14-year-old McDonald’s hamburger shows no signs of decay – This is a picture of a McDonald’s hamburger that its owner, David Whipple, says is 14 years old but that shows almost now signs of decay. And two of those years were spent forgotten in his coat pocket! Here’s the entire bizarre story, including more pictures. Whipple says he shows it to his grandchildren to ... – Craig • 1
How a guy who was hooked on takeout learned to love cooking at home – Over on Lifehacker there’s a good post by Jeffrey Bunn on how he was able to break his addiction to takeout food and start cooking at home. He found it was easier than he expected, saved him time and also saved him a lot of money: “Simply eating takeout food for lunch each workday can ... – Craig • 0
The fork, which looks and feels a little like an electric toothbrush, is designed to vibrate in your mouth if you take bites too frequently. It uploads its info to an app via Bluetooth or to your laptop via USB, giving you a nice graph of the number of bites you took over time during each meal.
The concept is that the slower you eat the more full you’ll feel, and that means you’ll consume less food and therefore lose weight. It’s an idea that’s backed up by some research. So does it work?
The Mashable reviewer found that he was already eating more slowly than the HAPIfork’s default setting of 10 seconds between bites, so it wasn’t as effective as it could be. His conclusion was that “while the device works as advertised, it may require some customization on the user’s part to change any habits.”
The Engadget reviewer found it to be more effective: “I, on the other hand, felt the feedback on first bite — and second, and third. It’s a mild vibration — something like the feeling you get when your phone vibrates through a coat pocket — but it’s enough to trigger a reaction. By the time I was four bites in, I was making a conscious effort to keep the buzz at bay and, as a result, chewing significantly more before swallowing.”
The HAPIfork team is hoping to raise $100,000 via a Kickstarter campaign that’s offering the forks at $89 apiece.
Two pieces of technology that helped a GeekDad lose weight – Over on Wired.com’s site GeekDad, Ryan Carlson talks about how using MyFitnessPal and the BodyMedia LINK has helped him live a healthier life. “Between my on-body monitoring device and calorie counting App I’ve been able to be more aware of my intake and activity (an inactivity). This awareness has led to changes in my habits because ... – Craig • 0
The otherwise innocuous pistachio shell is a great example of the counterintuitive way human beings consume food. While we think the amount of food we eat is driven primarily by hunger, that’s rarely the case. In reality, the amount of food we consume is usually dictated by the food environment around us.
For instance, research has repeatedly shown that we’ll eat more food regardless of how hungry we are if more food is put in front of us. And a study called “The Effect of Pistachio Shells As a Visual Cue In Reducing Caloric Consumption” demonstrates that simply seeing the remains of our food can have an impact on how much we’ll eat. Here’s how it worked:
The subjects were told they were going to evaluate a variety of brands of pistachios and were surveyed at the end of each day to determine their fullness and satisfaction. The subjects were offered pistachios on their desks for an 8-h period on two separate days and were able to consume the pistachios at their leisure during that time. Subjects began each day with a sixteen ounce bowl filled with four ounces of pistachios in the shell. They were also provided with a second sixteen ounce bowl, in which they were instructed to place the empty shells from the pistachios they consumed. Every 2 h throughout the day pistachios were added in two ounce increments. In condition one, the shells remained in the bowls until the end of the day, whereas in condition two, the shell bowls were emptied every 2 h throughout the day.
At the end of the day both groups reported being equally full and satisfied by their allotment of pistachios. However, the group that kept the empty shells in front of them ate 18 percent fewer pistachios than the other group. The study concluded that having a visual cue of how much they’d eaten (in the form of empty shells) is what made the difference.
This coincides with a similar study at Cornell University where two groups of people were given chicken wings to eat. For one group, the discarded bones from consumed wings were removed from the table right away, while in the other group the bones were left on the table in plain view. By the end of the meal the second group had eaten 27 percent fewer wings.
