Friday, October 28, 2016

How to Trick Your Mind into Eating Less

A young attractive woman holds a small plate full of fresh veggies.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
If you’re struggling with portion control, the following tips can help limit your food intake.

Brush Your Teeth After Every Meal

Brushing your teeth after every meal is a huge pain in the neck. And yet, that’s precisely the point. You’ll think twice about snacking throughout the day if you know you have to brush your teeth every single time. This tip is designed to limit you to eating only three meals a day.

Drink Water Before Each Meal

Believe it or not, often times when we feel hungry, we’re actually just thirsty. Drinking water before a meal automatically makes us feel fuller and prevents the bloated feeling we get when we overeat. Plus, drinking water before a meal helps your body digest food more easily.

Use Smaller Plates

By nature, we can’t help but want to fill empty spaces. That’s why we pile way too much food onto large plates. Using smaller plates tricks our mind into thinking there’s more food on the plate than there actually is.

Wait 20 Minutes Before Going Back for Seconds

Most of the time when we overeat, it’s because we didn’t give our body enough time to let us know that it’s full. It takes time for the body to process food and if we’re not patient, we’ll end up overstuffing ourselves. Waiting 20 minutes before grabbing seconds will help give your body the time it needs to digest what it’s been given.

Practice Mindful Eating

Mindful eating means focusing on the taste, texture, and smell of our food. It means taking the time to fully savor each bite. When we eat in front of the TV, it diverts our attention away from our food to whatever is happening on screen. It mutes the full signal that our body sends to us. A quick easy fix to this problem is to limit distractions while eating.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Fast Food Health Food

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Ever wonder why there hasn’t been a fast food restaurant that serves healthy and nutritious meals? I guess the closest thing we have to that would be Chipotle. But if you’re like most Americans, you can’t afford to spend upwards of $8 on lunch everyday. That’s why I’ve come up with a list of what I call, “fast food health food.”

All of the items that I list can be found at your local grocery store. They’re cheap, healthy, and require little to no effort to prepare.

Salad Kits

It’s not your fault that between work and your personal life, you don’t have a whole lot of time to spend on prepping salads. You have to buy all the veggies, wash them, slice them up, mix them together, and then put it all in a container to keep it fresh. This process dirties up a lot of dishes. Fortunately, the pre-packaged salad kits in your local supermarket do all the work for you. It’s cheaper than going out to eat and all you have to do is grab and go.

Frozen Organic Meals

People can talk about how unhealthy frozen food is all day. But you know what? Frozen organic meals are still a whole lot healthier than pizza, burgers, and fries (which is what people normally resort to when they’re feeling too lazy to cook). If you’re looking for some low-calorie, organic, non-GMO frozen meals, check out Amy’s.


Smoothies are a breakfast favorite of mine because of how fast they are to make. Additionally, they’re incredibly easy to consume and don’t dirty up a bunch of dishes. I use fresh bananas, frozen strawberries, and almond milk to make my smoothies. If I had to estimate how long it takes me to make, I’d say five minutes max.

Pre-Made Sandwich Wraps

Most grocery stores have a deli section that sells pre-made sandwiches and wraps. I can tell you right now that they’re a whole heck of a lot cheaper than going to Subway or Jimmy John’s. It’s nice too because you don’t have to buy all the ingredients individually. Much like the salad kits, all you have to do is grab and go.
What do you think of my idea of “fast food health food”? Do you think it’s helpful? Feel free to share any tips or tricks you have on convenient healthy eating.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Lack of Sleep May Be Responsible for Weight Gain

A close-up photo of a preschool girl eating at a table alongside her fellow classmates.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Have you been getting your recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night? If not, here’s a new reason to catch up on those z’s: a study published by the University of Colorado at Boulder shows that sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain.

In all fairness, the study was conducted on preschoolers (ages 3 and 4). But that doesn’t mean the results aren’t relevant to older age groups. The study revealed that sleep-deprived preschoolers ingested about 20% more calories than normal. The preschoolers also consumed 25% more sugar and 26% more carbohydrates.

The next day, the children were granted as much sleep as they wanted. Researchers found that on this “recovery day” the preschoolers’ sugar and carbohydrate consumption returned to normal. However, they still ingested 14% more calories and 23% more fat than usual.

Assistant Professor Monique LeBourgeois, lead author of the study, hopes that her latest research will provide answers to the obesity epidemic plaguing the United States.

"We found that sleep loss increased the dietary intake of preschoolers on both the day of and the day after restricted sleep," said LeBourgeois. “We think one of the beauties of this study is that parents were given no instructions regarding the kind or amount of food or beverages to provide their children."

The latest study comes at a time when the CDC estimates that more than a third of U.S. children and adults are either overweight or obese. While similar studies have been conducted in the past, this will be the first study to examine the effect that sleep has on eating habits in preschool children.

That’s not to say there aren’t issues with the study. For example, only five boys and five girls were studiedan incredibly small number to draw conclusions from. Additionally, since parents were in charge of tracking their children’s eating habits while they were at home, there’s no real way to verify the accuracy of those recordings.

With that being said, the study still reinforces the importance of sleep. Whether it’s for weight loss purposes or not, getting enough sleep is a cornerstone to good health.

Friday, October 7, 2016

New Study Illustrates the Health Effects of Hookah

A photo of a man smoking hookah.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Researchers from New York University’s College of Global Public Health and The Departments of Pediatrics and Population Health of the New York University School of Medicine have published a study on the health effects of hookah use. The study, let by Dr. Michael Weitzman, specifically focuses on youth and young adults.  

"We believe that our research adds to the understanding of the geographic and socio-demographic factors underlying hookah use," said Dr. Weitzman.

Statistics show that nearly 20% of young adults (ages 18-24 years) currently use hookah, which is nearly equivalent to statistics on cigarette use. Dr. Weitzman and his team tracked hookah smoking across the U.S. and examined the effects of long-term usage.


The findings were astonishing. Researchers found that hookah smoking has almost doubled among American adults within a very short time period. Researchers believe the recent increase is due to the societal belief that hookah is a healthier alternative to smoking. But Dr. Weitzman and his co-authors warn that hookah is just as addictive, poses similar risks as cigarettes, and actually results in larger quantities of smoke inhaled.

Interestingly enough, researchers also found that hookah smoking is more popular among single men with a higher education and income status. On the contrary, cigarette smoking is more common among poorer people with a lower level of education.

The team hopes that the new findings will result in stricter regulations when it comes to hookah smoking. They’re also hoping that new anti-hookah campaigns will be launched, much like anti-cigarette campaigns. But more than anything, the researchers want to protect the health of children and young adults who may not know any better when it comes to the risks they’re taking.

One thing the study doesn’t cover is the second-hand smoke effect of hookah. However, Dr. Weitzman and his team stated that this is a factor they would like to look into in the future.