Tag Archives: obesity

Living Alone Is Bad For Your Diet

Living alone has its benefits: You get 100 percent control over Netflix, you can clean (or not) whenever you please and you’re safe to sleep in the buff without fear.

But a recent study from Australia’s Queensland University of Technology revealed a major downside to solo life: People who live alone tend to have worse diets compared to those who share a space. 

The research, published in the journal Nutrition Reviews, analyzed 41 previous studies to uncover the link between living alone and food and nutrient intake. Those who live alone are more likely to have a lower diversity of food and nutrients and eat fewer fruits and vegetables, which are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants that can help protect against certain diseases.  

Some of the reasons solo-dwellers were found to be worse off included poor cooking skills, no partner to help with grocery shopping, the high cost of food for one, and a lack of motivation to cook. Solo men were more likely to have an unhealthy diet than women.

“Our results found that people who live alone have a lower diversity of food intake and a lower consumption of some core food groups like fruits and vegetables and fish,” said Katherine Hanna, one of the study’s authors and a lecturer at the university. “The research suggests living alone may represent a barrier to healthy eating that is related to the cultural and social roles of food and cooking.”

Hanna and her colleagues found that people who lived alone not only often lacked the motivation to cook, but they didn’t enjoy eating or cooking alone, and were more likely to prepare simple or ready-made meals lacking important nutrients. At times, it seems, it can be helpful to have a nagging caring partner around. 

“The absence of support or encouragement to comply with healthy eating guidelines and difficulty in managing portion control were also factors influencing diet,” Hanna said.

Money also played a role in the diets of single-person households: Healthy foods like fish and fresh fruits and vegetables require more trips to the grocery store and a speedier rate of consumption (if you don’t eat it, it’ll spoil). 

Previous research has highlighted that eating home-cooked meals is associated with a lower risk for obesity, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, but the number of people living on their own in developed countries is increasing. As Hanna noted, in 2010, 23 percent of Australian households included only one person. The trend is similar in the U.S., where 27 percent of the population is living alone. 

Cooking for one is not impossible, of course, nor does it have to be time-consuming and expensive. Check out a few of our favorite solo-dining recipes.

H/T Modern Farmer

Related on HuffPost:

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/11/10/living-alone-bad-for-your-diet_n_8526016.html

Mom Turns To A Healthy Diet Instead Of Accepting Doctors Autism Diagnosis For Her Son

Children all across America are facing a major epidemic.

Childhood obesity is no joke, and the health problems that come along with it are a matter of serious concern.

If nothing is done to change our nation’s relationship with food, younger generations will begin to die at earlierages than previous generations. With all the medical advancements, this absolutely should not be happening.

When this mom had a miracle baby in her 40s, she couldn’t have been any happier. However, when little Adin was 10 months old, her friend noticed something strange about the way he interacted with the world.

Adin was diagnosed with autism, and doctors told his mother that he would never be able to speak.

She simply couldn’t believe that she’d never be able to have a conversation with her baby boy. So, she decided to find a way to help her child come away from this diagnosis.

She turned to diet. So many children are fed with processed chemicals and sugary candies. But the food we feed our children is the fuel that helps their brains grow. It doesn’t just affect weight… it affects everything from the mind, down to each of the five senses.

In this video, see Adin’s journey from a little boy who couldn’t speak, to a social, passionate boy he is today. It’s amazing what one single change can do to a life…

See more stories like this fromCheryl Hiltzik on Facebook and on YouTube.


Read more: http://www.littlethings.com/autism-healthy-diet-cure/

Official advice on low-fat diet and cholesterol is wrong, says health charity

Report accuses UK public health bodies of colluding with food industry and calls for overhaul of dietary guidelines

Urging people to follow low-fat diets and to lower their cholesterol is having disastrous health consequences, a health charity has warned.