“The results suggest that people restrict their consumption when evidence of food consumed is available to signal how much food they have eaten,” said Brian Wansink, the John S. Dyson Professor of Marketing and of Applied Economics at Cornell.
In practical terms, you can apply the “pistachio effect” to other things as well. If you’re eating food that comes in a wrapper, don’t throw the empty wrappers away until after you’re done eating so they’ll help you keep track of how much you’ve eaten. At big social settings where there might be lots of hours d’oeuvre offerings, don’t clean your plate to make room for more goodies. And if you’re eating food buffet style, don’t get a fresh plate to go back for seconds. Keep your original plate with you to remind yourself of what you’ve already had. The result is that you’ll eat less but still feel satisfied.
A friend of mine just texted me this picture of the DIY standing desk he’s using while traveling in England. It’s a simple but easy trick to make you’re life a little healthier when you’re on the road.
A fascinating new survey conducted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine showed that when the number of calories for menu items was translated into physical activity, people made better eating decisions. To put that in plain English, when people saw they’d have to walk 2.6 miles to burn off the burger they were ordering, they ordered less food.
In the survey researchers tested four label options: one listed just the food item, one listed the food and the number of calories it contained, one listed food, calories and the equivalent walking distance for the those calories, and the last one listed food, calories and the amount of walking time the calories equaled (see image above). Here’s what happened:
People who viewed the menu without nutritional information ordered a meal totaling 1,020 calories, on average, significantly more than the average 826 calories ordered by those who viewed menus that included information about walking-distance. Study participants ordered meals adding up to averages of 927 calories and 916 calories from menus with only calorie information or calorie information plus minutes walking, respectively, although the differences between these two totals were not statistically significant.
The researchers next want to translate this survey into a real world setting to see what kind of results they’d achieve. This is similar to a red, yellow green labeling system that was successfully tested a while back that also helped people eat better.
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While researching his new book Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Michael Moss made an interesting discovery: Many of the scientists and executives who create fast food won’t eat it themselves. Why? Because they know how unhealthy it is.
Here’s a telling excerpt from an interview Moss just did with Heathland describing what he found out:
Were you surprised by how many scientists and food company executives avoid their own products?
It was everything from a former top scientist at Kraft saying he used to maintain his weight by jogging, and then he blew out his knee and couldn’t exercise, his solution was to avoid sugar and all caloric drinks, including all the Kool-Aid and sugary drinks that Kraft makes. It ranged from him to the former top scientist at Frito Lay. I spent days at his house going over documents relating to his efforts at Frito Lay to push the company to cut back on salt. He served me plain, cooked oatmeal and raw asparagus for lunch. We toured his kitchen, and he did not have one single processed food product in his cupboards or refrigerator.
The scientists and executives were pretty honest about their roles in creating unhealthy food. Did you get the impression they felt guilty about their products?
One reason they don’t eat their own products, is that they know better. They know about the addictive properties of sugar, salt and fat. As insiders, they know too much. I think a lot of them have come to feel badly. But not blaming themselves necessarily, because the older ones invented a number of these products back in the days when dependency on them was much lower. In the 70s and the 80s for example, we were eating more home cooked meals from scratch and eating more mindfully. As society evolved and we became more dependent on these conveniences, these people came to see their work with real misgivings. The inventor of the Lunchables, Bob Drane, wishes mightily that the nutritional aspects of that product could’ve been made better. He is still hoping it will be made better. They came to have regrets about their work in the context of the health effects their products seem to have that go hand-in-hand with society’s increasing demand of their products.
The health advocacy organization Center for Science in the Public Interest is petitioning the FDA to limit the amount of sugar in soft drinks ”to safe levels consistent with authoritative recommendations.” Its position is that the quantity of sugar manufacturers put in soft drinks has become so large that it’s basically poisoning people.
“As currently formulated, Coke, Pepsi, and other sugar-based drinks are unsafe for regular human consumption,” said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson. “Like a slow-acting but ruthlessly efficient bioweapon, sugar drinks cause obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. The FDA should require the beverage industry to re-engineer their sugary products over several years, making them safer for people to consume, and less conducive to disease.”
