December 2013

The Holidays Aren’t Over Yet…Resist The Urge To Keep On Eating!


The holidays keep on happening and the urge to stuff ourselves along with the turkey is a temptation. What can we do to avoid the pitfalls?

Nutritionists and scientists have long tried to unlock the secrets of overeating. But some of the best information is coming from an unexpected source: marketing experts! It turns out that even the most self-aware individuals are subject to mindless eating.

Most of the research comes from a marketing professor, Dr Brian Wansink, from Stanford University. He wrote a book called Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think.

Interesting things to know

* Package size counts
In one study, two groups of people were given free, but stale (five-days old) popcorn while watching a movie. Half of the group got a medium-sized tub; the other got a large tub. The people with the larger tubs ate 53 percent more than those with the medium tubs. They ate the popcorn regardless of taste (five-day-old movie popcorn? YUK!) because it was there and they were distracted by the movie.

* People use visual clues to stop eating
In another study, Dr. Wansink rigged a soup bowl to continuously fill with tomato soup essentially making it bottomless. The eaters with the rigged soup bowls ate on average six ounces more soup than those with a regular bowl. This means that most people ignore how full they feel and eat until they clean their plates.

• Our eating is influenced by color
People will eat more M&M’s when they are multicolored than when they are all one color. People also eat more in a yellow or red room (think about the colors at McDonald’s), and eat less in a blue room.

• We are influenced by those who eat around us
People are more likely to eat faster (and larger amounts) if those around them are shoveling food into their mouths.

• Sound and distraction matters
Playing fast music while eating will cause you to eat more. And every parent knows that kids (and adults) eat more when in front of a TV.

Some tips to help you avoid overeating:

* Eat slowly (or pick a slow eater to sit next to at the next dinner party). It takes ten to 20 minutes for your brain to register that your gut is full.

* Use smaller bowls and plates. Since we all have a tendency to clean our plates and bowls, start small and use smaller utensils as well.

* Never eat directly from the box or bag (think cookies and chips). You can’t see how much you’re eating, which means you won’t remember how many calories you’re consuming.

* Beware of buffets. Use a small plate and only put two items on the plate at a time.

* Be aware of your surroundings. Always sit down to eat and try not to eat in front of the TV. When you choose restaurants, gravitate toward the quiet ones that are painted blue!

Mindless eating contributes to the gradual weight gain that many of us experience as we age. By being aware of some of the cues that trigger overeating, you can turn gradual weight gain into weight loss!

Psoriasis: What You Might Not Know

Psoriasis is a common skin condition that affects 7.5 million people in the United States. It occurs when a person’s immune system goes on the fritz and it sends signals that tell skin cells to grow too fast. The new cells form in days instead of weeks. This causes them to pile up and creates patches of psoriasis.

Anyone can develop psoriasis but there is often a hereditary component to it. It occurs most often between the ages of 15 and 30 and between the ages of 50 and 60. It is often precipitated by certain triggers. These include: an infection such as strep throat, a stressful event, medications such as lithium or those that help prevent malaria, cold and dry weather and a cut, scratch or bad sunburn.

What you may not know is that there are many different types of psoriasis. The majority of people get plaque psoriasis. These are raised red plaques on the skin with silvery white patches. The fingernails develop pits.

The other types of psoriasis include:
Guttate psoriasis: small red dots scattered over the body
Pustular psoriasis: pus filled bumps that can cause the patient to feel sick
Inverse psoriasis: Raw red patches on the skin
Erythrodermic psoriasis: Red skin that looks burned and can be painful and intensely itchy.

Thirty percent of patients with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis. As with psoriasis there are different types of arthritis. They can range from mild, moderate to severe.

Four things you may not know:

1. In 15% of patients, the joint problems may show up before the skin changes.

2. It is often difficult to diagnose psoriatic arthritis. It may occur in a joint after an injury,
and look more like a cartilage tear.

3. There may be pain without swelling

4. Often patients will develop swollen fingers that look like sausages.

What many people may not realize is that those with psoriasis are 58% more likely to have a heart attack and 43% more likely to have a stroke. They are also 46% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and are at high risk for cancers, obesity and depression.

Treating psoriasis can reduce the inflammation and alter these risks.

For the skin, there is light therapy and steroid ointments. For psoriatic arthritis, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications are used initially. For severe disease drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis such as Enbrel and Remicade are often used.

There is no cure for psoriasis, but with combination therapies it can be controlled. More importantly the risks for other diseases can be reduced by seeking help early and getting the treatment that is best for the degree of disease you may have.


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