You CAN train your brain to like healthy foods: Researchers reveal diet that can kick junk food addiction
What to cut, what to cut? Well, if you’re trying to lose weight, the answer's carbs. It turns out that reducing your carb intake is more effective at spurring weight loss than reining in the fat, according to new research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
For the study, researchers from Tulane University randomly assigned 148 obese men and women without heart disease or diabetes to follow a low-carbohydrate or low-fat diet. After one year, participants who had been eating low-carb had lost 7.7 pounds more than those who had been eating less fat. Plus, they had greater decreases in fat mass and other cardiovascular risk factors.
But before you start raiding your kitchen looking for carbs to trash, it's important to note that, as far as this study is concerned, low-carb really isn't all that low. In the study, researchers suggested dieters only limit their intake of digestible carbs to 40 grams per day (about as much as in four slices of whole wheat bread) and told them they could eat as many grams of indigestible carbohydrates, or fiber, as they wanted. And in the end, most of the low-carb-eating participants in the study still ate more: They put away 75 to 85 grams of digestible carbs and about 15 grams of indigestible carbs a day.
Not sure how many grams you're getting of each? Look on the nutrition label. Then just subtract the number of grams of fiber from the total carbohydrate count. That's how many grams of digestible carbs the food packs.
Easier than counting carbs, though, is just paying attention to where your carbs are coming from. "Carefully choosing your carbohydrate sources is key," says lead study author, Lydia A. Bazzano, M.D., Ph.D., a professor and nutrition researcher at Tulane University. "If most of your carbohydrates are coming from whole vegetables and whole fruits rather than white rice, potatoes, refined grains, and beverages, then improved cardiovascular health and even weight loss is likely to follow."
And while cutting your numbers of digestible carbs is helpful, this study also shows that fat can actually aid in weight loss, says Bazzano. Not only did the low-fat dieters lose less weight, but low-carb study participants were actually encouraged to replace digestible carbs with healthy fats—primarily from unsaturated sources—and protein, both of which are known to reduce heart disease risk factors like lipid profile and blood pressure.
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You already know your Netflix binges aren't doing your waistline any favors. But as it turns out, the more action-packed your show, the more likely you are to also binge on food, according to a new study published in Internal Medicine.
In the Cornell Food and Brand Lab study, 94 undergraduates snacked on M&Ms, cookies, carrots, and grapes while watching TV. A third of them watched the action movie The Island, a third watched The Charlie Rose Show, and the rest watched The Island, but on mute.
After just 20 minutes, the students who watched The Island had eaten almost twice as much (98 percent more!) as those who watched the talk show, and the participants who watched the action movie sans sound still ate 36 percent more than those who got their talk show on. And in the calorie department, the action watchers put away 354 calories (or 314 calories if there was no sound), compared to the talk show watchers' 215.
The action-eating connection: Action flicks are about as distracting as distracting gets—so you don't notice how much food you're mindlessly shoveling into your mouth, says study co-author Brian Wansink, Ph.D., director of the Food and Brand Lab.
On the flip side, though, ridiculously boring shows may also promote overeating. (Like you wanted to watch them anyway!) A previous study from Sweden's Uppsala University found that women eat 52 percent more food while watching a "boring" televised art lecture compared to an "engaging" episode of a popular comedy show.
So ditch the action movies, bring on the comedies, and make sure you keep your snacks (or at least the unhealthy ones) out of arm's reach. A previous study in the journal Appetite found that the farther away your food is from your grubby little hands, the less you want to eat it—even if it's popcorn.