Thursday, October 03, 2013

Why did I just eat that cookie? How caveman instincts NOT emotions guide us to calorie-laden treats

Pretty right.  That you are fighting human nature is a good reason why dieting rarely works for long

Caveman instincts lead us to reach for the cookie jar not our emotions, according to one weight loss expert.

Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, from the University of Ottawa, explains in an article for NY Daily News, that dieters tend to experience cravings at the same point in the day when their bodies tell them 'it's time to leave the safety of [the] cave and replenish energy supplies.'

He says that people are inherently driven towards foods high in sugar and fat, not 'green leafy vegetables', because of the brain's hunter-gatherer wiring.

'Unfortunately, no one has sent our bodies the memo that there's far less cause for concern that calories will be difficult to hunt or find these days,' he writes.

'[Vegetables are] not energy dense, and our bodies, forged by the white-hot evolutionary crucible of floods, droughts and long harsh winters, know that in response to the body's call for calories, it's sugar and fat that will fit the bill.'

Dr. Freedhoff says the worse hunger pangs - often blamed on feelings of depression, stress or anger - tend to strike in late afternoon and through the evening.

To combat these sudden snack attacks he recommends eating smaller meals frequently.

He says if the body gets the right balance of calories and protein, it will 'sooth [its] primitive overly anxious worries about a food supply that was, until exceedingly recently, exceedingly tenuous.'

He also advises patients to calculate their total daily calorie needs using an energy expenditure calculator, which are easily available online. This can then be broken down accordingly.

A study earlier this year also confirmed the desire to eat high-fat foods is rooted in mankind’s ancestry.

Commenting on the findings, Dr Leigh Gibson from Roehampton University, London, said: 'From an evolutionary point of view, junk food cravings are linked to prehistoric times when the brain . . . reacted to the benefit of high-calorie food as a survival mechanism.

'We are programmed to enjoy eating fatty and sugary substances, and our brains tell us to seek them out.'


Bad news for weekend couch potatoes: Men who do DIY are 23% less likely to die young

The usual speculation.  So let me speculate:  Middle class men are more house-proud so work on their houses more  -- and they are healthier anyway

It may not be what men want to hear as they contemplate putting their feet up at the weekend.  But new research shows undertaking do-it-yourself jobs round the house could be the secret to living longer.

A study by Danish scientists showed men who broke into a sweat by regularly doing DIY were much less likely to die prematurely than those who sat round the house taking it easy.  Among men aged between 50 and 64, DIY was associated with a 23 per cent decline in risk of death from all causes, according to a report in the medical journal Epidemiology.

Britain’s couch potato lifestyle is thought to be storing up an epidemic of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Research out earlier this week showed just 30 minutes of exercise a day could slash high blood pressure - a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes - by a fifth.

In the UK, people are advised to do 150 minutes of moderate activity such as gardening, dancing or brisk walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise including playing sport, running or aerobics every week.  Three out of four Britons fail to achieve this.

In the latest study, scientists at the Danish Cancer Society in Copenhagen looked at nearly 60,000 middle-aged men and women to see how physical activity affected lifespan.

The volunteers were taking part in a long-term study which recorded their exercise patterns.  The results showed that taking part in sports, such as jogging, cut the risk of dying for women by 25 per cent and for men by 22 per cent.

Cycling had similar benefits while gardening also promoted a longer lifespan- especially in men.

But the study also tracked DIY activity levels in men and found it had a powerful protective effect against premature death.

The researchers said taking part in some kind of physical activity was more important than spending hours at it.

Their findings did not show those spending more time exercising or doing DIY lived any longer.

They said: ‘This could suggest that avoiding a sedentary lifestyle is more important than a high volume of activity.’


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