Tag Archives: weight

Eating with Friends

Do you eat differently based on the people you are eating with? A recent study found that your eating companion’s weight may effect how you eat. When eating with an overweight companion, participants in the study were more likely to eat large portions of pasta and small portions of salad. When eating with a normal weight companion, participants ate more salad and less pasta.

While the results of this study are interesting, I am definitely not suggesting that you stop being friends with people who are overweight. That is just rude! However, it is a good idea to evaluate your eating tendencies around different groups of people. If you tend to overeat around one group of friends, be more conscious of what and how much you eat next time you are with them. If you change your eating habits, it could influence them for the better as well, making the whole group healthier. If you find eating healthy difficult around a certain group, try to find other activities to enjoy with them besides eating.

Peer pressure when eating is a real thing. My husband’s family is very good about being health conscious, and they often share entrees or order salads when they go out to eat. When I’m with them, I tend to order salads or a smaller entree. When I go out with my best friend, I feel comfortable ordering as unhealthy as I want and getting dessert to top it off.

Remember, you can make healthy choices, no matter the circumstances. A little planning and evaluating relationships may just help you, too.

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!

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Artificial Sweeteners

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In the midst of moving, my husband sent me this article about artificial sweeteners, a topic loaded with confusion and mixed information.  My brother-in-law and I debate consumption of artificial sweeteners occasionally.  Last week at a girls night, I listened in pain while several diabetic women discussed how they don’t want cancer from artificial sweeteners and drink regular soda rather than diet.

Why is there so much confusion?  Artificial sweeteners are relatively new ingredients in our diets.  Humans have been eating grain, meats, fruits, vegetables, and many seasonings for hundreds of years.  Artificial sweeteners have only been studied for the last 40 years or so, and new sweeteners are being developed all the time.  It takes time to study the long-term effects of these items and to determine actual consumption rates.  As the linked article points out, these ingredients were developed to replace sugar, but some people are consuming these in larger amounts than if they just were consuming sugar, adding to the confusion.

So should you consume artificial sweeteners?  The best answer I can give is maybe.  Here are the facts as I understand them.  We do know that consuming too much sugar can lead to weight gain, diabetes, and a host of medical problems.  Current data suggests that consuming artificial sweeteners as a replacement for sugars in moderate amounts is safe.

Bottom line:  I don’t suggest taking up drinking diet soda or consuming large amounts of artificial sweeteners.  But if you have the choice between diet and regular, I would choose diet.  Either way, drinking lots of diet soda is a bad idea for many reasons, beyond the sweetener.

I hope that helps.  Happy eating!

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!

 

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Weight is just a number.

I came across this TED talk last month which shed some interesting light on weight and health.  Sandra Aamodt is a neuroscientist who talks about her life long struggles with dieting.  She highlights a fascinating study which looked at the effects of four healthy lifestyle habits – eating fruits and vegetables, exercise three times a week, not smoking, and moderate alcohol consumption – on risk of death for people in different weight classes.  This graph highlights the results:

The graph divides people into three weight categories – “normal”, “overweight”, and “obese”.  In each of these categories, people are divided by how many of those four healthy habits they had.  The difference in bar height shows the difference in relative risk of death for these categories.

Not surprisingly, among the people with few or no healthy habits, the risk of death was much higher for those who were obese or overweight.  Also not surprising, more healthy habits reduced the risk of death in all the weight categories.  The big surprise was the decline in risk for the obese and overweight.  For those with all 4 healthy habits, the relative risk of death was the same for all weight categories.  Surprised?

This shows what dietitians have known for a long time:  there is more to being healthy than your weight.   Health has many important components. Having a healthy diet is beneficial no matter what your weight.  So, if you are having a hard time losing weight, don’t get discouraged.  Remember, weight is just a number.  Keep making good choices for diet and exercise, and rest assured that you are still helping improve your overall health.

Here’s the video if you want more information:

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will will answer them in upcoming posts!

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