Monthly Archives: August 2016

new ways to stop food cravings

 This is he dreaded cycle of food cravings, and it is full of twists and turn and ups and downs. As humans, we eat for a lot of different reasons; sometimes for emotional reasons, most of the time for physical needs. No matter the trigger, cravings can throw our healthy eating habits off track. You don’t have to be the victim though; here are four simple tricks to combat both the physical and emotional cravings that sneak their ways into our days.

1. Wear a bracelet as a reminder

When making a decision to diet or eat healthier, you need to set forth your intention. Your intention (or goal) may be to lose weight or to generally feel better. However, intention alone is not enough to bring forth your goal, there is also action. And if intentions and actions don’t align, goals cannot be reached. This is where a reminder bracelet can be useful. Any piece of string or cord can serve this purpose. Tie the string on your dominant hand. The string will serve as a visual cue for you to lift those subconscious goals to your conscious thinking and bring action and intention in unison. Whenever you are about to give into a craving and reach for the cupcake, instead will see the bracelet and immediately be reminded and aware of your overall goals. This will also give you time to take a moment to stop and think about what you’re reaching for before it is too late. Refuse the craving by refocusing on your best you and you will be sure thank yourself later. After all, no one ever regretted not eating that handful of M&Ms.

2. Eat fiber

Fiber, the indigestible portion of a carbohydrate, can aid in preventing certain food and sugar cravings. The fiber found in whole grains, legumes, veggies, and fruit slows down the introduction of sugar into the bloodstream and therefore, helps control blood sugar highs and lows. This blood sugar stability helps to provide you with sustained energy between meals. High refined carbohydrate and low fiber meals like cereal and milk, sandwiches made on white bread, pretzels and crackers lead to high blood sugar levels. This is followed by a rush of sugar into the blood, a resultant insulin spike, and a powerful uptake of sugar into the cells. The sugar rushing into the cells leaves little for the blood, which results in low blood sugar. Low blood sugar is an emergency state which can lead to additional cravings and hunger. Fiber helps prevent this fluctuation of blood sugar which leads to homeostatic blood sugar and therefore, reduced cravings. Try adding fiber to each of your meals with high-fiber foods like high fiber cereal, raspberries, artichokes, whole-wheat bread, and flax and chia seeds.

3. Make your dentist proud

Following each meal, try to floss, brush your teeth or use mouthwash. Most foods don’t taste very great directly after using mouthwash or a minty toothpaste, so if you take a moment to freshen up, you’ll be less likely to eat more. Flossing also provides a sense of satisfaction, which may take the place of food as a reward. Flossing is a focused and mindful activity, which is, within itself, another way to defeat cravings. After each meal, the leftover food in your teeth breed bacteria, which degrade enamel. Flossing or brushing will also eliminate this bacteria, which is certainly an added bonus. At work, on the go, or in situations where busting out your toothbrush isn’t the norm, popping a Listerine Breathstrip can work similarly.

4. Low-carb living

When starting a low carb diet, many people assume that the less carbs they eat, the more they will crave them, when actually eating a low-carb diet can help reduce cravings.  A study published in the journal “Eat and Weight Disorders” revealed just that. The lower-carb group (35 percent of calories coming from carbs versus 65 percent of calories coming from carbs) in the study actually saw reduced carbohydrate cravings the longer they abstained from overeating them. In fact, the study also revealed that any low calorie diet helped reduce cravings in people. Furthermore, additional clinical studies have supported the same conclusion that a carbohydrate restricting diet reduces cravings for sweets and additional carbohydrates. Diets that help control your blood sugar better, like low-carb diets aid in reducing sugar cravings in a similar way to how eating fiber does.

E-cigarettes may lure teens

 E-cigarettes aren’t tied to a decline in teen smoking and the devices may actually entice some youth who are unlikely to try traditional cigarettes, a U.S. study suggests.

Youth smoking has steadily declined over the past decade, with no steeper decrease after e-cigarettes debuted on the U.S. market in 2007, researchers report in Pediatrics.

“There is strong evidence in adults, together with some, but more limited evidence in youth, that e-cigarettes are associated with less, not more quitting cigarettes,” said study co-author Dr. Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco.

“The fact is that for kids, as with adults, most e-cigarette users are ‘dual users,’ meaning that they smoked cigarettes at the same time that they smoked e-cigarettes,” Glantz added by email.

Big U.S. tobacco companies are all developing e-cigarettes, battery-powered gadgets with a heating element that turns liquid nicotine and flavorings into a cloud of vapor that users inhale.

For the past decade, public health experts have debated whether the gadgets might help with smoking cessation or at least be a safer alternative to smoking traditional combustible cigarettes, or whether they might lure a new generation into nicotine addiction.

In the current study, researchers analyzed survey data collected from more than 140,000 middle and high school students between 2004 and 2014.

During the study period, the overall percentages of teens who reported any smoking decreased from 40 percent to 22 percent.

The proportion of youth who identified themselves as current smokers dropped from 16 percent to about 6 percent during the same period.

But teen cigarette smoking rates did not decline faster after the arrival of e-cigarettes in the U.S. between 2007 and 2009.