Yes, that sounds extreme when you first read it (and if you’ve seen statements by the CSPI before you’ll notice they like to use a little shock value to draw attention to health issues). However, their point is actually a valid one. As Yale’s Dr. David Katz has pointed out, sugar is one of many substance where the “dose makes the poison.”
The notion that sugar is a “poison” was established when a lecture by Dr. Robert Lustig espousing that view went viral.
While the construction of alarming tables and figures demonstrating the calamitous effects of sugar (and specifically, fructose — Dr. Lustig’s particular nemesis) can be defended with legitimate science, it is nonetheless something of a distortion. Even more calamitous pathways could be mapped out for oxygen, which in excess is not just highly toxic, but lethal in rather short order. Oxygen, per se, is not poison of course. The dose makes the poison.
So, too, for sugar — including fructose. Our excessive consumption of it is the poison.
Basically what Katz and the CSPI are saying is that a modest amount of sugar isn’t going to harm anyone, but many people are currently eating (or drinking) way too much of it. The CSPI illustrates this by pointing out that while the American Heart Association recommends that women take in no more than 6 grams of added sugar a day and men no more than 9 grams, one sweetened 20-ounce soda contains 15 grams of sugar, far more than either recommendation. And that’s causing all sorts of health problems.
The bottom line for Weighthackers is that, because food companies are loading up their products with sugar so they can sell more of them and not because they’re good for you, it’s up to you to be aware of what’s in the things you’re eating and drinking. If you like soda, consider getting something like a Sodastream so you, not Coke or Pepsi, can decide what goes in your drink. That way you can keep your sugar intake under bioweapon levels.
Did you know that comic book legend Stan Lee always wrote on a standing desk? This is a picture of him in the 1950s banging out a comic book on his typewriter and homemade standing solution. The caption reads: “Always wrote standing up—good for the figure—and always faced the sun—good for the suntan!”
Stan knew long ago what people like university professor John D. Buckley are now finding out: that standing desks can give you more energy and help you lose weight. Stan also regularly walked up the stairs to his offices at Marvel instead of taking the elevator, something the 90 year old credits with keeping him in good health.
I use a standing desk and a treadmill desk and it’s helped me lose more than 65lbs. Excelsior!
All right Weighthackers, I know you were probably wondering today “would a small snack satiate me just as much as a larger one?” Well you’re in luck, because not only do I have an answer for you, it’s an answer you’re going to like.
The smart folks at Cornell University did some research and found out that, yes, small snacks are indeed as filling as large ones. Here’s a summary of what they learned (I added the underlines for emphasis):
The study found that, as expected, portion size has a direct impact on calorie intake – but it also discovered that portion size did not have a direct impact on the level of satisfaction of the person eating the snack. Researchers came to these conclusions after testing 104 adults, who were given large and small portions of the same snack. Those who ate large portions consumed 77 percent more calories than those who ate small portions. Yet, despite consuming substantially more calories, hunger pangs of people eating large portions decreased by the same amount as those eating small portions. In both conditions, craving tendencies were significantly decreased 15 minutes after eating.
This is another Weight Hack I use every day myself. Back when I was 65lbs heavier than I am today, I’d happily have eaten a standard size Hershey’s chocolate bar as a snack, which weighs in at 210 calories and has 24 grams of sugar (that’s the same as 4 packets of sugar…ugh). Now I buy individual squares of high-end dark chocolate (from Le Maison du Chocolat if you must know) and have one of those instead. I’m just as satisfied and I’m only eating about 30 calories, which makes it win-win in my book. And oh, I’m also 65lbs lighter!
So next time you go for your usual snack, try only eating half of it and then put the other half out of sight. If you wait 15 minutes, there’s a pretty good chance you won’t want the rest.
Bonus Weight Hack: You can also try drinking a big glass of water with your half-snack, which will make you feel even more full.