In a damning report that accuses major public health bodies of colluding with the food industry, the National Obesity Forum and the Public Health Collaboration call for a major overhaul of current dietary guidelines. They say the focus on low-fat diets is failing to address Britains obesity crisis, while snacking between meals is making people fat.

Instead, they call for a return to whole foods such as meat, fish and dairy, as well as high-fat, healthy foods including avocados, arguing: Eating fat does not make you fat.

The report which has caused a huge backlash among the scientific community also argues that saturated fat does not cause heart disease while full-fat dairy, including milk, yoghurt and cheese, can actually protect the heart.

Processed foods labelled low fat, lite, low cholesterol or proven to lower cholesterol should be avoided at all costs, and people with type 2 diabetes should eat a fat-rich diet rather than one based on carbohydrates.

The report also said sugar should be avoided, people should stop counting calories and the idea that exercise could help you outrun a bad diet was a myth. Instead, a diet low in refined carbohydrates but high in healthy fats was an effective and safe approach for preventing weight gain and aiding weight loss, and cuts the risk of heart disease, it said.

The report added: Eating a diet rich in full-fat dairy such as cheese, milk and yoghurt can actually lower the chance of obesity.

The most natural and nutritious foods available meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, nuts, seeds, olive, avocados all contain saturated fat. The continued demonisation of omnipresent natural fat drives people away from highly nourishing, wholesome and health-promoting foods.

The authors of the report also argue that the science of food has also been corrupted by commercial influences.

Just as big tobacco companies bought the loyalty of scientists when a link was made between smoking and lung cancer, the influence of the food industry represents a significant threat to public health, they argued. They said the recent Eatwell Guide from Public Health England (PHE) was produced with a large number of people from the food and drink industry.

Prof David Haslam, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, said: As a clinician, treating patients all day every day, I quickly realised that guidelines from on high, suggesting high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets were the universal panacea, were deeply flawed.

Current efforts have failed the proof being that obesity levels are higher than they have ever been, and show no chance of reducing despite the best efforts of government and scientists.

Dr Aseem Malhotra, consultant cardiologist and founding member of the Public Health Collaboration, a group of medics, said dietary guidelines promoting low-fat foods were perhaps the biggest mistake in modern medical history, resulting in devastating consequences for public health.

Sadly this unhelpful advice continues to be perpetuated. The current Eatwell Guide from Public Health England is in my view more like a metabolic timebomb than a dietary pattern conducive for good health. We must urgently change the message to the public to reverse obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Eat fat to get slim. Dont fear fat. Fat is your friend. Its now truly time to bring back the fat.

Prof Iain Broom, from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, said: The continuation of a food policy recommending high-carbohydrate, low-fat, low-calorie intakes as healthy eating is fatally flawed.

Our populations for almost 40 years have been subjected to an uncontrolled global experiment that has gone drastically wrong.

But Prof John Wass, the Royal College of Physicians special adviser on obesity, said there was good evidence that saturated fat increases cholesterol.

He added: What is needed is a balanced diet, regular physical activity and a normal healthy weight. To quote selective studies risks misleading the public.

Prof Simon Capewell, from the Faculty of Public Health, said: We fully support Public Health Englands new guidance on a healthy diet. Their advice reflects evidence-based science that we can all trust. It was not influenced by industry.

By contrast, the report from the National Obesity Forum is not peer reviewed. Furthermore, it does not it indicate who wrote it or how is was funded. That is worrying.

Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), said: This report is full of ideas and opinion, however it does not offer the robust and comprehensive review of evidence that would be required for the BHF, as the UKs largest heart research charity, to take it seriously.

This countrys obesity epidemic is not caused by poor dietary guidelines; it is that we are not meeting them.

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE, said: In the face of all the evidence, calling for people to eat more fat, cut out carbs and ignore calories is irresponsible. Unlike this opinion piece, our independent experts review all the available evidence often thousands of scientific papers run full-scale consultations and go to great lengths to ensure no bias.

