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It’s Bladder Cancer Awareness Month: Time to Share My Story

25/05/2018 helen 0

May is Bladder Cancer Awareness Month. It’s time to share my personal story. Bladder cancer is the sixth most common cancer (and 11th most common for women)—a cancer I never knew existed until I was told six months ago that “you have bladder cancer.” Not something I wanted to hear on the eve of my 60th birthday.

You Have Bladder Cancer
I asked my urologist Dr. F three times if he really said the “C” word. Mind you, I had never seen a urologist before.

“Did you say cancer?” I asked Dr. F after my surgery to remove a tumor from my bladder.  

“Yes, it looks like cancer,” said Dr. F.

Why me? Men are more likely to develop bladder cancer than women. I am not a smoker, and during my full-time career I wasn’t in an environment where I was exposed to certain harmful substances—two of the risk factors. 

According to BladderCancer.net, people who are older are at a higher risk for developing bladder cancer—around 90% of people diagnosed with it are over the age of 55. I’m over 50, guess that’s me! “You live in New Jersey. It’s the chemical capital of the U.S,.” said my friend L. Ugh, that’s right!  

 This post originally appeared on aboomerslifeafter50.com.

 

 

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How to Make the Most of Living a Longer Life

21/05/2018 helen 0
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“Current 10-year-olds may age to be 104,” said Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO of AARP, as she kicked off a conversation about longevity at the 2018 AARP Disrupt Aging: The Implications of Living 100 Forum, powered by Forbes and held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., last month. 

 The event featured presentations with leading experts in health, tech, work and personal finance, education and policy to discuss one simple question: If you knew you were going to live to 100, what would you do differently today?

 Implications of Living 100

With this overriding question, each speaker challenged us to shift how we think about our own aging and rethink how we earn, learn, connect and live in the present. The facts and figures were staggering. Here goes:

  •  In 1960, 9 percent of the U.S. population was over age 65. In 2060, that number will grow to 24 percent. “You’re either going to be a caregiver or need caregiving,” said Jo Ann. Ooh, ooh, ooh, I’ll be in the ‘need caregiving’ if I live that long and will be over 100! How about you?
  •  By 2030, the first Boomers will turn 85, the first Gen Xers will turn 65 and the first Millennials will turn 50. Ooh, ooh, ooh, Ill be in my early 70s and my kids will be in their 40s. How old will you be? 

  •  The 50 and over category is worth $15 trillion, and $7.6 trillion of annual activity is done by post-50 people in the U.S. Wow-o-wow, we’re worth a lot, and we’re sure active individuals!
  •  Seventy-five percent of Boomers in the U.S. plan to work past 65, and many will have two, three or four careers in their lifetime. Hmm, I started out as a magazine editor, then I went into public relations, then corporate communications. Now I’m a blogger and yoga instructor. Where are you on your career spectrum?

Jo Ann Jenkins is the CEO of AARP.

“How does the perspective of a longer life make you feel?” Jo Ann asked. “We need to challenge the negative attitudes around aging, including behaviors, social norms, culture and more. We need to disrupt aging, giving people the opportunity to look forward to it, not fear it,” she said. “It’s about how we live—not how long we live. What if we didn’t have the word retirement?” Ooh, ooh, ooh, Jo Ann, can you think of another word to call retirement? I agree, I don’t like that word either! I retired from my full-time job five years ago, but I don’t consider myself retired. I have so many passions I’m pursuing.

Are you ready to disrupt aging?

Jo Ann noted that the average age of graduation from college is 23. “What if colleges offered lifetime subscriptions?” she said. Ooh, ooh, ooh, I wish I could go back to Cornell and not have to pay so much money for a course, especially since I paid off my student loan.

“Think of the concept of having more time as lifespace,” said Jo Ann. It was time to open our workbooks and do some reflecting. I’ll share the question so you can reflect too.

Reflection:
What’s one dream you have for yourself in your later years? Write out that dream in as much detail as possible.

Read more about AARP’s Disrupt Aging event from writer Sheryl Kraft.  

How are you going to make the most of your lifespace?

Evolution of Longevity
With the audience fully engaged and ready and wanting to disrupt aging, Jonathan Stevens, Senior Vice President, Thought Leadership, AARP, took the stage to share powerful data and trends in longevity over the past century.

AARP’s Jonathan Stevens shared longevity trends.

