I’m about to head to Groupon to search for deals on fitness classes, but here are some articles to occupy you in the meantime:
How Exercise Can Strengthen the Brain [NYT]
How to Fend off Food Cravings [EH]
11 Foods for Healthy Bones [Health]
Train Better: 10 Exercise Machines to Avoid [WH]
Looking for a Fitness Buddy? Get a Dog [Reuters]
Diet and Depression: Can Food Help Fight the Blues? [ABC.au]
A new study shows that if you reach for snacks with your weaker, less dominant hand, you’ll snack up to 30% less. “But I’m ambidextrous!” you say. Then this study isn’t for you!
The researchers conducted the study using fresh and week-old (ew) popcorn. The purpose was to measure how automatic snacking is for some people. Unfortunately, they found that some people need to snack so badly, they’ll even eat something stale or nasty to satisfy their cravings for—anything??
Check the rest out:
People who snacked using their nondominant hands reduced about 30% of their total intake, compared with those using their dominant hands, according to the study, which was published online in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
“If people disrupt the physical sequence of action that is in automatic eating, that’s one way to gain some control,” said David Neal, who had been an assistant professor in psychology at USC at the time of the study. Since then, he has left to start his own company, Empirica Research.
More on the popcorn…
For the study, Neal and his colleagues gave each participant a bag of popcorn – some were stale popcorn (popped a week ago), and others were fresh (popped less than an hour ago).
They sat in a dark movie theater and watched several trailers while they were within convenient reach of their popcorn bags. In questionnaires, they indicated whether they habitually ate popcorn in the movie theaters or not.
After the participants left, researchers weighed the popcorn bags. They found that the people who indicated that they regularly ate popcorn during a movie screening ate about 63% of the popcorn bag – regardless of whether it was stale or fresh.
“If you are the sort of person who bought and ate popcorn a lot in the past, as long as you’re in the environment, you continue to eat the food even when it’s stale and horrible,” Neil said.
Being in the dark movie theater environment with popcorn at easy access seemed to trigger an automatic eating habit, he said.
“People believe their eating is controlled by internal preferences,” he said. “We think how much we eat is guided by how hungry we are or taste of the food options. But in reality, that’s not the case. The environment plays a big role.”
So the researchers altered the environment. Instead of a movie theater, they set up a dark meeting room with music videos projected on a screen with popcorn at the ready. The participants didn’t eat as much popcorn when their environment changed.
For the final study, they asked participants to use their nondominant hand if they chose to eat the popcorn inside a movie theater.
The amount of stale popcorn eaten by habitual popcorn lovers dropped about 30%. The amount of fresh popcorn eaten also dropped, but the difference was slight.
“It’s inconvenient and disruptive to eat with the nondominant hand, but that effect is much stronger when the food is horrible,” Neil said. “It suggests it’s not just inconvenience. It makes you think, ‘Is there a value of what I’m doing? Does this taste good? Am I hungry?’ If the answer is no, you stop eating.”
The researchers borrowed this trick from neuroimaging studies that have shown that people’s habits are disrupted when they’re asked to perform tasks using their nondominant hand. [SOURCE]
I stumbled upon a rant by a Yahoo contributor who seemed very upset at the prospect of KFC, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, etc. accepting food stamps. He’s not alone. There are folks out there ready to (keyboard) protest if McDonald’s lets poor people use their benefit cards to get a happy meal—with a toy even! These are the same people who seem to think being poor is a sentence, rather than a circumstance. Or that it’s somehow enjoyable to not know where your next meal is coming from. Maybe the feds should bring back powdered milk and government cheese. While we’re at it, why don’t we produce Soylent Greens (including the special ingredient)?
Sure there’s gross abuse of the system, and allowing KFC to accept food stamps seems like one of them, but if you are at a poverty level where you don’t have access to maybe even a hot plate, why can’t you get a 2 piece dinner?
Perhaps they should limit it to ‘healthier’ selections if it’s that much of an issue, but if you qualify for the benefits, I say you eat what you want.
If that means you run out of your food stamps in 2 weeks, then next month you’ll be wiser, and cop that hero and free soda from the bodega instead.
I’d much rather eat Hamburger Helper in my middle class apartment with middle class comforts, than eat a bucket of chicken and have to find a vacant bedbug infested subway bench.
Here’s the opposing perspective:
“Welcome to Taco Bell, will this be cash, charge or food stamps?”
Just when I thought I’d heard it all, now fast food restaurants want Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients to be eligible to use their food stamp benefit at selected restaurants. Restaurants such as Taco Bell, KFC and Subway believe that there are certain types of SNAP recipients who are homeless or living in conditions that do not allow them hot meals and these people would benefit from being able to use their food benefit at fast food restaurants.
Fresno, Calif., officials are considering legislation that would permit SNAP benefits to be used at fast food restaurants in their area. Arizona, Michigan and other parts of California already allow the practice and Kentucky is currently considering it.
I already object to the many things that can be purchased with SNAP benefits. Junk food, soft drinks, pre-packaged frozen foods and candy are all permitted under current law. This is really a no-brainer. The law should restrict use of those taxpayer-provided funds to the basic staples: meat, starches, bread, milk, vegetables and cheese. Maybe there should be even an allowance for toiletries. But, it’s a moral crime to have public aid recipients eating better then the very taxpayers who pay for their benefit and a sad reflection of just how far this sense of entitlement has penetrated into our society.
There have been too many times that I watch someone in front of me at the checkout lane pile steaks, roasts and even lamb chops into their cart and then pay for it with a food stamp card. They’re eating better than me, and I work two jobs just to keep my head above water. And, the last time I went grocery shopping, the person even had a birthday cake from the bakery in the cart as well. All paid for with food stamps.
Soon middle class workers will find themselves driving home from work to eat a box of Hamburger Helper because payday is still a week away and the money is gone. Meanwhile, Joe Homeless person is standing in line at KFC waiting for his bucket of original recipe chicken, hot biscuits and two sides. Oh, and he can super size his soft drink too. [SOURCE]