Prof Naveed Sattar, from the University of Glasgow, said the reports main headline simply to eat more fat is highly contentious and could have adverse public health consequences.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/may/22/official-advice-to-eat-low-fat-diet-is-wrong-says-health-charity

What actually is the Mediterranean diet and does it work?

Hard to define, but famously good for us, this way of eating is far from universally followed even in the countries it came from

It is said to be better at lowering cholesterol than statins, and able to prevent dementia and heart disease, and will not make you fat. Anything that good for you might be expected to smell foul and come in a medicine bottle, but the Mediterranean diet is generally considered to be delicious, except by those who hate olive oil.

It is a potential answer to the obesity crisis crippling healthcare systems, but few understand exactly what the diet is and most of us do not follow it, including increasing numbers of people who live in the Mediterranean. The scientist Ancel Keys and the cookery writer Elizabeth David, two of the pioneers who helped open the eyes of northern Europeans to the wonders of the Mediterranean diet, must be turning in their graves.

We are constantly presented with paeans to the Mediterranean way of life and were faced with yet another this week, when a study presented at a heart disease conference in Rome claimed that those who ate a diet rich in vegetables, nuts, fish and oils were 37% less likely to die early than those who ate red meat and butter.

But ask anybody what the Mediterranean diet actually is and few will give you the same answer. It is not a weight-loss regime such as the Atkins or Dukan diets. It is actually not a prescriptive diet at all, rather a pattern of eating. In spite of the name, it has less and less in common with the way that many people in southern Europe live and eat today.

In the Greek tavernas, thronged with British holidaymakers in the summer months, the Mediterranean diet so highly regarded by health experts can turn into a lamb kebab with rice and chips, washed down with lager. Pasta, which has historically been a smaller primi (first) dish, overflows the enormous bowls in which it is served in many Italian restaurants. The French have finally lost the battle against the Big Mac.

Seafood, including octopus, is a component of the traditional Mediterranean diet, but consumption varied according to location. Photograph: Alamy

The Mediterranean diet is based on a rural life where people ate what they grew, which is fast disappearing. The UN has recognised the diet as an endangered species. In 2013, Unesco listed the Mediterranean diet as part of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity in Cyprus, Croatia, Spain, Greece, Italy, Morocco and Portugal.

Even health experts and nutritionists differ on the detail of the Mediterranean diet, but the principles are fairly clear. It is about an eating style based on large amounts of fruit and vegetables, legumes such as beans, lentils, peas and peanuts, whole grains and especially olive oil.

Fish and seafood are part of it, but their consumption varied in the past according to how close people lived to the sea. Chicken, eggs and small amounts of dairy, such as cheese and yoghurt, are there in moderation, but red meat and sweets would rarely be consumed. The diet includes a small amount of wine with meals. Pasta, bread and potatoes are variables from one region to another. It is quite a high-carbohydrate diet, which was fine when people were physically active on farms or fishing boats.

Notably, none of this comes in a box. The supermarket spaghetti bolognese does not count. The Mediterranean diet has no preservatives. It is freshly picked, plucked and cooked.

The use of olive oil is interesting, according to Tom Sanders, an emeritus professor of nutrition and dietetics at Kings College London, who has carried out studies involving Mediterranean diets. If you are trying to get people to eat a lot of vegetables and salad, its quite difficult to do without oil, he says. And if you are putting oil on top of salad, it also has a bit of a satiating effect. Aubergines or tomatoes in oil you can have enough of that quite quickly. Whereas something that youve got saturated fat in, such as cake or biscuits, its easy to knock them back and you dont realise how much is going in.

But there is more to the Mediterranean diet than the food on the plate. Unesco waxes wistfully lyrical on a whole idealised lifestyle that may appear to have little to do with the modern Mediterranean as we know it. The Mediterranean diet involves a set of skills, knowledge, rituals, symbols and traditions concerning crops, harvesting, fishing, animal husbandry, conservation, processing, cooking and particularly the sharing and consumption of food.

