Food photos can make you lose your appetite
By looking at photos of food, people may actually reduce their appetite by making them feel as if they’re full, concludes a new study.
The research, published in The Journal of Consumer Psychology, suggests that people might want to think twice before looking at food photos, whether in a magazine or on social media sites, especially before a meal.
Researchers from Brigham Young University and the University of Minnesota examined the effects of food photos on appetite, using more than 200 participants. Half of the participants were shown 60 pictures of sweet foods, including cake, truffles and chocolates. The other half were shown 60 pictures of salty foods, including French fries, potato chips and pretzels.
After looking at the photos, all of the participants were given salty peanuts to eat and rate how much they enjoyed eating the peanuts. Results showed that the participants who looked at the pictures of salty foods enjoyed the peanuts much less than the participants who looked at the pictures of sweet foods.
The reason for the results, according to the researchers, is that being over-exposed to pictures of food increases a person’s satiation, defined as a “reduction in enjoyment as a result of repeated consumption.”
The findings suggest that it is best to avoid looking at too many food-related photos if a person wants to enjoy a meal. On the other hand, a person may want to look at pictures of a certain food if he or she is trying to avoid eating it, the scientists said.
Bad sleep habits linked to chronic diseases
The number of hours that people sleep each night could affect their risk of developing certain chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and anxiety, according to new research.
While many studies have found that getting too little sleep has a negative impact on health, this study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that getting too much sleep–which the study defined as 10 or more hours—can be just as bad as getting too little sleep, or six or fewer hours.
In the study, published in the journal SLEEP, researchers examined data on more than 54,000 people ages 45 and older. Participants who slept an average of six hours a night had more coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and mental distress than “optimal sleepers”—people who slept between six and nine hours a night.
But the findings also showed that those who slept for 10 hours or more a night had even more chronic diseases than people who slept too little.
Getting an “optimal” amount of sleep—between seven and nine hours, according to the researchers-- is especially important for people who already have a chronic condition. For people who have both a chronic disease and a sleep condition, such as apnea or insomnia, seeking proper treatment is crucial.
Making eye contact may be "counterproductive"
Making eye contact with someone may not be as an effective way of persuading others to agree with you as previously thought, according to new research.
Common belief among American culture often views eye contact as a powerful tool when trying to persuade or convince a disagreeing party. However, the study, published in an online issue of Psychological Science, suggests that making eye contact can actually reinforce disagreement and decrease the power of persuasion.
Researchers conducted two experiments to examine the effects of eye contact in different situations involving persuasion.
In the first experiment, they had participants watch videos of public speakers giving persuasive social and political speeches, while they tracked the viewers’ eye movements. Their findings showed that the more eye contact the viewers made with the speakers, the less likely they were to be convinced of the speakers’ points of view.
In the second experiment, participants looked at either the speakers’ eyes or mouths during the speech. Findings confirmed those from the first experiment, as viewers who looked at speakers’ mouths were more likely to be persuaded by the speech than when they made eye contact.
Walking may significantly cut breast cancer risk
Women who walk for an hour a day may reduce their risk of breast cancer more than women who don’t, according to a new study.
The research, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, is the first of its kind to show that reduced breast cancer risk is linked specifically to walking.
The study followed more than 73,000 women ages 50 to 74, who were recruited back in the 90’s by the American Cancer Society. The women were asked to fill out questionnaires on their health and activity levels, including how much they walked, swam and did aerobics and how much time they spent being sedentary. Participants filled out the same questionnaires every two years between 1997 and 2009.
Findings showed that women who said they walked for at least seven hours per week lowered their risk of breast cancer by 14 percent, compared to women who walked for three or fewer hours per week.
Dr. Alpa Patel, lead researcher of the study and a senior epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society, said the study suggests that promoting walking as a healthy activity could be an effective strategy for lowering breast cancer, especially among post-menopausal women.
Binge drinking slows healing of broken bones
Drinking too much alcohol can slow down the healing process of bone fractures, a new study concludes.
The research, presented during the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research’s annual meeting in Baltimore, is the first of its kind to show how alcohol slows bone healing on cellular and molecular levels.
Researchers used mice to examine the effects of alcohol consumption on bone healing. They exposed one group of mice to alcohol levels equating to about three times the legal limit for driving. In the control group, researchers exposed mice to equal amounts of salt water.
The findings showed that alcohol impaired the healing process of bone fractures in three ways. First, in the mice exposed to alcohol, the bone tissue surrounding the fractured bones were less mineralized, which means that not as much bone was forming. The bone that did form was not as strong as the healing bones in the control group mice.
Secondly, the mice exposed to alcohol experienced more oxidative stress, which impairs normal cellular functions. And thirdly, the mice that were exposed to alcohol had lower levels of a certain protein that plays a significant role in the bone’s healing abilities.
Researchers said that they are planning a follow-up experiment, in which they would test two potential treatments for countering the negative effects of alcohol on bone healing.