Sunday, January 14, 2007

It's all about the eats

Well, even though I haven't been blogging, I have been collecting links. Now, this year, like most years, I've resolved to eat better. Hopefully, some of this info will help.

• Scientific American reports "Eat, Drink and Be Merry - or why we should learn to stop worrying and love food". It turns out, there is no "one size fits all" ideal diet.
When it comes to healthy absorption of nutrients, taste matters. Glassner cites a study in which "Swedish and Thai women were fed a Thai dish that the Swedes found overly spicy. The Thai women, who liked the dish, absorbed more iron from the meal. When the researchers reversed the experiment and served hamburger, potatoes, and beans, the Swedes, who like this food, absorbed more iron. Most telling was a third variation of the experiment, in which both the Swedes and the Thais were given food that was high in nutrients but consisted of a sticky, savorless paste. In this case, neither group absorbed much iron."
As the article says, "A diet that is harmful to one person may be consumed with impunity by another." The flip side is also true: what is a healthy diet for one may not be for another.

• Wisegeek has photos of what 200 calories worth of different foods looks like. Not surprisingly you can eat a whole plateful of broccoli, but only half a cheeseburger.

• The Food Psychology lab at Cornell has a Tip Sheet for better eating and food awareness. It's part of a larger site with lots of interesting information on how the mind affects the way you eat, including "Why we unknowingly overeat (you tend to pour more into a short wide glass than a tall narrow glass, for example), potential pitfalls of restaurant eating (beware olive oil instead of butter), and grocery shopping psychology (why do we buy food we never use?).

• Corpus Collosum explains why it's important for all women of childbearing age to get enough folate, keeping in mind that people on low-carb diets may miss out on the folic acid supplements in bread and other grain products.

• And for those times the calories don't matter so much, the Women's Bioethics Project rounds up how eating chocolate can improve your health. Yay!

I will eat better this year, I swear!

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9 Comments:

Anonymous Gillian said...

Eating better sounds easier than it has for a long time, if we're actually allowed to enjoy the food!

12:51 AM  
Blogger Talia Mana, Centre for Emotional Well-Being said...

Naturally I was drawn to this article! Thanks for the great list of links. I'm going to enjoy reading them. I've already tagged one of the links for inclusion in my book.

I'm stunned that nutrient absorption is affected by how much you like the food. You would think that the intestines, etc would do their job no matter what your feelings about the food are. Intriguing

2:07 PM  
Blogger Talia Mana, Centre for Emotional Well-Being said...

The more I think about the food absorption the more curious I become. What about vitamin pills or medications? If we don't like the taste of our medicine (or the thought of having to take it) will it stop us from absorbing it? Just how far does the placebo effect go?

3:28 PM  
Blogger Peggy said...

It is pretty amazing what the brain can do - which is why attitude is so important to health. I think this is the study the article was referring to (see p. 546). The authors suggest that the difference might have been the Swede's difficulty digesting spicy foods (which they weren't used to eating), which is a bit different than saying it was because of the flavor. Even so, it points out that different people respond differently to the same diet.

4:35 PM  
Blogger Bk30 said...

I'm southern...enjoying food is required. Thanks for the links those are awesome :)

8:06 PM  
Blogger Talia Mana, Centre for Emotional Well-Being said...

I guess that theory has been around for a while. Ayurvedic medicine call the different body types doshas and recommend a different diet for each body type.

I have downloaded the article so I'll go through it later and check it out.

I really liked that Cornell Uni site. Great stuff there.

grrr captcha. I must be dyslexic. I keep getting it wrong

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

I love that Wisegeek link with the 200-Calorie photos.

12:05 AM  
Blogger Harbormaster said...

Food is so important to our quality of life. I've done some work in community facilitation involving divisive issues and the first lesson is to bring food to the meeting. It immediately disarms people and promotes the sense of community. Good stuff!

3:03 PM  
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