HEADLINES / TRENDS l STATS l RESEARCH l MEDIA l PEOPLE

June 2011

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MEDIA

Reading Yourself Thin

As a growing number of people struggle to control their weight, researchers and practitioners alike strive to understand the mechanisms behind this unsettling trend. What they’ve found is that weight loss is more complicated than anyone could have ever imagined, encompassing emotional, social and even spiritual components that a body-only approach doesn’t begin to address. Each of these authors deals with a different aspect of weight management and related issues—giving you a number of useful perspectives on a difficult problem.

 

Eating for weight loss is often thought to be a taste-free experience, more chore than pleasure. Not true, says Cheryl Forberg.

As nutritionist for TV’s “The Biggest Loser,” she knows how difficult it is for people to change their eating habits. But in Flavor First (Rodale), she explains how to fix tasty meals without employing the sugary, fatty foods that keep people overweight. After an introductory chapter on stocking a pantry with herbs, spices and other flavor-intensive foods, Forberg presents 75 tempting recipes complete with nutritional analyses. Ginger currant biscotti, anyone?

In A Course in Weight Loss (Hay House), noted spiritual­ity writer and speaker Marianne Williamson addresses the subconscious blockages that can sabotage one’s efforts to shed unwanted pounds. “The overeater has a delusional relationship with food, imbuing it with power it doesn’t actually possess,” she writes. “The weight on your mind, and thus on your body, is the weight of your own emotional shadows that have not yet had a light shone on them.” Williamson helps the reader illuminate those dark places through 21 “spiritual lessons”; all are designed to release one’s fears and self-doubts in order to create a new, healthier way of relating to food and eating.

Excess calories are so easy to consume: A cookie here, a cola there and the next thing you know you’re having another meltdown on the bathroom scale. That’s what makes keeping a food diary such a powerful weapon in the battle of the bulge—the kind of diary provided in Bite It & Write It! (Square One). Written by four registered dietitians, this conveniently sized paperback allows you to track your food intake for 10 weeks. It also provides a different goal for each week, such as shopping for food intelligently, filling your plate with brightly colored produce and learning how to master restaurant eating.

It’s easy to become numb to America’s twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes, especially
if you’re a journalist. Ask Jeff O’Connell. He was practicing what he preached as a physically fit health writer until he was confronted with a pre-diabetes diagnosis. In Sugar Nation (Hyperion), O’Connell brings his journalistic skills to bear on a story in which he has a personal stake: How our sugar addiction is killing us as diabetes rates keep rising. From the agribusiness politics that pushes sugar into our food to a medical establishment fixated on a drug-first approach to a lifestyle disease, O’Connell explains how we’ve gotten ourselves into this mess—and provides his own example of how we can escape sugar’s deadly embrace.

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Lose Pounds, Gain Memory

It’s better than a string tied around your finger: A study team has found a link between weight
loss and improved memory.

Researchers led by scientists at Kent State University in Ohio studied 109 people who had bariatric surgery, which reduces the size of the stomach to promote weight loss, along with 41 obese people who didn’t undergo the procedure. After 12 weeks, the surgery patients did better on tests designed to test memory and concentration.

These results are scheduled for publication in an upcoming edition of Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases. The team will test the study participants again two years after their surgeries to see if the improvements hold.

“A lot of the factors that come with obesity, things such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea, that might damage the brain are somewhat reversible. As those problems go away, memory function gets better,” says lead study author John Gunstad, PhD.

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Açai May Ease Joint Pain

Antioxidant-rich açai juice has been associated with reduced joint achiness, according to a study in the Journal of Medicinal Foods.

A multi-institution research team gave 120 milliliters of açai juice every day to 14 older people suffering from varying degrees of joint pain.

After three months, the volunteers experienced lower levels of pain and improvements in range of motion.

In addition, the participants’ antioxidant levels improved within the study’s first two weeks and “continued to improve throughout the 12 weeks of study participation,” say the researchers, led by Gitten Jensen, PhD, of NIS Labs in Klamath Falls, Oregon. What’s more, “antioxidant
status showed the best correlation with improvements in physical health.”

Açai, a berry native to Central and South America, has been the subject of research interest because of its antioxidants and other potentially beneficial compounds, including phytonutrients and healthy fats.

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UPDATES

More from the Maestros

We here at Energy Times are big believers in the therapeutic powers of music. We’ve explored the subject in our October 2008 music issue and in our October 2010 cover feature on Sting. As we like to stay up to date with the artists and personalities who grace our pages, we were happy to check out Sting’s Live in Berlin CD and DVD package (Deutsche Grammophon/Cherrytree). The live setting and audience add another layer of texture to this lush orchestral reimagining of hits, which Sting explored earlier on his Symphonicities (Deutsche Grammophon) studio album. Therapeutic, indeed.


Speaking of the recording studio, Hot Tuna has put out its first studio work in 20 years—and it’s a good one. Hot Tuna features guitar legend Jorma Kaukonen, whose profile appeared in the aforementioned music issue. Steady As She Goes (Red House) features a touching ballad or two that sweetly reflect Kaukonen’s 70 years of amassed wisdom, but Kaukonen, Jack Casady and Co. also show they still know how to growl out great rock and roll. They put some fine, tight musicianship on display doing it.

 

In her book "Nature's Beauty Secrets: Recipes for Beauty Treatments from the World's Best Spas" (Universe), former model Dawn Gallagher offers her own recipes that are takes on spa treatments from around the globe. Her "Nourishing Mud Treatment" is a take on the signature mud treatment at Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica. The recipe, Gallagher says, "will make your skin feel toned and restored to its natural glow." 

Ingredients:

Fuller's earth, volcanic clay or green clay (found at health-food stores and pharmacies)

One teaspoon of avocado or vegetable oil

Directions:

1. Add one part clay to one part water in a ceramic bowl. Mix together.

2. Add one teaspoon of avocado or vegetable oil and apply to the entire body
with a small paintbrush or your hands.

3. Leave on until completely dry (approximately 10 to 15 minutes).

4. Wash off with warm or tepid water and finish with a cold splash.

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