Do you eat more when you are dining in large group? I don’t. In fact I feel awkward when I have to dine in large group or communal gathering even though I already know everybody else there.

Somehow I don’t feel like eating much food when I am in social gathering or some sort. However that's not the case with majority of children according to this research. Children who eat in large group consume 30% more than those who eat in small group.

For most of my friends, I see that they tend to eat faster and much more when they are dining with a group.

According the researchers, the cause of this behavior is the stimulant provided by the sight and sound of others who are engaged in the same activity (eating and talking). Somehow it overrides the satiety signal.

According to their observation, those who eat in large group tend to eat 30% more food, eat faster and don’t pay too much attention to what they eat.

So it’s advisable for children who eat too little to dine more with family and friends to encourage more consumption. While for those who eat too much, it’s advisable to avoid food court and fast food restaurant where the ambient may trigger them to eat more. How about you?

Research from Medical News - Web MD.

Wearing pedometer can help you to lose more weight and improve your physical fitness according to a research.

This small inexpensive device is mainly sold for $15 and can motivate those who are not so physically active to become more active.

The researchers evaluated studies covering 2767 patients who were not physically active. As a result, those who wear pedometer walked over 2100 more steps compared to those who didn’t.

I guess when you are wearing pedometer then you become motivated to walk more steps and see that little number adds up. This is especially true when you have goal such as walking 10,000 steps everyday.

"Much to my surprise, these little devices were shown to increase physical activity by just over 2,000 steps, or about 1 mile of walking per day." (ref: Medical News)

While 2100 more steps or one more mile may not seem to be a significant improvement, it equals to 27% increase of physical activity according to the researchers. It’s amazing how simple idea can beef up your exercise and your health. Go wear one and aim to walk specific number of steps today!

Research Abstract
Image from: Omron HJ-112 Pedometer - Amazon

It’s amazing how simple idea can actually becomes the solution of our problem. And it’s even more amazing to see the inventors profit so much just by mass producing simple idea to solve our problem. Portion control plays an important role in our dieting, and many people have problem in applying it. A UK based company decided to monetize on that fact and created simple plate with marked area for different food.

According to a study quoted by BBC, diabetics who used this marked diet plate lost more than 1.75% of their body weight compared to 0.05% (who relied on will power alone).

Sounds like a good product, but there’s one catch. It is expensive. Priced at $30, I think that’s way too expensive for plate.

But you can look it from another point of view too, people have spent A LOT OF money on various dieting products and plans that $30 seems to be insignificant. In fact I like the idea of this marked diet plate better than any drugs or expensive diet food.

Via That's Fit.

Update: Another competitor has sold similar plate for cheaper price here.

Happy Thanksgiving for those who are celebrating. While there's nothing stopping from overindulging yourself, remember that Thanksgiving doesn't last all season. Rome wasn't built in a day, your diet won't be devastated in a day either. But if you end up indulging on the left over for the next 7 days then chance is you will gain a lot of weight.

Enjoy yourself and celebrate it properly. Just remember to get back on track tomorrow. Remember you still have Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year (for those who celebrate it), so there are more feasts coming ahead.

For Thanksgiving link love:

Dinner on calorie budget
Turkey Trivia
Thanksgiving Prayer
5 Easy Ways to Enjoy Thanksgiving
Move Move! on Thanksgiving

I was tagged by Shern’s Mom to share few health tips and give my thoughts on the existing tips. I was supposed to only bold the tips that I agree with and add few more pointers but I couldn’t help commenting on the existing tips on the tags.

Here are the existing health tips by previous tags particpants (I am supposed to copy the whole thing):

Copy the whole thing, skim the list and put a * star beside those that you like. (check out especially the * starred ones.) Share one of your own health tip (tip on how to be more healthy) with others. Try to make your tip short but informative. Tag at least 2 person.
My response is written in italic below each of the points.

1. Be happy - Everyday health and beauty

2. Be contented with what God Bless us – chanelwong
I guess if becoming human with no ambition makes you healthy then so be it.

