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DIET DETECTIVE

Nutrition advice: News from diet and nutrition studies

Monday, October 22, 2012 - 12:01 am

More news from the diet and nutrition front:

Want more self-control?

While the debate on whether or not losing and maintaining weight loss is about increased willpower continues, researchers have discovered a way to boost self-control.

A study reported in the Journal of Consumer Research has found that “consumers who successfully control their diets eat fewer unhealthy foods because they are satisfied sooner.” Researchers also found that “many consumers with poor self-control were able to establish greater control when they paid close attention to the quantities of unhealthy foods they consumed, because simply paying attention made them more quickly satisfied.”

In fact, when the researchers asked participants to actually count how many times they swallowed an unhealthy snack, the participants were satisfied more quickly and demonstrated greater self-control. Monitoring how much they ate made those with low self-control behave like those with high self-control, another reason to keep some sort of detailed food diary and track food intake specifically.

One important side note: The researchers caution that “Dieters should focus on the quantity of unhealthy foods but not the quantity of healthy foods. Monitoring healthy foods could actually be counterproductive to the goal of eating a healthier diet.”

Cherries fight gout (inflammation disease)

According to research reported in Arthritis & Rheumatism, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), eating cherries can reduce gout attacks by 35 percent.

Approximately 8.3 million adults in the United States suffer with gout, described in the journal as “an inflammatory arthritis triggered by a crystallization of uric acid within the joints that causes excruciating pain and swelling.”

The study found that the “gout flare risk continued to decrease with increasing cherry consumption, up to three servings over two days.” A serving of cherries is 10 to 12 cherries. In addition, the study found that cherry extract was also effective.

Working out in your 30s, 40s and 50s (midlife) can help reduce chronic disease

Do you think it's too late to make changes and start exercising? Think again.

According to researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center and The Cooper Institute, starting a fitness regimen even in middle age can help to reduce chronic disease (diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, etc.) at end of life.

So, it's not just that exercise helps you live longer, the positive results continue until the end of life, meaning that the last five years will be better.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's exercise recommendations are: 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week and weight training muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) two or more days a week.

Exercise also protects against the daily grind

Not only does exercise help you live better in the later years of your life, it can also help reduce the emotional toll of life's daily grind.

According a study by kinesiology researchers at the University of Maryland School of Public Health that was published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, moderate exercise may help you to handle anxiety and stress for an extended period of time, meaning that the benefits continue even after your workout is finished.

Participants were told to exercise for 30 minutes or to sit quietly. At first, both were equally effective at reducing anxiety levels. However, once the participants were emotionally stimulated, the “anxiety levels of those who had simply rested went back up to their initial levels, whereas those who had exercised maintained their reduced anxiety levels.”

Weight gain is not just for freshmen college students

It's not just the freshman 15 that you need to worry about if you're planning on attending college; the entire four years add pounds to your waistline.

In fact, research appearing in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism found that 70 percent of college students who participated in the study gained almost 12 pounds over the four years.

According to the researchers, “College and university students are often living away from home; they do not have a parent grocery shopping or preparing food for them.” See tips for avoiding college weight gain here: www.kcby.com/news/health/129895688.html.

Video games better than TV? Should you let your kids play?

A very small study reported in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine demonstrated that “active video gaming” (key word “active,” including games that involved dancing or boxing) “increased heart rate, oxygen uptake and energy expenditure.”

In another study completed at the University of Montreal, the researchers looked at “exergames,” including Dance Dance Revolution and Wii Sports, and found that teenagers who participated in these games could achieve all the recommended activity levels. So if your kids insist on playing video games, try to encourage them to play active ones.

Does exercise encourage you to eat more? Are you working up an appetite?

Not necessarily. Research from Brigham Young University reported in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that performing 45 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise in the morning actually reduced a person's motivation for food.

The researchers also found that the 45-minute exercise bout resulted in an increase in total physical activity that day.

Charles Stuart Platkin is a nutrition and public health advocate and founder of DietDetective.com.