Category Archives: Diets and dieting

The dark truth about chocolate

Grand health claims have been made about chocolate, but while it gives us pleasure, can it really be good for us?

Chocolate has been touted as a treatment for agitation, anaemia, angina and asthma. It has been said to awaken appetite and act as an aphrodisiac. You may have noticed we’re still on the letter A.

More accurately, and to avoid adding to considerable existing confusion, it is the seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree that have, over hundreds of years, been linked to cures and therapies for more than 100 diseases and conditions. Their status as a cure-all dates back over 2,000 years, having spread from the Olmecs, Maya and Aztecs, via the Spanish conquistadors, into Europe from the 16th century.

Continue reading…
Source: gad

Losing weight is a journey. But do you ever reach the end? | Eva Wiseman

Weight Watchers may be scrapping its ‘before and after’ photographs but there never was an after, there’s always only now

We humans are a sucker for a journey. The tears I’ve shed watching a rural teenager get over the death of her grandmother through the healing properties of singing Whitney to Simon Cowell. The number of warm summer evenings I’ve lost because I had to wait through two ad breaks to find out what this ex-teacher from Ottowa looked like after she’d got rid of her baby weight; her baby now a teenager, the weight to lose that of a fully dressed four-year-old. A beginning: fat. A middle: hard work, a little crisis. An end: thin.

But, this week, Weight Watchers is acknowledging that, while this story is satisfying for the armchair viewer, it is not realistic. Not for the thousands of people for whom the journey of weight loss looks less like a simple car ride and more like a kind of nightmarish Interrailing experiment where your wallet is nicked by a one night stand you were falling in love with and your bag gets lost at the airport, containing your contact lenses and inhaler, and then suddenly the island you came from goes missing in a storm. Weight Watchers is scrapping its “before and after” photographs, the ones that show the transformation of their members Benjamin Button-ed, growing down, from big to little.

Continue reading…
Source: gad

It's not just in the genes: the foods that can help and harm your brain

Our diet has a huge effect on our brain and our mental wellbeing, even protecting against dementia. So, what should be on the menu?

As a society, we are used to the idea that we feed our bodies, and that our diet shapes our waistlines. But many of us forget that the same diet also feeds our brains, and that the food we give our brains shapes our thoughts and actions. I invested many years formally studying neuroscience and neurology, and have spent many more years as a scientist in those fields. Back when I started, most of my time was spent with medical journals. But 15 years into my research, much of my time is spent with cookbooks.

These books are essential to contemporary brain science. The recipes become food, and that food shapes our brains just as surely as it builds our bodies. Day after day, the foods we eat are broken down into nutrients, taken into the bloodstream and carried up into the brain. Once there, they replenish depleted storage, activate cellular reactions and become the very fabric of our brains.

Continue reading…
Source: gad

How to feed your gut

Want a healthy gut? Reach for the kimchi, sauerkraut, artichokes, coffee and chocolate. But watch out – one category of food will make your microbes wither

Kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, miso and kefir – all fermented foods and drinks – have been around for centuries, but suddenly they are all the rage. The reason? They are supposedly packed full of gut-healthy microorganisms, and we are finally waking up to just how much the trillions of microorganisms that live in our guts (AKA the gut microbiome) contribute to our mental and physical health.

True, probiotic products such as Yakult – sweetened skimmed milk fermented with a single strain of friendly bacteria – have been shifting hefty units for some time: the global probiotic market, dominated by yoghurt drinks, was worth $45.6bn (£33bn) last year. But Yakult is fairly bland and sweet. Traditional and home-fermented delicacies are another, more pungent matter altogether: kombucha (a naturally fizzy cocktail of green tea and sugar) tastes vinegary; kimchi (vegetables fermented Korean-style) is sour and fiery; sauerkraut, which is fermented cabbage, whiffs of sulphur. All can intimidate palates used to highly processed western blandness.

Continue reading…
Source: gad

What’s the best diet for losing all the weight you put on over Christmas?

There are many diets you can follow if you want to live more healthily, but it’s hard to know which has the best long-term effects? Luckily, a team of experts has done the research

Losing weight is a common new year’s resolution. Even when dressed up as a pledge to eat more healthily, it can be tinged with self-loathing. Those pigs in blankets, mince pies and Baileys. Why, oh why? But at least anyone who wants to improve their diet has a fantastic resource to help them. With perfect timing, a US panel of experts in diet, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and food psychology has scrutinised and ranked 40 diets. Its listings, which are produced annually, show which diets are best for short- and long-term weight loss, which are easiest to follow, which you are most likely to stick with – and which are unsafe because they don’t supply enough nutrients.

Continue reading…
Source: gad

From psychoactive drugs to silent spas: 2018’s weirdest wellness trends

Forget turmeric lattes and Fitbits – this year is all about brain supplements, tiger nut milk and tracking your own mindfulness

“Like Netflix, but for spin classes” might seem an obvious pitch, but it’s taken a while for the perfect storm of rapidly improving tech and outrageously priced real-life classes to kick in, making at-home training an increasingly preferable prospect. Why, after all, should you drop a purple note to be yelled at for 45 minutes in a darkened room, when for half that a month you can subscribe to Peloton’s on-demand service and be yelled at 24/7 in the comfort of your living room – and without having to queue for the showers afterwards?

Continue reading…
Source: gad