And combined e-cigarette and cigarette use among adolescents in 2014 was higher than total cigarette use in 2009, the study found.

Researchers also looked at characteristics that might make teens more at risk for smoking, such as living with a smoker or wearing clothing with tobacco products or logos.

While teen cigarette smokers in the study often appeared to fit this profile, adolescents who used only e-cigarettes didn’t display these risk factors.

This suggests that at least some low-risk youth might not be using nicotine products if e-cigarettes were not an option, the authors conclude.

The study isn’t a controlled experiment designed to test whether e-cigarette use directly impacts smoking regular cigarettes, the authors note. Researchers also lacked data on teens who dropped out of school, who might have higher rate of tobacco use than youth still attending school.

Even so, this is now the eighth long-term study to suggest teens who use e-cigarettes are more likely to start smoking, said Dr. Thomas Wills, interim director of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at the University of Hawaii Cancer in Honolulu.

“E-cigarette advocates have tried to argue that this is only because those teens who used e-cigarettes were high-risk people who were going to smoke anyway and their e-cigarette use had nothing to do with this,” Wills, author of an accompanying editorial, said by email.

“A number of studies have now specifically examined this hypothesis,” Wills added. “In each case, the empirical results went against the confounding hypothesis, so we can be confident that the effect of e-cigarettes for contributing to uptake of smoking is a real effect and is not just due to a group of high-risk persons.”

Law aiding infants at risk for hearing loss

The study, published in Pediatrics, is the first to assess how implementation of a state-wide screening can pick up hearing loss in infants due to congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV). Utah, which has the nation’s highest birth rate, was the first state to mandate CMV screening for infants who fail newborn hearing tests. The Utah law is proving a model for other states.

“Our study demonstrates that policy changes such as the one in Utah that required CMV testing after failed newborn hearing screening can improve the identification of infants with hearing loss, even those without congenital CMV,” said Marissa Diener, lead author and associate professor at the University of Utah’s Department of Family and Consumer Studies. “This is important because timely identification of hearing loss can enable earlier intervention, which is linked to better language outcomes for children.”

The Utah legislation also provided funds for educational campaigns surrounding congenital CMV, which is important given its prevalence, Diener said.

“Although congenital Zika infection is less prevalent in the U. S. than CMV, many people have heard of the Zika virus but fewer are familiar with cytomegalovirus,” Diener said.

Cytomegalovirus is the most common congenital infection, affecting about 1 in 150 children or 30,000 newborns in the U.S. each year. In Utah that equates to roughly one baby born per day.

An infant born with the infection often shows no symptoms or signs; most of those infants do not experience any long-term effects. But the virus can potentially damage the brain, eyes and inner ear. It is estimated that 6 percent to 30 percent of hearing loss in children may be due to congenital CMV, making it the leading non-genetic cause of hearing loss in the United States.

In 2013, Utah became the first state to enact a public health initiative requiring CMV education and testing. The Utah Department of Health was tasked with creating a program about birth defects associated with and ways to prevent congenital CMV. (For more information about the program, please visithealth.utah.gov/cmv.)

“CMV is transmitted through body fluids. Washing your hands often, especially after wiping a young child’s nose, mouth or tears or changing diapers is important, said Stephanie Browning McVicar, co-author and director of the Cytomegalovirus Public Health Initiative at the Utah Department of Health. “What is also essential, though, is not sharing food, drink or utensils, particularly with young children, while pregnant.”

The bill also requires all infants who fail two hearing screens to be tested for CMV within three weeks of birth unless a parent declines the test.

By using that time frame, health providers are able to distinguish between congenital CMV and CMV acquired after birth, which is rarely associated with health problems. The screening parameters also are designed to identify infants who do not have any symptoms but are most at risk for hearing loss.

The researchers used Utah Department of Health and Vital Records data to assess whether 509 asymptomatic infants who failed hearing tests between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2015 underwent CMV screening and the results of that screening.

They found that 62 percent of these infants were tested for CMV and three-quarters were screened within the three-week time frame. Fourteen of those infants were CMV positive and six had hearing loss. Of the infants who were tested more than 21 days after birth, seven were CMV positive and three had hearing loss.

The researchers conclude that because these infants had no signs of infection, it is “highly likely” they would not have been diagnosed later as having congenitally acquired CMV. Identification of CMV-positive infants increased opportunities to watch their health more closely and intervene, when needed, more quickly. They also found more infants received timely diagnostic hearing tests after the law took effect.

“This result has major implications for all children who fail their newborn hearing screening since speech and language outcomes depend upon early hearing loss diagnosis,” said Albert Park, co-author and chief of the U’s pediatric otolaryngology division. “CMV infected infants with hearing loss may benefit from antiviral therapy. This question will hopefully be addressed in an upcoming NIH funded clinical trial that our group will be conducting to compare hearing, speech and language outcomes in CMV infected infants.” The researchers suggest, based on their analysis of the data, that screening compliance could be increased by focusing educational and outreach efforts on certain groups who were less likely to get their infants screened for congenital CMV: less educated mothers, babies not born in a hospital and infants who received hearing tests later than 14 days after birth.