Tag Archives: pizza

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

Is Food an End or a Means for You? – Key Weight Loss Principle

I am nearing the end of my fourth year of blogging on health in general and weight loss in particular. In the beginning I had experienced a small amount of success, but the mental exercise of blogging on the subject sharpened my focus and really accelerated my progress. In 2010 I had my weight ‘down to’ 165 pounds which was my best weight in the past decade – down from over 220 pounds at my worst. So, I felt I had reason to feel good about myself.

Now, however, nearly four years later, I have my weight down to the low 150s. In addition, my cholesterol level is sub 200 with the key HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol) reading at 85. I have less than 17 percent body fat and my waistline is 31 inches, the same as it was in high school. My resting heart rate is below 50 beats per minute. Clearly I have progressed positively.

One serving of pasta -200 calories - is about the size of a tennis ball.

One serving of pasta -200 calories – is about the size of a tennis ball. This is 200 calories without sauce.

What changed? A couple of things. The first is that I became conscious of portion size and portion control. As I wrote in a previous post, I used to think a ‘serving’ of pasta was a plate full. WRONG. A serving is about the size of a  tennis ball which amounts to around 200 calories – without pasta sauce on it. So, when I was eating a plate full of pasta, I was probably packing away 800 to 1000 calories. No wonder I could never lose weight. I learned that you need to pay attention to how much you are eating. That may sound obvious, but it wasn’t for me.  I was more focused on the pleasure of the food than its function – to keep me healthy.

Moving on from serving sizes, the next most important concept I learned in writing this blog is that I was considering food as an end in itself. That is, if I were having pizza, I would eat my fill of it – for the simple pleasure of enjoying how good it tasted. More was better. This is a road map for overeating.

Now that I am aware of portion sizes and calorie counts, I still love the taste of pizza, but I consume it totally differently. I enjoy a slice or two and genuinely savor the taste while not overindulging in the quantity. The pizza has become a means to an end – satisfaction of my hunger and replenishing my body with energy stores. It is no longer an end in itself.

I think getting this concept straight in your head will help guide you to eating well and intelligently without the kind of overindulgence that put me over 220 pounds and has resulted in our having 60 per cent of us overweight and 30 per cent outright obese. Another 10 percent has Type 2 diabetes, a preventable and ruinous disease that stems from inactivity and poor nutrition.

Since I have begun looking on food in terms of what it can do for me as opposed to simply how good it tastes, I find myself eating a lot more intelligently. I include more salads in my diet as well as a full complement of nuts and seeds which are wonderful energy, protein and fat sources that don’t clog my arteries. Regarding artery clogging, I am eating a lot fewer burgers, fries and steaks these days, too. It all adds up to less weight and better health.

As I wrote on my page How to Lose Weight – and Keep it Off, everything you eat and drink becomes a part of you. If you think about it that way,  you might be more careful about what and how much you are eating.

Tony

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Filed under pasta, Weight

What are the Worst Junk Foods?

Pizza claims two spots by itself, according to RealAge.

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“Cheese and pizza are the No. 1 and No. 2 sources of artery-clogging saturated fat in the American diet. One slice of extra-cheesy pizza can contain as much as two-thirds of your daily saturated fat limit. Nutrition expert Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA, RD, CDN, author of Read It Before You Eat It, offers these tips to lighten up your pizza: Top it with veggies instead of pepperoni and sausage. While you’re at it, say “no” to breadsticks and “yes” to a side salad, and you’re on the way to preventing heart disease,” RealAge reported.

I thought those were some very good suggestions when ordering from the pizzeria regarding topping it with veggies instead of pepperoni and/or sausage. By all means dodge the breadsticks. Suggestions like that can take several hundred calories off the total, not to mention cutting down on the bad fats.

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Filed under calories, diabetes, heart, heart disease, heart problems, pizza, portion size, submarine sandwich, winter

Is it Bad to Eat Comfort Foods?

What are comfort foods? Wikipedia says, “Comfort food is food prepared traditionally, that may have a nostalgic or sentimental appeal, or simply provide an easy-to-eat, easy-to-digest meal rich in calories, nutrients, or both. Comfort foods may be foods that have a nostalgic element either to an individual or a specific culture.”

Comfort food is food that makes you feel good, for whatever reason. Clearly, one person’s comfort food is another one’s poison. It’s an emotional choice. I think it’s likely that junk foods will rate high on the comfort food list of most folks.

For me comfort foods include mac and cheese, burgers, fries and pizza. You can add your own to the list. But can we eat them if we want to control our weight?

This is a slice of Sbarro cheese pizza

I would like to single one comfort food out for this discussion. My favorite comfort food is pizza. Growing up, to go out for pizza was a special treat in a world far less affluent than now and my family was on the lower end of the economic curve. So, going out for pizza was truly a celebration type experience. The family was all together and were ‘out’ in a restaurant and someone brought food to our table. Also, I don’t know how much of this subjective, but I consider pizza to be absolutely delicious. Back when I had my weight problem, I ate pizza every week and lots of it at each sitting. It was a big contributor to my girth.
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Filed under calories, comfort foods, Weight

Chicago Pizza, a Great Temptation

Chicago is the home of deep-dish pizza. As someone who grew up in New York, I had never seen Chicago-style pizza before moving here in the late 1970s but I have fallen in love with it (although I still enjoy a New York thin slice when I’m back East).

Given all the stress in my office in recent days, I had started taking my team out for Friday lunches to relax a bit before our summer hours kicked in at the end of May.

I wrote a few weeks ago about our Italian beef odyssey. Our second trip was for Chicago deep dish pizza at Giordano’s, one of the many fine Chicago purveyors of the special pizza.

After eating two slices, with knife and fork as is customary here, I wondered what calorie damage I’d just done to myself. My usual go-to site for calorie count info, DietFacts.com, didn’t have Giordano’s listed. But I did find it on another site, MyFitnessPal.com.
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Filed under healthy eating, life challenges, men and healthy eating, portion size