Can vegetarians get enough protein? What about antibiotics in meat? Do artificial sweeteners cause cancer? These are just a few of the questions that people often ask me in their quest for eating more healthily and adhering to a quality diet. They feel so confused by the plethora of conflicting messages they are receiving. To dispel some of this confusion, respected food and nutrition experts addressed some hot topics at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ (AND) 2015 Convention.
We do it twice a year without giving it too much thought. Come spring, we turn our clocks by one hour forward, in autumn we dial them back again. It’s called daylight saving time, and it affects about 1.5 billion people around the globe. For the vast majority no particular problems arise from this, but time changes do affect everyone who is exposed to them in more or less noticeable ways.
The fact that people make (or have to make) themselves constantly available via cell phones and social media increases the risk of “burnout,” commonly defined as physical or mental collapse by overwork or stress, experts warn. The pressure of always being within reach can affect how our brains function. Over time, this may lead to lasting damages. To counteract this, we need regular brakes and time out to recover.
You would have thought, “the older, the wiser.” But when it comes to diet and lifestyle choices, today’s young people seem to be doing better than any living generation before them. As surveys show, consumers in their 20s and early 30s have the greatest interest in the nutritional quality of their food as well as how it is produced and how it impacts the environment.
You may get a headache, be unable to concentrate, become annoyed over seemingly simple things. Your heart races, you break a sweat, feel anxious and unsettled for no particular reason. And then you realize that it’s just awfully loud where you are. It’s called noise pollution, and it can do serious damage to both your physical and mental well-being.
For most of my career as a dietitian and health counselor I have paid much attention to the deficiencies in my clients’ diet and lifestyle choices and how these could be changed for the better. Over the years, however, I began focusing more on what went right in their lives and how their strengths could be utilized in order to overcome their weaknesses. You may say I applied (unknowingly) what is now known as “positive psychology.”
While much research has been done on the health effects of stress, surprisingly little is known about what happens when people are no longer able to cope with the challenges life throws at them. Yet, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a phenomenon commonly known as ‘burnout’ affects ever-growing parts of the population.
When it comes to treating weight problems, even experts believe that similar methods can be applied almost universally: Put your patients on a diet, have them engage in regular exercise, and, if all else fails, recommend some surgical procedure. What gets rarely looked at are the differences between overweight individuals that may have led to their unhealthy weight gain in the first place. Only one such study has recently been published, and the results are eye-opening.