3. Be faithful – Ruth
While I have nothing against being faithful, I just don’t see how it can help your health if you don’t do something about it anyway.

4. Laugh a lot – Chinnee
Laughing is a good practice to reduce stress, just make sure there’s something to laugh about.

5. Take time out for rest and relaxation – Kiasumum *

6. A real work out for sweating - Dora *

7. Don't worry, worryin is like a rockin chair, it gives you somethin to do, but it gets you nowhere. - shern's mom *
Agree. Better wording is, worrying won’t solve any problem so you need to take action thus solving the problem and making your life somehow a little less stressful.

Now it’s my turn:

8. Do your household chores. Doing household chores is a great (although not fun) way to burn additional calories and making your house a little more inhabitable.

9. Can’t stop snacking? Next time eat the snack from the plate instead of the bag.

10. Have enough sleep. It’s vital for your body and health in general. In fact people who sleep less than 4 hours at night are 74% more prone to obesity in the long run (ref).

11. Get a dose of early morning sun daily. It warms you up and it’s great for your skin and body.

12. Sushi is godly.

I am tagging Curry Egg and LifeLongSharing for these tags. Copy the entire list, endorse the one that you like and add some pieces of your thought.

A Welsh woman is banned from entering New Zealand to join her husband who has been hired there. Rowan Trevize’s visa had been denied because the government deemed her as too fat. Her husband has already left to New Zealand after struggling to lose two inches through crash diet in order to meet the requirement.

“When the couple first tried to gain entry to the country they were told that they were both overweight and were a potential burden on the health care system. Reference

If Rowan still can’t lose weight in December, her husband has already stated that he would abandon the idea of moving to New Zealand and would come back to Wales.

New Zealand officials uses BMI to assess people weight require that immigrants should not be burden for the country’s health care. I completely agree with New Zealand’s policy on this issue, what’s the point of letting migrants enter when they can become potential burden for health care.

Another issue is the usage of BMI as measurement tool. Muscular people with high BMI can potentially fall into the ‘overweight’ category due to high muscular mass. Of course some would say that she should be allowed to enter with the consequence of not receiving any health care and insurance.

What do you think about such policy? Do you think she should be allowed to enter?

1. Refined Carbs

Refined carbohydrates refer to grain based foods where machinery has been used to remove the bran and the germ of the grain.

Examples of these foods are white rice, white bread, noodles and pasta. These foods cause our insulin production to increase and crash our blood sugar. When blood sugar crashes, we’ll crave for more food later on.

2. Boring Food

Often when we have eaten a LARGE meal which consists of just a type of food, we find that we still have place left for ice cream and a little dessert.

This is because our body and mind still craves for sweet. Rather than over eating the dessert, try to have more variety in the meals.

Prepare a small plate of fruit beforehand and eat it during your dinner, if you really need to have dessert, prepare a sensible portion of it beforehand. I find that I tend to eat more dessert if I don't prepare it beforehand.

3. Heat

When temperature drops low, our body sends a signal to our brain that we need to eat in order to increase our body temperature. The colder it is, the more that you want to eat. That’s why a lot of people gain weight during winter, coupled with holiday and a couple of festive dinners, weight can rise significantly during this period.

4. Perception

We often associate bigger plate with more food. Unconsciously we would eat more food if we were given bigger plate to start with. In fact, we also eat more when we eat snack directly from the package, regardless the size of the package. Read about the perception factors here.

5. Suppressed Craving

When you try to banish food that you crave, you will end up eating more of it in the future. At least that’s what a study quoted by BBC suggested. This rebound effect is also imminent in smokers too. The lesson, don’t banish it completely but eat it in controlled portion.

Holiday season is coming and it’s time for the wacky soda company, Jones Soda Co, to release their holiday pack. Last Christmas they have showcased fine arrays of soda products such as green pea, gravy, and potato soda.

This Christmas their flagship products will be ham, Christmas tree and sugar plum soda. For Hanukkah, dough nut flavored soda seems to be their flagship product.

