January 4, 2017

How Junk Food Marketing Leads to Unhealthy Diets

Selective focus on the right cheeseburger

In the 21st century, technology has become an unavoidable part of children’s lives. From educational tools, to watching videos and playing games, children are surrounded by screens of all sorts and sizes. These devices are a perfect media outlet for companies to advertise a number of products to children including snacks, toys and apparel to children.

As a part of this impactful demographic, children have influence over how their parents spend.  Much of these expenses are processed junk foods that children ask their parents to buy each time they visit the grocery store.  These foods are intentionally placed near the checkout tills and within a child’s reach; this forces situations where a child is easily able to access them and ask their parents for that particular treat. Furthermore, the effect of these foods on their health is monumental. An article by Time Magazine quoted UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Oliver De Schutter, stating that “unhealthy diets are now a greater threat to global health than tobacco” [1].

This may be due to the fact that junk foods are highly processed and contain large amounts of carbohydrates, unnecessary sugar, unhealthy fats, and extra sodium. Consuming ingredients with little nutritional value has a negative impact on your body. In addition, many of these junk foods are very addictive and tempt a person to keep consuming them. It is important that people control these temptations and are selective in choosing the foods they intend to consume. Unhealthy diets have a direct link with the function of many major body systems such as the cardiovascular and digestive systems.

[1] U.N Official Says Junk Food Just as Bad as Cigarettes. Alter, Charlotte. Time Magazine. Retrieved From: http://time.com/104999/u-n-official-says-junk-food-just-as-bad-as-cigarettes/

 

December 8, 2016

Avocados: An Excellent Way to Fight Cholesterol

hass-avocoado-with-slice_zyPwlDO_Lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels are a reality that many adults are challenged with. An abundance of cholesterol causes your blood stream to carry more plaque and cholesterol in your arteries. Excess plaque can create a blockage that causes chest pains and greatly increases the risk of heart attacks and other heart conditions.

The first step to avoid these severe situations is to improve your diet by consuming foods that help lower LDL levels. A recent study that was reviewed by WebMD showed the beneficial effects of avocados on your LDL levels. This comes as a surprise to many people, as avocados are commonly seen as a fatty food, which seems counteractive to combating high cholesterol. However, they are in fact high in monounsaturated fat, vitamins, minerals, fiber, all ingredients that help lower LDL levels. Researchers concluded that “people on a moderate-fat diet who ate an avocado every day had lower [LDL] cholesterol levels than those on a similar diet without an avocado a day or those who were on a lower-fat diet” [1].

Sources:

[1] Avocados Help Lower Cholesterol in some People. WebMd. Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/news/20150108/avocado-ldl-bad-cholesterol]

December 30, 2011

“My New Year’s Resolution…”

Filed under: behavior — Tags: , , , , — drwatson @ 12:32 am

New Years Resolution StatisticsWith the arrival of another year, many people find themselves waking up on January 1st with one question moving forward: “What is my new year’s resolution?” But before you resolve to cut out that one vice in your life cold turkey, you may want to know if New Year’s resolutions are even an effective way to bring out changes in your life?

According to Dr. Kimberly Moffit, a Toronto-based psychotherapist and councilor, the answer is “not really.”

“New Year’s resolutions only work in very few cases and typically with those who have a will of steel,” she says.

Dr. Moffit says the problem is that people usually aim to make massive lifestyle changes. These changes, however, are rarely going to occur within the week that most people expect changes to occur in. The therapist stressed that the psychological impact of taking on too much at once can simply burn a person out such that they give up on whatever initiative they started on.

Dr. Moffit says that trying to quit smoking is amongst the hardest resolution to achieve, because most smokers associate smoking with relaxation, which nearly everyone needs/enjoys.

“So you have to think about how you are going to get these little blocks in the day where you can relax, whether it’s putting on a beautiful piece of music and relaxing at your desk, going for a walk somewhere or eating your lunch on the park bench outside.”

New Year’s Resolutions Statistics

Let’s look at the numbers regarding New Year’s resolutions for Americans. According to the Opinion Corporation of Princeton, NJ, the percentages are as follows:

  • 45% of Americans usually set New Year’s Resolutions; 17% infrequently set resolutions; 38% absolutely never set resolutions.

How many stay true to their chosen course? How many veer off somewhere before completion?

  • Only 8% of people are always successful in achieving their resolutions. 19% achieve their resolutions every other year. 49% have infrequent success. 24% (one in four people) NEVER succeed and have failed on every resolution every year. (That means that 3 out of 4 people almost never succeed.)

Great New Year’s Resolutions

Dr. Moffit encourages people to concentrate more so on the positives, and less on the negatives. In other words, if you’ve decided you will give up smoking, and eat more vegetables, see the latter a desired benefit—something you get to do, instead of a restriction.

Laura Jackson, founder of Fit Chicks Boot Camp argues that the key to success is specificity and preparation.

“That’s the biggest faux pas people make,” she says, “They say, ‘This year I’m going to lose weight,’ but it’s like, how much weight do you want to lose? By when? And what is your action plan to get there?”

Losing weight and getting healthy isn’t just a numbers game. There’s an emotional factor and social factor that goes into it,” says Jackson. “Are you hanging around with people who are sabotaging you or are energy vampires? New Year’s is a good time to look at your life and ask who is adding to my life and who is taking away?”

Is It Worth It?

According to the aforementioned statistics, there is absolutely no correlation between happiness and resolution setting/success. People who met their goals, versus individuals who did not, saw no difference in happiness—talk about a punch line. This conclusion doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t set a goal for yourself, obviously. It just means you should be realistic about your expectations, and how that will, in turn, affect your emotional well-being. If the prospect of a singular goal seems too daunting, try adopting instead a more of a general theme. While raising your overall happiness may be harder to achieve, instituting some change—any desired change—in your life is easy, and definitely doable.

Information provided on this website is for general purposes only. It is not intended to take the place of advice from your practitioner.

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