Eating together is the foundation of the cultural identity and continuity of communities throughout the Mediterranean basin. It is a moment of social exchange and communication, an affirmation and renewal of family, group or community identity, the citation says.

Fresh produce at a street market stall in Naples, Italy. The key element of the diet is eating a large amount of vegetables. Photograph: Alamy

The Mediterranean diet emphasises values of hospitality, neighbourliness, intercultural dialogue and creativity, and a way of life guided by respect for diversity.

Shared family meals, it is now widely understood, help people eat well and avoid excess, while the TV dinner habit is linked to obesity.

Keys, a Minnesota academic, started to investigate the health benefits of Mediterranean eating in the 1950s, after a visit to Naples. He was concerned about the large numbers of men dying from heart attacks in the US. An Italian colleague had told him that the heart attack rate among labourers in the Neapolitan area was low. It led to the Seven Countries Study, an enormous project that continues today. The first pilot studies were set up in Nicotera, a village in Calabria, southern Italy, and in six villages on Crete.

The study compared middle-aged men with different lifestyles and diet: on the US railroads, in the villages of North Karelia, Finland, where many men died as a result of heart disease, in the Netherlands, in Italian villages, but also workers on the railroads in Rome, in Crete and Corfu, in villages in Croatia, and in farming and fishing communities in Japan.

It uncovered a link between eating high levels of saturated fat, found in red meat and dairy products, and cholesterol in the blood, and heart disease. The scientists could not prove that saturated fats were the cause, but the finger of suspicion was firmly pointed, leading to changed dietary guidelines in the US and the eventual craze for low-fat everything, with the resulting rise and rise of sugar to make processed food and drinks taste better. Keys has more recently been heavily criticised for opposing John Yudkin, who argued in the 1970s that sugar, not fat, was the problem.

Nowadays, Mediterranean food is often served with chips, while in Italy, pasta has gone from being a small first course to a larger main course. Photograph: Alamy

What did not happen as a result of the study was the wholescale adoption of the Mediterranean diet, although Keys, who died aged 100 in 2004, promoted it in popular books and practised what he preached.

David, a debutante, adventurer and lover of the Mediterranean sunshine, had an influence with her articles and books, describing dishes with aubergines, courgettes and other exotica that were all but unavailable in northern Europe in the 1950s and 60s. But the era of convenience food and the sheer quantity that became available, whether in supermarkets or from takeaways, had a greater impact on working populations.

Nonetheless, Sanders says northern Europe is generally healthier than the Mediterranean regions. Things have changed.

That sort of diet was accompanied by quite a lot of physical activity. There were moderate intakes of wine, but it wasnt huge: it was about 300ml or 400ml at most a day. And these guys, particularly in Crete, which was looked at, were pretty active and were quite thin.

If you look at a follow-up of their kids, the second generation in the Seven Countries Study, they tend to be overweight and eating something quite different a lot more deep fried food. The equivalent of Colonel Sanders really. And what you are seeing in southern Europe, Greece, is one of the highest increases in rates of cardiovascular disease, so theres been a switchover.

Obesity is increasing in Greece, which topped the OECD childhood obesity league in 2014, ahead of the US, Italy and Mexico. Photograph: Alamy

If we look at life expectancy, I think its longest in Iceland. Whereas southern European countries, they still have a lot of poverty and theyre not doing so well. And theyre becoming more sedentary.

Greece topped the OECD child obesity league published in 2014, using data from 2010, with 44% of boys aged 5-17 overweight, followed by Italy on 36%. Both countries had higher rates than the US and Mexico.

Studies continue to show the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. In June, the respected Predimed study in Spain found that overweight and obese people, with heart disease and diabetes, who ate a Mediterranean-style diet high in vegetable fat, because of additional olive oil or nuts, did not gain weight, compared with people on a low-fat diet.

There is no doubt that the Mediterranean diet is good for you. But shifting the habits of nations to adopt, cook and eat it regularly in societies dominated by packaged food manufacturers is quite a task.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us