While it does sound disgusting, out of curiosity I badly want to try ham flavored soda.

There’s even one more flavor that fickle my curiosity, according to CNN they have released dirt flavored soda in the past. Can’t seem to find it in their website though. What about you? Do you think you’ll dare to drink one?

Struggling to do your household chores? Are you lazy to vacuum your house on regular basis?

Try doing your daily household chores diligently and you can burn around 50.261 calories in a year.

In a study involving 3000 respondents, researchers found that people walk more than 22 miles in a year while they are cleaning their houses. In addition, the researchers also concluded that domestic household chores such as vacuuming and ironing translate into 6800 calories burned in a year.

“Keeping the house tidy annually burns the same number of calories found in 603 glasses of wine, 192 bars of chocolate, 369 cans of fizzy drink, 146 cheeseburgers or 394 packs of crisps.” Ref

Although one can’t expect to lose weight simply by doing household chores, a little more movement and extra calories burned can’t hurt either. Here’s a list of household chores which burn the most calories from DailyMail. Don’t ask me how laundry can burn freaking 9000 calories in a year (when all you need to do is to press a button and wait).

Over a year domestic chores were found to provide the same amount of exercise as spending 57 hours running at 8.5 miles an hour. That's about one hour running per week.

pumpkin pieThanksgiving can be a nightmare for those who are in calorie budget. It’s often touted as the most fattening day in the year beside New Year. Since Thanksgiving is less than 2 weeks away, here are few tips to help dieters enjoy their Thanksgiving without overindulging themselves.

1. Limit your alcohol intake.
Alcohol calories can add up really fast. Not to mention that many drinks are high in calories. Limit your alcohol intake and stay sober.

2. No Finger Food
Many appetizers are high in calories. Keep in mind that you will be consuming a lot of calories in your main course. It’s harder to limit your portion on appetizer compared to on main course. It’s hard not to grab another appetizer if you have just had your first bite. Exceptions: seafood and vegetables.

3. Don’t starve yourself beforehand
Many people already reckon that since they will be overeating during the party, it’s better to starve themselves prior to the party so that their calories intake won’t soar to the roof. The fact is, if you are starved it’s hard not to have a second or triple helping on anything. Eat a normal breakfast and don’t arrive at the
celebration in starvation.

4. Don’t set yourself an impossible goal
Come to the celebration with the right mindset. It’s a holiday - change your mentality from weight loss to sensible eating.

5. Be selective
There will be plenty of delicious dishes on the table so take a look first on the choices and decide which one and how much that you want to eat beforehand. Prioritize seasonal dishes over everyday dishes.

6. Eat slowly
Take your time and allow your stomach to send signal to your brain whether you are full or not. Eat slowly and savor the food.

7. Portion Sizing
MSNBC has published a guide on how your plate should look like. A serving of turkey no larger than a deck of playing cards and half a cup each of two starches. (A half-cup is about the size of a computer mouse.)

Thinking of reaching water after your workout session? Hang on, recent research has just unveiled that beer is actually better than water in replenishing your body following a workout session.

The researcher from Granada University, Spain claimed that the bubbles in beer help quenching the thirst while the carbohydrate can quickly replace lost calories.

Participants were asked to run on treadmill in a hot condition (temperature 40 C) until they were exhausted. The he divided the participants into two groups; the first group was given water while the second group was given beer. The researcher concluded that beer is slightly better than water in rehydrating.

This fact is hard to believe and even harder to practice for me.

First of all if you are maintaining or trying to lose your weight, why waste hours and hours in the gym if you are going to recoup half of the calories your burn by drinking beer immediately?

Second, beer wouldn’t taste very nice on my mouth if I have just exercised for hours and feeling thirsty. Heck drinking beer often makes me thirstier. As a matter of replenishing, there are plenty of electrolytes drinks which taste better than beer after a workout.

