Category Archives: Healthy Eating

Cold Weather May Help Burn Fat, New Study Finds

A new study has found that increased vitamin A and cold temperatures may encourage fat burning.

The study, appearing in Molecular Metabolism, sought to uncover the effects of vitamin A and cold temperatures had on changing white fat (how the body stores extra calories) to brown fat which starts the fat burning process and heat generation.

Most—90%–of the body’s fat stores are white fat. This is store in abdomen, bottom, and upper thighs.

The study found that cold temperatures increased vitamin A levels which starts the process of converting white fat to brown fat which, theoretically leads to fat burning and weight loss. Vitamin A is mostly stored in the liver.

In the study mice were used as subjects. When subjected to colder temperatures their vitamin A levels and its blood transporter (retinal-binding protein) which resulted in a higher rate of fat burning when the white fat began to transform to brown fat when the body began to try and keep itself warm.

On the other side of the coin when the vitamin A transporter was blocked in the mice they were not able to protect themselves from cold meaning their bodies couldn’t convert white fat to brown.


Berkeley, CA Restricts Junk Food Sales In Retail Checkouts With New Ordinance

Berkeley, California is set to become the first city to ban the selling of junk food and candy in the checkout aisles. This is part of a larger health initiative. The new legislation is expected to be effect March 2021

The Healthy Check Out Ordinance was approved in a unanimous vote by the city council. It will require that any store bigger than 2,500 square-feet needs to have 25 square-feet of healthier items within a three-foot radius of the registers. This effectively making it impossible make room for the junk food and candy which has traditionally lined checkout spaces.

Berkeley shoppers can expect to see “junk” replaced by whole grain alternatives to snacks, lower calorie beverages and perhaps even fresh fruit when the checkout. The city council noted that shoppers are more likely to give in to junk food at the end of their shopping trip when they are tired and their willpower may be low.

25 large retailers in Berkeley are likely to be affected. These include brands like Whole Foods, Walgreens, CVS and Safeway.

The city council wanted to make it clear that this is not a ban. These stores are free to sell candy, junk food and soda but within the restrictions of the new ordinance and not at your child’s eye level when you are checking out.

They also pointed out the tests around the country in different stores have shown an increase in healthier buying choices when such restrictions are put into place.


Mental Health Break: Fat Bear Week is Back!

Amid anxiety about the pandemic and the coming election we could all use a break, a distraction. This is the one we all deserve. The so-called “Fat Bear Week” is back. This is an annual competition held by Alaska’s Katmai National Park. The goal? To crown the chubbiest bear in the Brook River.

This will be 7th annual Fat Bear Week. It is what some would call a full-on competition with chubby brown bears going tummy to tummy in bracketed tournament. The voting begins on 30 Sep. 2020. You can participate here .  The final winner will be picked on 6 Oct. 2020.

Newcomers to the competition should understand that for bears gaining weight before hibernation is very important for their health. The National Park Service stated there is no shame in winning this contest as those large amounts of body fat in brown bears is a sign of good health and having a strong chance of survival.

Alaskan Brown Bears are the world’s largest of the variety and usually weigh between 600-900 lbs. They are typically half their weight by the time the come out of hibernation in spring.


SpaghettiOs: Salve for the Human Heart

Though we usually don’t think of canned pasta as health food, for one Massachusetts mom SpaghettiOs have calmed both her and her autistic daughter’s souls during the pandemic. Because her autistic daughter’s routine has been so sorely interrupted it is the only food she will eat and it has been in short supply during the pandemic.

While many went crazy buying toilet paper and hand sanitizer, Crystal MacDonald had just one product she needed to find: SpaghettiOs. Her daughter, Ashlyn, is mostly nonverbal and the 11-year-old has taken comfort during the pandemic in SpaghettiOs with meatballs.

MacDonald believes that because food is a more intense experience for her daughter than the average person that the SpaghettiOs are the only food with the right balance of texture and flavor she could handle. Without her routine, which is vital to her daughter’s and many other autistic people’s mental health, she couldn’t handle eating other foods. MacDonald believes the predictability of taste and texture bring Ashlyn a sense of control in these troubling times.

When local stores ran dry MacDonald spent her time calling or visiting up to 20 out of the way stores each day. Eventually she took her quest to social media and the Sun Chronicle eventually featured MacDonald in a August piece about food shortages amidst the pandemic.

MacDonald has already received hundreds of cans in support and the Campbell’s Soup Company has now heard of her story and is committed to sending MacDonald and Ashlynd a one-year supply of the calming SpaghettiOs.


A New Poll Investigates How Pets Help Us During the Pandemic

According to a new study 70% of people who spent a lot of time with their pets during the pandemic feel like they know them much better.

Many recorded behavioral changes in their pets, 60% in fact. 27% said their pet’s behavior improved while 17% claimed it had gotten worse. The study found that during the pandemic 36% percent had more active pets, 31% thought they were acting needy, and 27% of people reported they had trouble going up or down stairs while 26% of those polled reported behavior based in curiosity.

With the incredible increase in pet adoptions and people spending lots of time at home it is probably no great surprise that almost 3/4th of those polled (72%) said that they wouldn’t have gotten through stay at home orders with out their pets.

The survey polled 2,000 dog and cat owners of which 81% said their pets helped keep their morale up. They said the rocky period made them feel closer to their pets.

However, these pet owners are now concerned about their furry pals when they go back to work and to life. 70% reported that they thought their pets liked the extra time their owners were at home and it has 66% worried their pets won’t react well to them not being around as much.

56% of people say they plan to stay home more to lessen the sudden shock to their pets if they had suddenly returned to their normal lives. About 33% said they plan to take their pets with them more often when the leave and almost half (42%) said they would continue to work from home after the pandemic.