Ho Ho's

Hostess Ho Ho’s

The New York Times picked it up and explained that it is the sugar and not the fat that primarily triggers the brain’s receptors.

“The new research tracked brain activity in more than 100 high school students as they drank chocolate-flavored milkshakes that were identical in calories but either high in sugar and low in fat, or vice versa. While both kinds of shakes lit up pleasure centers in the brain, those that were high in sugar did so far more effectively, firing up a food-reward network that plays a role in compulsive eating. Continue reading

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Filed under body fat, calories, chocolate, eating, fast food, fat, junk food, sugar, Weight, weight control, weight loss

What about Coca-Cola’s Anti-Obesity Ad?

Having written some strong words of warning on sugary soft drinks as well as chemical-laden diet soft drinks, not to mention the scourge of obesity, what to make of Coca-Cola’s Anti-Obesity ads?

Some facts first, 60 percent of us are overweight and 30 percent of us are outright obese. We have teenagers coming down with adult onset diabetes. We are the first generation of people starving ourselves to death in obese bodies.

We gain weight when we take in more calories than we burn off. The Center for Science in the Public Interest says that soda contributes six percent of the total calories in our diets. That is more than anything we eat or drink.

So soda is a major player in the obesity crisis.

I was not able to get a copy of the Coke ad to run with this post, but I did find this “Honest” version which carries the original video but has a fresh new voiceover. The source is listed as John Pemberton which by no small coincidence happens to be the name of the pharmacist who invented Coca-Cola.

Back to the headline. What about Coke having an anti-obesity ad?

Why not? Anything that raises people’s awareness of the problem seems to be a step in the right direction. I don’t think the coke ad will encourage people to drink more of it. I certainly hope not.

Here is a nice CNN discussion on it.

To read more on the nature of empty calories and junk food check out my posts A Love Letter to Hostess Ho Ho’s and Twinkies – NOT also What are The Dangers of a Big Waistline?

Tony

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Filed under Center for Science in the Public Interest, Coca-Cola, fat, fat kids, healthy living, junk food, obesity, Weight, weight control, weight loss

How Many Calories in Boston Market’s New Ribs?

Boston Market has introduced a new meal this week in the form of BBQ Ribs. The firm considers it a natural progression in the form of a ‘comfort food’ that goes with their chicken. Lots of firms offer chicken and ribs. However, Boston Market does not have fryers in their restaurants and I think most chicken and rib joints sell fried chicken along with ribs. Boston Market has specialized in the healthier oven-cooked chicken. I wonder if there may be more of a gap between the ribs and chicken than they envision.

I confess that I have a soft spot for Boston Market, having enjoyed a lot of tasty and pretty healthy meals there. When I took care of my aunt with Alzheimer’s I would pick up a turkey dinner from Boston Market for us to dine on at Thanksgiving.

The firm also boasts about 100 combinations of meals ‘under 500 calories,’ so it is possible to eat there reasonably.

Now comes the BBQ ribs. Not so healthy. Boston Market offers a half rack and a quarter rack.

boston-market-ribs-and-chicken-promo

Here is the nutritional breakdown for the half rack from their website:

The half rack has
Calories 1180
Total Fat 74 Grams
Saturated Fat 29 Grams
Cholesterol 215 mg
Carbohydrates 67 Grams
Sodium 3150 mg
Sugar 58 Grams
Fiber 2 Grams
Protein 65 grams

The calories come to around half of a normal person’s plus 2000 calories per day budget. Not horrible, but you will need to watch your consumption the rest of the day.

That is a lot of fat and saturated fat. More than you need and more than recommended for a day’s consumption.

Sodium is another problem. The daily recommendation is around 2300 mg, but if you are over 50 it drops to 1500, so this is double.

The sugar at 58 grams falls just short of 12 teaspoons full. There are 4.2 grams of sugar per teaspoon.

You will be getting pretty much your entire protein allowance with the 65 grams. Might be a digestion problem, but it is all the protein the average adult needs in one day.

Keep in mind that this calorie breakdown does not include any side orders of mashed potatoes and gravy or corn bread or a beverage, so you will likely be consuming at least half of the normal man’s 2000-2200 calorie per day budget by the time you finish.

Tony

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Filed under bbq ribs, Boston Market, fast food, fat, health, junk food, nutrition, portion control, portion size, salt, sodium, sugar, Weight

How Does Sugar Affect My Body? CSPI

Because most nutrition labels give the sugar content in grams, here is the translation:

Grams to teaspoons: There are 4.2 grams of sugar in one teaspoon.

SUGAR

In case it isn’t obvious to you in the section – 385 Calories consumed daily from added sugars…. It is the combination of the four exercises mentioned: walking, basketball, biking and jogging to burn off those 385 calories, not any single one of them.

You can take a very cool quiz on sugar right now. I posted it earlier this week.

Tony

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February 28, 2013 · 8:24 am

Baby Boomers Aging Badly

I always thought that boomers were busy running triathlons and skiing down the slopes these days. They are reported to have the longest life expectancy of any previous generation and exploit the latest medical technology, so why wouldn’t they be? I am talking about that 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964.

JAMA researchers found otherwise.

Alice Park writing in Time.com reports that boomers have “higher rates of hypertension, diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol than members of the previous generation.

Junk foods like these are part of the reason boomers are failing the most important test of all.

Junk foods like these are part of the reason boomers are failing the most important test of all.

“The revelation comes from data in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a national snapshot of health measures and behaviors conducted by the U.S. government. Dr. Dana King, a professor in family medicine at West Virginia University School of Medicine and his colleagues compared baby boomers aged 46 years to 64 years between 2007 and 2010 to similar aged Americans in 1988 to 1994. Overall, only 13% of baby boomers rated their health as ‘excellent’ while nearly three times as many, 32%, of those in the previous generation considered themselves in excellent health.” Continue reading

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Filed under aging, arterial plaque, arteries, baby boomers, blood pressure, body fat, calories, cancer, cardiovascular risk, childhood obesity, diabetes, Exercise, fast food, health, healthy eating, healthy living, heart, heart disease, heart problems, junk food, life challenges, living longer, Weight

Anti-Sugary Drinks Video Winners Announced

As regular readers know, I don’t drink sugary or diet soft drinks and consider them some of the most damaging junk foods available.

A Nashville family’s rap video is the winner of a contest aimed aimed at raising awareness of the harmful health effects of overconsumption of sugary drinks.  The winning video “Just Pour One Out” features an original rap song from the Sullivan family, inspired by 41-year-old stay-at-home dad Peter Sullivan’s personal struggle with soda consumption.

“I was surprised by how much the process changed my drinking habits,” Sullivan said of making the film.

Announced by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest in October 2012, the Pour One Out video contest invited the public to produce short videos demonstrating the pouring out of sugary drinks in a creative way.  Advertising pioneer Alex Bogusky joined CSPI staff in judging contest entries based on creativity, originality, and effectiveness of the health message.  CSPI offered a $1,000 prize for the winning film, and $500 and $250 prizes for the second- and third-place films.

The runner up video


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Filed under aging, body fat, calories, childhood obesity, diet soda, healthy eating, healthy living, hydration, junk food, men's health, obesity, Oleda Baker, sugary soft drinks, Weight