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junk food

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Vanishing Calories! Really?

The joy of junk foods! There is more than meets the tongue.

Steven Witherly, a food technologist from Chapman College, calls them "vanishing calories". This is when fat-laden, flavorful snacks just melt in our mouths. Fifty percent of calories from fat seems to be the key. When we think food has melted in our mouths, we are fooled into thinking the calories have disappeared too! Learn why Nacho Doritos are one of the most popular snack foods in the world. But healthful?

PositiveTip: Be wary of "vanishing calories". Use your good sense and acquired knowledge to make healthful choices.

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Sleep Habits Affect Your Food Habits

Sleep deprivation can increase cravings for high-calorie junk foods

Night owls beware, if you're not getting enough sleep you increase your chances of choosing a junk food diet! Researchers from UC Berkely have found that sleep deprived participants were more likely to desire high-calorie junk foods compared to well-slept participants. Brain scans showed that sleep deprived people had less blood flow to the frontal lobe, the area of complex decision making and more blood flow to brain areas governing impulse and rewards.

Positive Tip: A good nights sleep will help encourage healthy choices.

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Junk Foods or Pathogens?

Should foods high in salt, sugar, and saturated fat be called "pathogens"?

Canadian researchers have suggested high-calorie foods once considered "treats" be renamed "pathogens" because they are so readily available around the clock. Dietary patterns high in these sugary and salty foods are associated with hypertension, obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. These authors believe that "junk food" is too mild a term for these deadly delights, and take the government to task for inadequate regulation of these products.

PositiveTip: How many of these "pathogens" do you include in your diet? Think honestly!

Are You a Glutton?

Have you noticed how everyone is getting fatter? Nearly two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese. I think we need to begin to use the words "glutton" and "gluttony" more. 

Gluttony was one of the church's seven deadly sins two or three hundred years ago. The entire list includes: Lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. Gluttony includes more than eating too much food.  

Thomas Aquinas expanded the common view of gluttony to incude an excessive anticipation of meals, which is craving for food. Aquinas developed a list of six ways to commit gluttony including:

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The Rush to Nutrient-Spiked Food and Drink

Why are so many junk foods dressed with a healthy glow today?

Have you noticed how once-demonized foods are being spiked with nutrients to give them a healthier glow? Candy bars and soda pop pumped with nutrients and minerals and promoted as "healthy" foods? A recent PriceWaterhouse Cooper report to the food industry predicts robust growth in this sector of the market. The real question is whether these products are truly helpful to us. Or, are they simply junk foods dressed up for the party? The biggest concern about foods with a "health halo" is that consumers will overconsume because they perceive them as healthy foods.

PositiveTip: Health benefits come from eating the entire food, not a single nutrient or two inside it!