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Archive for September 2018

Cutting Facebook Lowers Stress Levels

Need to cut some stress out of your life? Researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia say that taking breaks from Facebook can help.
Their study included 138 active Facebook users who were asked to either take a 5-day fast from the social media platform or maintain current usage. Each person self-reported on their well-being and stress levels and underwent salivary cortisol tests before and after the intervention.

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2018 IDEA® World Scholarship Recipients

In partnership with ACE, IDEA co-founders Kathie and Peter Davis have established the IDEA World Scholarship Fund, which provides selected recipients with a registration for the event as well as financial assistance for related travel expenses.

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The Peak of Fitness

The mountains are calling. The jagged and distinctive Dolomite range—part of the Italian Alps in northeastern Italy—features 90,000 acres of mountainous terrain, perfect for outdoor adventure enthusiasts from across the globe, including a dedicated group led by PJ O’Clair, owner of ClubXcel and Northeast Pilates Education Center and a cycling enthusiast.

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The Optimal Amount of Exercise for Heart Health

Arterial stiffness, which increases with sedentary living, is associated with higher risk of heart disease. It’s well known that exercise can help, but how much—or how little—is enough?
“While near-daily, vigorous lifelong (>25 years) endurance exercise training prevents arterial stiffening with ageing, this rigorous routine of exercise training over a lifetime is impractical for most individuals,” noted the authors of a new study, which aimed to determine the least amount of exercise necessary to reduce arterial stiffness.

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Exercise Doesn’t Slow Dementia, Say Researchers

Research has supported exercise as having the potential to keep dementia at bay or at least to impede its progression. A recent study suggests that physical activity may not be as effective at warding off cognitive decline as previously thought.
In this study, published in BMJ (2018; 361, k1675), 329 individuals were assigned to an exercise intervention, while 165 subjects received “usual care.” Average age was 77, and each participant had a clinically confirmed dementia diagnosis.

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How Fast You Walk May Affect How Long You Live

Want to outwalk the grim reaper? Pick up the pace, say researchers. A new study from the United Kingdom suggests that quicker walking may add years to your life.
The study’s primary aim was to examine the impact of walking pace and volume on all-cause mortality. To determine this, researchers looked at mortality records for 50,225 individuals from Scotland and England who had self-reported their walking data via interview.

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Weight Training’s Surprising Effects on Depression

Could a cure for depression be found in the weight room? Data from a study published in JAMA Psychiatry (2018; 75 [6], 566–76) points to that conclusion. The meta-analysis of 33 clinical trials, featuring 1,877 participants, found a link between resistance training (RET) and a reduction in depressive symptoms.

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Recipe for Health: Lentil Sloppy Joes

Lentils are cheap and easy to prepare while providing a nutritional bounty for a low caloric cost, yet they are not quite a common ingredient in the average American diet. Two new studies suggest this humble legume could be an ally in the battle against diabetes. Researchers reported in the journal Clinical Nutrition that among 3,349 participants, those who consumed the most lentils over 4 years had a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who ate the least.

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Question of the Month

It will soon be easier for consumers to make better food and beverage decisions when eating out or on the go. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has moved forward with a food labeling law that requires restaurants, grocery stores and convenience stores with 20 or more locations to post calorie counts for standard menu items. Proponents say calorie disclosures on everything from muffins to lattes to Happy Meals will offer more transparency and will likely encourage diners to downsize their consumption.

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Plant Foods Are Good for Our Gut Bugs

Our bodies host a huge population of microorganisms, dubbed the human microbiome. In recent years, the makeup of critters in our guts has been linked to a plethora of conditions, including depression, heart disease and obesity. And now bug-friendly scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have presented initial findings from the American Gut Project, a crowdsourced initiative that analyzes people’s survey responses and fecal samples to better understand how things like diet, lifestyle and disease affect the human microbiome.

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The New Dairy Queens

One look at the dairy-free milk aisle and it’s clear that food companies are on a tear. Nondairy milk sales in the U.S. increased by 61% from 2012 to 2017, according to the research firm Mintel. For a variety of reasons, from lactose intolerance to the perceived unhealthfulness of cow’s milk, more consumers are floating their cereal in liquids that no longer seem nontraditional. Here’s how some of the moo-free contenders stack up nutritionally.

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Belly Fat vs. Vitamin D

Here’s another good reason for people to reduce their Buddha-bellies: improving their vitamin D status. According to data presented at the 2018 European Society of Endocrinology’s annual meeting in Barcelona, Spain, researchers from the Netherlands found that more body fat around adults’ waistline is associated with lower vitamin D levels. Beyond raising the risk of weak bones, poor vitamin D status could set the stage for other health issues, including heart disease and compromised immunity.

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Ask the RD

Question: I have a sensitivity or allergy to tomatoes. My mouth and esophagus get itchy and sore when I eat them. Is there any way to make tomatoes less irritating? Is there a good substitute for tomatoes in recipes?
Answer: You may suffer from oral allergy syndrome (OAS), a relatively common reaction to plant foods, including tomatoes. People who have pollen allergies are more likely to have OAS (Asero 2013) because they react to similar proteins in vegetables, fruits and/or nuts.

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Time to Snub the Clubs?

The prospect of getting extra bang for their food buck has more people perusing
warehouse-style club stores like Costco and Sam’s Club. But the urge to stockpile large amounts of food in the house may lead to calorie overload.

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Portion Distortion

No wonder social media feeds are packed with pictures of overflowing smoothie bowls: It appears people feel the types of foods they consume play a bigger role in their health goals than the volume they eat. As a result, a study from Vanderbilt University published in Management Science suggests that those who are trying to maintain a healthy body weight or wishing to shed a few pounds might be prone to overeating “healthy” items like nuts, granola and avocados. The upshot: The public should be educated about practicing portion control—for foods of all kinds.

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