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Watch Out for Processed Foods

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You have probably heard sugar, fat, and salt as being the three main contributors to weight gain. But research suggests another component to watch out for processed foods. Processed foods are made from cheap-industrial ingredients including hydrogenated oils, corn fructose syrup, flavorings, and emulsifiers.

A recent study conducted by the NIH suggests that the nature of processed foods itself makes people overeat. This study is a randomized controlled study and has established a causal relationship between a diet with processed foods and weight gain.

In this study, participants who consumed ultra- processed foods had consumed 508 calories more, on average, than people who had a cleaner diet. As a result, those who ate processed foods gained two pounds more over a two week period, on average.

Here are some fast facts from this study:

  • The meals offered to the two groups contained the same calories, fats, protein, sugar, carbohydrates, and fiber; however, participants ate more of the ultra-processed meals even though they were not necessarily tastier.
  • On a physiological level, those eating the processed diet had lower levels of appetite-suppressing hormone called PYY, which may explain why they consumed more food.
  • People eat much faster on the ultra-processed diet, as the food is softer and easier to chew, leading to overeating.

The next time you see a bag of chips or a sugar-coated pastry from your local convenience store, try to stay away from it, especially if it is processed. Instead, opt for a smoothie or fruit bowl to satisfy any craving for sweets. Your body will thank you in the long run for treating it with clean, sustainable, and unprocessed food.

Check out Doctor Mike’s video on Youtube for more specific details:

Sources:

  1. https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2019/05/16/723693839/its-not-just-salt-sugar-fat-study-finds-ultra-processed-foods-drive-weight-gain
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRo-D2YlGY4

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Why Misinformation is So Rampant in Our Minds

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Cognitive psychology attempts to explain why fake news and misinformation are so pervasive in our minds, as it can distort our memories and perceptions of the world. Here are a few fast facts to ponder: 

  • Researchers have determined fake news is rooted in misattribution, meaning that we can recall memory but cannot recall its source.
  • Repeated information can make our minds feel that misinformation is true and accurate. Repetition can lead to collective misremembering known as the Mandela Effect
  • Bias can play a role in reinforcing fake news; our memories are clouded with bias because our beliefs shape them. While this fact may be true, we also remember opposing viewpoints because people want to defend their beliefs against different perspectives. 

To vet where your information is coming from, it is important to consider what type of content you are looking at, where is it coming from, and who benefits from you gauging the content. 

To learn more about this topic, please visit https://www.niemanlab.org/2019/04/a-cognitive-scientist-explains-why-humans-are-so-susceptible-to-fake-news-and-misinformation/

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Study Claims That Eating Three Chocolate Bars in a Month Can Reduce Your Risk of Heart Failure

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We all know that chocolate is unhealthy because of the excess fat and sugar, and as a result, we may steer clear of regular chocolate intake. However, a study has suggested that eating at least three chocolate bars every month can reduce our risk of heart failure

This study published by the European Society of Cardiology analyzed over half a million adults and determined that chocolate could deliver a direct impact on heart health. Individuals consuming up to three chocolate bars every month could reduce the risk of heart failure by up to 23%, compared to those not eating chocolate at all. 

The lead researcher Chayakrit Krittanawong believes that the ingredients of chocolate, otherwise known as flavonoids, are considered beneficial for a person’s health. They reduce inflammation and increase good cholesterol. Consuming flavonoids with a moderate amount of chocolate intake can also improve the levels of nitric acid found throughout the body. Nitric acid can increase blood flow while improving the circulation of blood

Dark chocolate, in particular, has a variety of health benefits such as relieving stress, boosting memory function, and improving mental health overall.  

While there are valid health benefits of chocolate, the research suggests moderation rather than overconsumption of sweets that you enjoy. In fact, exceeding your chocolate intake could lead to a 17% spike in the risk of heart failure due to the overload of saturated fats. Moderation, therefore, is a clear path to prevention of heart disease. 

To learn more, please visit https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/chocolate-bars-heart-failure-risk-reduced-health-study-new-york-a8511386.html

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Alcohol Consumption in Sunlight Increases Risk of Sunburn

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When we hear the word melanoma, the first thought that comes to mind is sunlight exposure. In addition to sunlight exposure, studies have also suggested that alcohol consumption can be linked to an increased risk of skin cancer. By studying three healthy men in Germany, researchers measured how much UV light it took for the men to develop sunburns after consuming three drinks. They found that after consuming alcohol, it took less UV light to burn the skin. 

Scientists believe that this happens because of decreased carotenoid levels in the body. Carotenoids are defined as the yellow, red, and orange pigments that are produced by plants that are known to have antioxidant properties that protect against the damage of UV light. We consume carotenoids through vegetable consumption. Upon alcohol consumption, the men’s carotenoid levels decreased, which led to a decrease in antioxidants that made them more vulnerable to sunburns

The decreased antioxidant levels do not entirely explain why alcohol is linked to sunburns because sunburns can be attributed to additional external factors. More research will be needed to grasp to understand the relationship between alcohol and sunburns. 

To learn more, please visit https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2019/07/14/741063881/mixing-alcohol-and-sun-beware-a-buzz-begets-a-faster-burn

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