Diet Detective: Diet and Health Tips from Recent Studies That Make Sense

There's a steady supply of new research in the areas of diet, fitness and nutrition, and I frequently post these to the Diet Detective Facebook page (facebook.com/dietdetective).

Here are a few of the latest findings that will certainly help you to lose weight and stay fit.

  1. More Reasons to Eat Whole Grains

    According to researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Researcher Center on Aging at Tufts University, people who consume several servings of whole grains per day while limiting daily intake of refined grains appear to have less visceral adipose tissue, a type of fat around the stomach area that is thought to play a key role in triggering cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

  2. Eating Out? Use Cash. And When Eating at Healthy Restaurants, Use Caution

    When buying groceries, people are more likely to purchase unhealthy foods when using a credit or debit card than when using cash. According to research reported in the Journal of Consumer Research, there is a correlation between unhealthiness and impulsiveness in relation to food: Unhealthy foods tend to elicit impulsive responses. However, cash payments are psychologically more painful than card payments, and this can curb the impulsive decision to buy unhealthy foods.  

    Another study showed that when people were eating in restaurants considered healthy their estimates of the number of calories consumed were 44 percent lower than what they'd actually eaten. According to authors Pierre Chandon of INSEAD and Brian Wansink of Cornell University, the problem was that people tended to reward themselves for their "healthy" choice of restaurant by eating more chips, fries and cookies. They suggest that if you're eating at a supposed healthy restaurant you should estimate the calories in the meal and then double that number to arrive at a more accurate count. 

    Even among those who should have more knowledge about food values, errors are common. For example, in one study, registered dietitians underestimated their caloric consumption by 16 percent.

  3. Tough Love for Obesity - Does it Really Work?

    I bet you think a good old dose of tough love -- a la Biggest Loser's Jillian Michaels -- is what you need to shed those unwanted pounds. However, screaming "put the doughnut down" public health programs don't seem to work. Researchers at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, asked individuals how they felt about "government regulation, large-scale public health initiatives, media campaigns, personalized fitness programs, gastric banding surgery and commercial diet groups." Respondents did not believe programs that were stigmatizing or that blamed and shamed individuals for being overweight were effective.
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