So Weighthackers, we all know that what we eat and how much we eat impacts our weight. Now there’s evidence that when we eat might also play a major role in how much weight we can lose, according to this study from Spain that followed 420 people over the course of 20 weeks.
Researchers divided the study participants into two groups: early-eaters who ate their lunch before 3 p.m. and late-eaters who (you guessed it) ate after 3 p.m. They used lunch because in Spain that’s the largest meal of the day, accounting for about 40% of a person’s average daily caloric intake.
Even though both groups consumed the same amount of calories each day, the late-eaters “lost significantly less weight than early-eaters, and displayed a much slower rate of weight-loss.” The late-eaters also ate less for breakfast, or in some cases nothing at all, and we already know that breakfast is an important meal of the day for those who want to lose weight.
“This study emphasizes that the timing of food intake itself may play a significant role in weight regulation” explains Marta Garaulet, PhD, professor of Physiology at the University of Murcia Spain, and lead author of the study. “Novel therapeutic strategies should incorporate not only the caloric intake and macronutrient distribution, as it is classically done, but also the timing of food.”
Interestingly, it didn’t seem to matter when people ate smaller meals or snacks, just what the timing of their main meal was.
Although this is anecdotal, I long ago made a conscious effort to shift the bulk of my eating earlier in the day, and for me it really paid off. I now eat a bigger breakfast than I used to (that also has a significant amount of protein in it) and I eat it as soon as I get up. I switched to a having slightly bigger lunch and then turned dinner into a lighter meal, with no snacking after that. On that schedule I found I naturally felt more full throughout the day and as a consequence ate less overall. Give it a try!
Good news Weighthackers! You already know that fidgeting more can help you lose weight, but now new research out of Oregon State University says that simple things like doing chores and taking the stairs instead of the escalator can be just as beneficial to you as going to the gym. The study looked at 6,000 people nationwide and found that even activities that take only a minute or two count toward your health as long as you end up being active for at least 30 minutes in total by the end of the day.
“Our results suggest that engaging in an active lifestyle approach, compared to a structured exercise approach, may be just as beneficial in improving various health outcomes,” said Paul Loprinzi, lead author of the study. “We encourage people to seek out opportunities to be active when the choice is available. For example, rather than sitting while talking on the phone, use this opportunity to get in some activity by pacing around while talking.”
People who did so-called “short bout” movements improved their blood pressure, cholesterol and waist circumference, and were less at risk for developing metabolic syndrome (which is basically a slew of health-related problems that overweight people experience). The study also suggests that incorporating short bout movement might be more beneficial than going to the gym in the long run since it’s easier to fit into your existing lifestyle and doesn’t cost anything, so you’re more likely to keep at it.
If this sounds like something you want to do, I suggest getting a movement tracker like one of the ones in this list to help you out. Knowing how much you move each day can help you see if you need to add something new to your routine (like parking further away from the entrance to your job so you walk more) to get more activity in, and it can also inspire you to reach specific goals. For instance, thanks to my Fitbit I know today is my 151st day in a row of walking 10,000 steps or more, which makes me more likely to take 10,000 steps again tomorrow.
Putting down your utensils between bites and allowing yourself an afternoon snack only if you’ve first eaten a piece of fruit are two small but significant changes that helped hundreds of people lose weight. That’s what a new report has to say about the National Mindless Eating Challenge, a Web-based healthy eating and weight loss program that was made available to the public from 2006-2009.
The program was set up to see if “small behavioral and environmental changes based on simple heuristics may have the best chance to lead to sustainable habit changes over time.” The people who reported adhering to the program at least 25 days a month lost an average of 2lbs a month. Although that might not seem like, much, over the course of the year that would add up to 24lbs without much effort.
Another suggestion that helped people lose weight was “Any time you think you might eat when you’re not hungry, go ahead and do so, but only if you first say (out loud): “I’m not hungry, but I’m going to eat this anyway”.” I imagine most people didn’t do that one in public restaurants though.
Check out the link above to the full report for more tips.
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