Last, I can't tolerate beer on empty stomach. After a workout, chance is my stomach will be empty. Drinking beer on empty stomach will only make it goes straight to my blood. I get nasty stomachache either if I drink beer on empty stomach.

What do you think? Will you consume beer after your workout?

Via Orlando Sentinel Blog.

Related video: Watch the Beer Diet Guide!

Rather than buying cheap plastic lousy diet fork, here’s a cutlery that has dual purpose. Of course what it remains speculative on what we should do with this cutlery.

I guess it can enhance your masculinity, wrench = man, eat food with wrench = uber manly, right? Another use would be as a diet tool. Simply just eat with the tool end and you’ll eat way much slower, harder thus lesser. And of course you won’t chuck it away since it costs $24 each. You will need to pay almost $100 for four pieces of this wrench-cutlery.

Via ToolMonger - by Wrenchware

It’s no secret that fruit is good to your health, but not all fruits are created equal. Some fruits are high in extra sugar content that you probably don’t need. Sugar content is measured by glycemic index (GI), generally everything under 55 is considered low in GI. Fruits listed here will have GI value less than 45. Here are my top 6 favorite fruits which are low in sugar content and taste delicious also (in no particular order).

1. Avocado

Glycemic index is less than 15. This green, meaty fruit is loaded with oleic acid which has the ability to lower cholesterol.

On top of that, avocado is heart healthy. It’s loaded with folate, an important nutrient to your health. You can literally mix avocado with anything, slice it, dice it, puree it and mix it with your salad, steak or simply make a delicious refreshing avocado juice.

2. Tomato

Glycemic index is less than 15. Lycopene in tomato is a cancer busting anti-oxidant. 100 gram of tomato contains 18 calories according to calorie counter. Similar to avocado, you can literally mix tomato with anything. My favorite is to make quick 5 minutes Gazpacho (cold tomato soup).

3. Grapefruit

Glycemic index is 25. This sour and tangy heaven is rich in vitamin C and lycopene. 100 gram of this pink fruit contains approximately 32 calories.
Other than squeezing the fruit for the juice or topping it with sugar (try low calorie sugar substitute), you can also use the grapefruit to ceviche fish (sprinkling it on fish).

4. Plum

Glycemic index is 24. Plum is rich in phenols, antioxidant substance which protect your cell. Other than that, plum is an excellent source of vitamin C.

Even the dried plum, prune, still yields similar antioxidant and tastes excellent too. Beware of additional sugar content when purchasing packaged prune. 100 gram of fresh plum contains approximately 46 calories.

5. Apples

Glycemic index is 35. This is a great fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth. Apple is an excellent source of fiber, in fact one small apple is estimated to contain 2.5 g of fiber, approximately 10% of our daily recommended fiber intake. Apple juice is also one of the most refreshing and versatile drink that I ever had. Add diced apple to your salad or just take one for snack daily.

6. Cherry

Glycemic index is 22. One cup of cherry contains 74 calories. What I love about this fruit is its sweet but elegant scent.

On top of that, cherry has nice color; you can literally garnish most dishes and drinks with cherry. Be wary of dried cherry since it is often loaded with additional coloring and sugar.

A tin of sardine flavored pet food doesn't sound appealing to us, human. But it turns out that pet food isn't only good for your pet's health but also to yours as well, research suggested.

In a test conducted to measure fat, salt and sugar level in 30 human meals versus 15 brands of pet food, pet food scored better in term of healthiness compared to fast food.

Nutrition experts discovered that Gourmet Gold cat food has just 2.9g of fat per 100g ? a mouth-watering EIGHT TIMES less than the percentage found in pieces of KFC. The level of fat was also far lower than a McDonald’s Big Mac and a Pizza Hut meal. (ref)

Gourmet Cat food

Fat: 2.9g
Salt: 0.4g
Sugar: 0.4g
Protein: 7.7g
Fiber: 0.4g

KFC two chicken pieces & fries

Fat: 12g
Salt: 0.7g
Sugar: n/a
Protein: 12.2g
Fiber: n/a

Cesar dog food

Fat: 4.4g
Salt: 0.4
Sugar: 0.5g
Protein: 10.9g
Fiber: 0.7g

If pets have the same lifespan as human, would they live longer and healthier than us? But life as pet got to be boring, imagine eating the same food for the rest of your life. Perhaps that's the reason pets die at 10 - 15 years, out of boredom.

