A Harvard study has recently revealed that being a couch potato can really harm your health, setting you up for a significantly increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. The actual sitting in front of the TV is bad because when you are sitting, you are often times eating, mindlessly. So you are taking in too many calories in a day because of this habit. If you are sitting, then you are also not moving, so sitting a lot means you are moving a lot less. Obviously the rare person who watches TV while they exercise may be exempt from this increased health risk, unless they sit down after exercising and begin to eat and not move....for hours.
Another Harvard study recently suggested that certain foods can "make us fat," while other foods "may help us to lose weight." The researchers wanted to track what makes adults gain weight and specifically what habits cause us to gain about a pound a year (which doesn't sound like much but that means 30 pounds in 30 years). Foods associated with the greatest weight gain were:
- Potato chips
- Other potato products
- Sugar-sweetened beverages
- Unprocessed red meats
- Processed meats
The foods associated with weight balance were:
- Whole grains
This research serves to show that not only calories but quality or nutrient density of foods (in the case of yogurt possibly live cultures) help to either spur weight gain or limit weight gain. Most important to note is that an additional 50-150 calories daily, particularly from foods high in refined sugar or fat, is enough to cause slow, insidious and continuous weight gain.
Finally, people who sleep less than 6 hours or more than 8 hours may also have a slightly higher risk of weight gain. Sleep duration and sleep quality has been part of the "weight gain" discussion for some time. Clearly if you are sleeping less than 6 hours you may be stressed, which can also lead to stress eating. Sleeping less than 6 hours may also affect certain hormones associated with weight. Sleeping more than 8 hours on a regular basis may in some individuals be associated with a sedentary lifestyle and less physical activity.
Published On: October 25, 2011