obesity

Say something once, why say it again?

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Because it’s important! Naturally, I’m talking about breakfast. And yes, I may have just referenced the Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer.” Why not?

one of my favorite breakfasts—oatmeal in an almost-empty peanut butter jar

As a dietitian-in-training, it’s basically my (unpaid) job to tell people to eat some f***ing breakfast, but it’s for good reason. Studies have repeatedly shown that eating a morning meal helps rev the metabolism and boost work and school performance. It’s also been shown that eating breakfast can help prevent overeating later in the day.

A new study using MRI brain scans showed that when participants skipped breakfast, they had a variation in the pattern of activity in their orbitofrontal cortex, an area of the brain linked to the reward value and pleasantness of food. Pictures of high-calorie foods were shown to trigger that area, suggesting that those who wait until later in the day to eat may be more susceptible to cravings for unhealthy items.

Nothing new, but still interesting, no?

Do you eat breakfast? Why or why not? If you do, what are some of your favorite breakfast foods? 

What Bloomberg’s “Soda Ban” Could Mean for your Health

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Last Thursday, NYC became the first US city to pass a (very controversial) ban on sodas larger than 16 ounces. The folks over at EveryDay Health shared this info gram with me about what it could mean for your health.

NYC makes soda ban official

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photo courtesy of the Associated Press

On Thursday, New York City became the first in the country to ban the sale of large sugar-sweetened beverages. This is its latest controversial attempt to curb the rise of obesity and its related health problems, and will go into effect in March of 2013.

By an 8-0 vote with one abstention, the city health board outlawed sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces in many locations they are sold, with the exception of groceries and convenience stores. Diet sodas are not included. Violators of the ban face a $200 fine.

Cue the critics…

While I understand the criticisms of the ban, it’s still possible to purchase these items—you might just have to walk a few extra blocks. Big freaking deal. I think it’s ballsy and, though I question its effectiveness, I’m glad to see a city take the lead. Someone’s got to be first to give something new a shot.

What do you think of the ban? 

The Power of Suggestion

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ImageEvery day at lunch, I have a cup of tea (usually green). Interns get free tea, coffee, and fountain drinks, and I definitely take advantage. I don’t know why I never noticed this before, but yesterday, I was looking at the wrapping and got kind of annoyed. Why does the freaking tea wrapper have to include sweetening the tea in the preparation instructions? It really doesn’t have to be sweet to be enjoyable, folks!

What’s the most annoying thing you’ve seen on a food wrapper or package lately? 

Cancer group calls for study on sugary drinks, obesity

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As reported earlier this week, the American Cancer Society is urging the Surgeon General to conduct a large-scale study of the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages on consumer health, highlighting the role these types of beverages play in the nation’s obesity crisis and the need for an action plan. The proposed study is being compared to the U.S. top doctor’s landmark report on the dangers of smoking that came out in 1964.

“An unbiased and comprehensive report on the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages could have a major impact on the public’s consciousness and perhaps begin to change the direction of public behavior in their choices of food and drinks,” American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network wrote.
What you like to see a major study on the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages on public health? What do you expect the findings would be? 

Burger King Unveils Bacon Sundae

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Burger King/AP

Oh dear. The bacon sundae is real and coming to a Burger King near you. Starting today and through September 3rd, you can purchase this 510-calorie sundae, which includes vanilla soft serve topped with fudge, caramel, bacon crumbles and a piece of bacon and—oh yeah—18 grams of fat and 61 grams of sugar. Good times for your arteries and blood glucose. My pancreas is crying just thinking about it.

What do you think of Burger King’s new bacon sundae? 

Cold-Activated Brown Fat May Help Fight Obesity

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brown fat

Have you heard of brown fat—aka “good” fat? Naturally present in humans (particularly infants), brown fat consumes calories to generate heat. The catch? Researchers are still looking for a way to activate it in the body. Several studies have shown that it can be activated by cold exposure in a process called non-shivering thermogenesis, and now a recent study suggests that exposure to cold temperatures may indeed flip the switch.

Researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center tested 10 study subjects in three ways. They were each separately given injections of ephedrine (which has been used as a weight-loss drug), given injections of saline as a control, and made to wear “cooling vests” that had water cooled to 57 degrees pumped into them. After each intervention, the brown fat activity was measured using PET/CT scans.

Though brown fat activity was the same after the ephedrine and saline injections, after wearing the cooling vests for two hours, subjects’ brown fat activity was significantly stimulated.

Aaron Cypess, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant investigator and staff physician at Joslin and lead author of the study, noted that although both interventions —ephedrine injections and the cooling vests—did result in the same number of calories being burned, the stimulation in brown fat activity was only noted after wearing the vest.

Though the study was small, the results are encouraging and may offer a glimpse into a method of helping prevent or reverse obesity. Researchers hope that with these results, cooling vests and drugs that mimic the effects may not be too far off in the future.

I can’t help but wonder what would happen if someone wore a cooling vest at the same time as a pair of that fat-burning underwear from Japan…Sounds confusing, no?

Would you wear weight-loss clothing?