Rate dog pictures here.

Do you have a soft spot for certain food? If so, perhaps your gene is the one to blame according to researchers. The researchers at Kings College found a similar eating pattern between twins.

The research itself only analyzed twin as case study, but using the research result, the researchers pointed that genetics play a great part in determining preferred foods. This conclusion challenged the belief that our food preference is formed by our neighborhood. Furthermore, the researchers pinned that 41% - 48% of our food preference is influenced by gene.

The findings, and other similar research, pointed to genetics playing a "moderate" part in the development of preferred foods. She said that it was possible that genes involved with taste, or the "reward" chemicals released by the body in response to certain foods, might play a role. People have always made the assumption that food choices are all due to environmental factors during life, but it now seems this isn't the case. (ref)

While the researchers believe that environmental factors have little effect to food choices, I disagree. Educating children about healthy food can make significant impact in their food choices.

If they live in an environment where junk food is treated as daily staple, then they will grow up thinking the same. Environment still plays a great role regardless of the genetics. This research only means that greater efforts must be placed to influence one’s eating habit and improve self control.

Full story on BBC

edamame beanRecently I just got addicted to edamame. The reason was, I just found out that they actually cost very cheap if you know where to buy. Traditionally restaurant here has been selling a handful of edamame for $2 which was expensive for me.

I just found that I could get a bucket for just less than $1. On top of that, edamame tastes better than its soybean compatriots and loaded with tons of health benefit. For instance, edamame is good source of protein, fiber and mineral which actually tastes sweeter than other soybeans.

Here’s the nutritional information of 100g Edamame (from & HS):

Calories 125.0
Protein 12.1
Fiber 9
Carbohydrates 13.1
Fat 3.6
Calcium 9.3
Iron 2.7
Sodium 5.0
Vitamin A 130.0
Vitamin U1 0.31
Vitamin C 40.0

edamame soybeanAs you can see it’s packed in fiber (you need 4 slices of whole wheat bread to get the same amount of fiber). Adult needs 20 – 35 grams of fiber in a day, simply by snacking edamame can provide you with a boost in fiber.

Some researches suggested that edamame can ward of bad cholesterol and promote good cholesterol as well as reducing insulin resistance (for people with diabetes).Edamame have become a part of my daily snack now. I always have this as a companion snack whenever I am watching DVD or reading book.

To cook edamame into a delicious snack, you just need to boil it with salted water. Then let it cool for a while or just serve it when it’s piping hot. I also love adding edamame into my salad bowl or serve it with sautéed vegetables for a quick and delicious side dish.

I believe I’ve seen the worse when I saw caffeine infused pantyhose being marketed as weight loss solution until I saw this slimming soap. The sellers claim that this weight loss soap contains elixirs of various undersea plants (they don’t bother to tell us what various undersea plants are) and seaweed.

The marketers shamelessly plug this seaweed infused soap as magical weight loss soap by describing how seaweed can penetrate to your skin and wash away the fat. If this is true, I am sure I’ll be thin as a rake over a month since I often shower three times in a day during this hot weather.

I have nothing against seaweed at all. In fact, I understand that seaweed has many nutrients and minerals which are beneficial to our body. But if someone comes to me and tells that I can wash away the extra pounds just by applying the soap, well I’ll just regard with upmost skepticism.

This seaweed bar is priced at $7.95 here which is expensive, I’ll choose my ‘magicless’ soap anytime and use the money to buy real edible seaweed!

It’s easy enough to make money these days, just invent something and insert the word diet into the product and voila, your lousy product suddenly becomes premium product which you can sell at higher price.

Read more offbeat diet stories.

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