Learning Junk Food Marketing Manipulates, Teens Consume Less

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Healthy eating can be a challenge when millions of dollars are spent everyday trying to convince us to eat junk food. It turns out that telling the truth to teens may help them eat healthier. Informing teens about the financing and exploitation that goes into big food gets them to think critically about the marketing and rebel against it. Plus, starting healthy eating practice in the teenage years sets them up for a lifetime of health.

In the study, “A Values-Alignment Intervention Protects Adolescents from the Effects of Food Marketing,” published today in Nature Human Behaviour, Chicago Booth’s Christopher J. Bryan, University of Texas at Austin’s David S. Yeager, and Booth PhD candidate Cintia P. Hinojosa find that reframing how students view food-marketing campaigns can spur adolescents, particularly boys, to make healthier daily dietary choices for an extended period of time. The method works in part by tapping into teens’ natural desire to rebel against authority.

Among the two biggest findings in the experiment: The intervention produced an enduring change in both boys’ and girls’ immediate, gut-level, emotional reactions to junk food marketing messages. And teenage boys, a notoriously difficult group to convince when it comes to giving up junk food, started making healthier food and drink choices in their school cafeteria.
“One of the most exciting things is that we got kids to have a more negative immediate gut reaction to junk food and junk food marketing, and a more positive immediate gut reaction to healthy foods,” said Bryan.

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Active People Naturally Crave Healthier Foods

Want to eat healthier but lacking motivation? Start being more active and you’ll find that picking healthier foods will get easier. A least that’s what participants found in a recent study, and there’s no reason to expect different results for you. Researchers took people who had a sedentary lifestyle and just asked them to workout a little. Without instructions the participants started to eat healthier just because they were more active.

“The process of becoming physically active can influence dietary behavior,” said Molly Bray, corresponding author of the paper and chair of the Nutritional Sciences department at UT Austin and a pediatrics faculty member at Dell Medical School. “One of the reasons that we need to promote exercise is for the healthy habits it can create in other areas. That combination is very powerful.”

“Many people in the study didn’t know they had this active, healthy person inside them,” Bray said. “Some of them thought their size was inevitable. For many of these young people, they are choosing what to eat and when to exercise for the first time in their lives.”

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Don’t Clean Your Plate

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Many of us were raised with mentality of “cleaning” our plate at the end of the meal; basically, it means finishing all the food on your plate. Some researchers wondered if this leads to unhealthy overconsumption of food, and indeed it does. There’s some simple things you can do to avoid eating too much like making smaller servings, not finishing everything just because it’s on your plate, and you can just use smaller plates.

“Many of us were raised with this ‘clean your plate’ mentality, stemming from a desire to ensure one is not being wasteful or their children are eating well; however, this can also lead to overconsumption,” Haws said. “So, one could argue that good advice for someone trying to manage their food intake would be not to clean their plate.”
Haws and her co-authors were interested in exploring how the clean-plate phenomenon, called “consumption closure,” affects our desire to keep eating more than we should or want to when there’s just a small amount left, “The questions we had were: Is there something special about having this small quantity left over, and what processes do people use when justifying continued consumption or deciding whether or not to continue consuming?”

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Reduce Your Cancer Risk by Eating Earlier

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A new study has concluded that when we eat our supper is an important factor in reducing risk of certain cancers. The researchers monitored people’s eating times and noticed that prostate and breast cancer risk was connected to later dinners. Your final meal of the day should ideally be before 9pm and two hours before you go to sleep. What’s really neat about this research is that doctors may start considering cancer treatment via diet in addition to modern therapies.

“Our study concludes that adherence to diurnal eating patterns is associated with a lower risk of cancer,” explained ISGlobal researcher Manolis Kogevinas, lead author of the study. The findings “highlight the importance of assessing circadian rhythms in studies on diet and cancer”, he added.

If the findings are confirmed, Kogevinas noted, “they will have implications for cancer prevention recommendations, which currently do not take meal timing into account”. He added: “The impact could be especially important in cultures such as those of southern Europe, where people have supper late.”

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Eating Yogurt Helps Reduce Inflammation

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Eat more yogurt to help reduce inflammation inside your body. Yummy yogurt is also good for your tummy. Some recent research has concluded that yogurt can help reduce inflammation while also helping those with obesity. Be careful though and check the sugar content of popular yogurt brands since the sugar content can eliminate the other health gains.

If yogurt isn’t your thing you can ingest the following bacteria strains Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Lactobacillus acidophilus.

But now, a pair of new studies suggest there might be something about yogurt after all. In the female subjects, at least, it appears to help with markers of inflammation—and that, in turn, can keep other types of diseases at bay.

Inflammation, the body’s immune response to invaders, can be a good thing—it’s how our wounds heal, for example. But a steady, low-level simmer of inflammation in the body is associated with diseases like asthma and arthritis, as well as obesity, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease.

“People who are obese have chronic inflammation, which is why there are diseases associated with obesity, like cardiac disease,” says Caroline Childs, a lecturer in nutrition at the University of Southampton. “So if you can reduce the inflammation, you might have less associated diseases.”

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