Why a starvation diet could actually be good for you – and make you live longer

Why a starvation diet could actually be good for you - and make you live longer | Mail Online

Pinned to my mother Shirley’s fridge on yellowing, curled paper is a handwritten copy of a two-week crash diet. It has been there since 1979, the year she decided she wanted to shed a stone in a fortnight. Its survival is testament to the faith she holds in it.

Among other tortures while on the diet, she allows herself no more than half a grapefruit and a slice of dry toast with black coffee each morning. Lunch is a few cold cuts of meat and a side of vegetables, and dinner is similar. On a typical day this will amount to about 650 calories.

Now 78, you would have thought she’d have deserted this gruelling regime and allowed herself to go into diet retirement.

But like so many women of her generation, she believes the occasional fortnight of eating little is key to a svelte figure and good health.

Such extreme slimming plans have drifted out of fashion in the past few decades. Crash diets are supposed to slow your metabolism down, leading to more weight gain when you stop.

These days, the mantra recited by the medical profession is steady weight loss rather than starvation. And being curvy – a la Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks – is in vogue.

But it may be time to reconsider this approach. And my mother, with her maddening crash diet, might be on to something. Tomorrow, a BBC TV Horizon investigation looks into the health benefits of fasting…

via Why a starvation diet could actually be good for you – and make you live longer | Mail Online.


Dark chocolate ‘may lower blood pressure’

dark choc

There may be good news for people looking for an excuse to munch on a couple of squares of chocolate after a review showed the treat could reduce blood pressure.

An analysis of 20 studies showed that eating dark chocolate daily resulted in a slight reduction in blood pressure.

The Cochrane Group’s report said chemicals in cocoa, chocolate’s key ingredient, relaxed blood vessels.

However, there are healthier ways of lowering blood pressure.

via BBC News – Dark chocolate ‘may lower blood pressure’.

Masturbation: “An Evolutionary Magic Trick”


In the climactic scene of Woody Allen’s clever and self-consciously juvenile film Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask, Allen’s character is a sperm cell who is waiting for his big moment. Allen’s character is not happy with his assigned fate. Nor does he get to decide when his moment will come. That is left to the operators in the “brain room,” a bustling control center that resembles a space station.

At one point, a brain operator issues a desperate order: “Have memory think of baseball players to keep sperm from premature launching.” The memory operator then begins to calmly transmit these words into a phone: “Willie Mays. Joe Namath. Mickey Mantle.”

Continue reading @ Masturbation: “An Evolutionary Magic Trick” | Think Tank | Big Think.


Red = Don’t Eat: Simple Food Labels and the Effective Illusion of Control

Food Traffic Light System

From New York City’s point of view, humans are notoriously bad at making good decisions. That’s what makes a ban on large sodas necessary: the idea that Americans can’t be trusted with their own health. But maybe there’s a middle ground between letting people gorge themselves on junk food and making it illegal. The key to making it all work is creating an environment where consumers still believe they’re in control.

Data released this week by the Massachusetts General Hospital describes the efficacy of a stoplight-style color-coding system that researchers applied to foods and beverages sold to hospital cafeteria-goers. Products were labeled as red, yellow, or green according to three main indicators:

  • How many of the item’s main ingredients contained either fruit, vegetables, whole grains, or low-fat dairy?
  • Did the item have a lot of saturated fat?
  • Did the item have a high caloric content?

Items that had healthier ingredients and less of the bad stuff were given a green label that advised diners to “consume often.” Items that had good and bad in equal proportions were given a yellow label; customers were told to consume these products “less often.” Items with a great deal of calories and saturated fat were given a red label. “There is a better choice in green or yellow,” diners were told. After launching the labeling system, the researchers then took the added step of moving things around so that the green-labeled items were more accessible…

via Red = Don’t Eat: Simple Food Labels and the Effective Illusion of Control – Brian Fung – The Atlantic.


Malta is ‘safest place on earth’


If you want to avoid becoming a victim of a natural disaster or of climate change, you could do no better than to live in Malta or Qatar, according to a new United Nations study which says these two small countries are the safest in the world.

The World Risk Report for 2011, conducted by the UN’s Institute for Environment and Human Security, is based on an index related to the exposure of countries to natural hazards and climate change, as well as social vulnerability.

It rates the island of Vanuatu in the Pacific as the most dangerous place in the world, with very high exposure to natural disasters and high social vulnerability.

If you lived on this island, your risk of falling victim to a natural disaster would be 32 per cent.

At the other end of the 173-country league of risk lie Malta and Qatar. Both have very low exposure to earthquakes, floods or rising sea levels and their societies and infrastructure are well-prepared to tackle such events, according to the report.

In Malta, the risk of becoming a victim of a natural disaster is 0.72 per cent while that of Qatar is just 0.02 per cent…

via Malta is ‘safest place on earth’ – timesofmalta.com.


Genetically Modified Food May Be Why You’re Fat!

GM food

The jury is still out on whether genetically modified food is dangerous–though the genetic engineers discussed in this post make a pretty compelling case for its shortcomings. A new study suggests that even if GM food isn’t directly making us sick, it might be causing us to gain weight. Which then makes you sick. So, by the transitive property.

The study, carried out by researchers from the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science and elsewhere, examined how rats and salmon respond to GM food. As part of the study, rats were fed GM corn (genetically modified for pest resistance). The rats slowly got fatter than those who hadn’t been fed GM corn over a 90-day period. They also ate more and grew faster. When rats were fed fish that had eaten GM corn, they were hit with the same effects…

via Genetically Modified Food May Be Why You’re Fat | Co.Exist: World changing ideas and innovation.


Marijuana Reveals Memory Mechanism

Until recently, most scientists believed that neurons were the all-important brain cells controlling mental functions and that the surrounding glial cells were little more than neuron supporters and “glue.” Now research published in March in Cell reveals that astrocytes, a type of glia, have a principal role in working memory. And the scientists made the discovery by getting mice stoned…

via Marijuana Reveals Memory Mechanism: Scientific American.


Workout Gadgets Will Soon Be Battery-Free and Powered by You

Lightweight, wearable gadgets have changed our workout routines. Some of us consider it an integral part of every workout to monitor our heart rates, activity and calories burned in real time. Future devices may become even more enmeshed in our fitness routines.

Enter battery-free gadgets powered by body heat. If you run hard, bike for miles or work up a daily sweat, TEGwear technology will reward you with power.

via Workout Gadgets Will Soon Be Battery-Free and Powered by You.


Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: