The Diet Detective: Lose Weight and Eliminate Cravings

Exercise Helps Us to Eat a Healthy Diet

According to researchers at Harvard University reporting in the journal Obesity Reviews, "Exercise seems to encourage a healthy diet. In fact, when exercise is added to a weight-loss diet, treatment of obesity is more successful and the diet is adhered to in the long run."

Exercise helps to curb pleasure responses to food stimuli and to increase impulse control.

The researchers say that "regular exercise improves output in tests that measure the state of the brain's executive functions and increases the amount of gray matter and prefrontal connections. Inhibitory control is one of the executive functions of the brain and is basically the ability to suppress inadequate and non-conforming answers to an aim (the opposite of this would be impulsiveness), which makes modification or self-regulations of a behavior possible."

Bottom line: You need to combine diet with physical activity to lose weight and keep it off.

Short Walks Cut Chocolate Consumption in Half

Do you need more reasons to get out there and take a walk? How about reducing your chocolate consumption—especially in high-stress situations.

Researchers at the University of Exeter in the U.K. reported in the journal Appetite that a 15-minute walk can cut snacking on chocolate at work by 50 percent. The study demonstrated that "even in stressful situations, workers eat only half as much chocolate as they normally would after this short burst of physical activity."

So taking short activity breaks helps keep your mind off snacking.

Gum Chewing Helps You Perform Better!

Have an exam or important work project due? Research in the journal Appetite reported that chewing gum might help. In the study, university students who chewed gum while taking a series of tests performed significantly better during the first half hour than a control group who didn't chew gum.

Trying to Stop Chocolate Cravings? A Photo May Help

If you're trying to avoid unhealthy foods, picking up a fashion magazine may help. Researchers studied the effect of viewing thin and overweight images of models in chocolate advertisements.

They divided 84 women, ages 17 to 63, into three groups. One group viewed a "thin model," the second viewed "an overweight model," and the last, control group viewed no photos. The results showed that those who viewed the photos of "thin women" were less likely to eat chocolate than either the group who viewed the overweight women or the control group.

Tea Can Help You Relax and Perform Better at Work

Researchers wanted to examine the relationship of tea, coffee and other beverages to work performance and mood in a relatively stressful work environment.

According to the study, "Tea consumption was associated with increased perceived work performance and reduced tiredness, especially when consumed without milk or sugar. Consumption of non-caffeinated beverages was associated with increased relaxation and recovery from work."

However, keep in mind that drinking tea and other caffeinated beverages may be counterproductive if you're trying to kick back and relax.

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