“What’s past is prologue,” Jonathan said quoting Shakespeare. “The past sets the context for the present.” He spoke about how over the last century, life expectancy has practically doubled, citing such changes as environmental improvements with cleaner water and cleaner air, penicillin and vaccines to treat disease, increased education with more access to universities, seat belts to reduce car deaths, and “smoke-free zones” to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke, as contributors to longer life. 

Referencing the Industrial Revolution from 1850 to 1950, Jonathan said, “Over the 100 years, life expectancy saw a 2.5 year increase every decade.” For example, according to records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, life expectancy at birth in the U.S. between 1850 and 1880 ranged between 38.3 and 44.0 years (for both sexes combined) and increased to 68 in 1950. “Despite occasional setbacks, we have continued on a path to longer life,” said Jonathan.

Children today could live to 100 and beyond. 

“We can project from the past into the future,” said Jonathan, as he speculated that by 2070 that number could reach 100 as long as we continue to invest in health, education and medical research.

After all those stunning statistics, we were asked to reflect. Do you want to join me? 

Reflection:
If you knew you’d live to 100, what changes would you make to your life now? 
 

To what degree would you change your approach to your career and how you earn, your education and how you learn, and your social life and how you connect with others? 

Would you not change your approach? Would you slightly tweak it? Would you do a radical change? Or, do you not know?

This post originally appeared on aboomerslifeafter50.com.

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Signs of a Panic Attack

11/05/2018 helen 0

You’re about to give a presentation at a big work conference. You start sweating, shaking and trembling. Or maybe your heart starts pounding as you’re about to give a speech at your husband’s 50th birthday party. You may be having a panic attack.  A p…

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Self-Care Activities That Won’t Break the Bank

05/05/2018 helen 0

You may dream of days at the spa being fawned over by a masseuse, nail technician and skin care specialist. You sigh, reminding yourself that a spa day isn’t in the cards financially right now. You’re saving for college, a vacation, a mortgage. Pricey self-care activities just aren’t in your budget.

Think again. Self-care doesn’t have to be a luxury. It’s something that you can—and should—practice daily to keep yourself in good health. And that doesn’t mean it has to be expensive. 

You can do some inexpensive or free things every day to manage your overall well-being. Even if you can afford expensive types of self-care, you should still make time for these little acts of self-care regularly. It’s good for the body and mind. Find out why we all need to practice self-care.

Here are a few ways to take care of yourself—without breaking the bank. 

  1. Lose yourself in a book. Check one out from the library on a topic you’re interested in but have never taken the time to learn about. Or, grab your favorite tale from your bookshelf or e-book collection and read a chapter.
  2. Listen to some relaxing tunes—classical or whatever genre soothes you. Music contributes to a healthy mind and body by lifting your mood, improving your concentration and promoting relaxation. 
  3. Make a call. When was the last time you made a phone call to someone instead of texting them? Buzz your mom, dad or best friend just to say hello. It will boost the well-being of both of you.
  4. Purge clothing in your closet that you haven’t worn in years. Donate the pieces to a charitable cause. Organizing aspects of your life can give you a sense of relief, calmness and peace, especially when you donate to a good cause.
  5. Pick one item on your to-do list and get it done. You’ll feel a burden lifted off your shoulders.
  6. Do a random act of kindness. Fill someone’s parking meter or buy the person behind you in line at the coffee shop a cup.
  7. Unplug for a whole day. Can’t conquer that? Try staying off social media for an evening.
  8. Meditate with a free app or a video on YouTube. Meditation can help reduce stress and manage physical issues like headaches and chronic pain. Here are meditation tricks for busy bodies.
  9. Get up 10 to 15 minutes earlier. It might seem difficult at first. But the extra free time in your day will likely feel like a luxury. Use the minutes to read or sit in peace. Avoid looking at your phone until the time is up. 
  10. Drink a cup of hot tea. Tea drinking is a common ritual with proof in the numbers—158 million Americans enjoy a cup on any given day. It’s estimated that over 80 billion servings of tea, or 3.6 billion gallons, were consumed in America last year alone. Here’s how to enjoy a cup of tea.
  11. Lie on the grass and soak in the sun (wearing sunscreen, of course). Basking in nature can lift your mood and reduce stress.
  12. Relax in a bubble bath. Light a few candles, grab a good book and soak away your troubles.
  13. Buy some fresh flowers and display them on your desk. The smell and the sight of the floral arrangement can revive your senses.
  14. Plant a tree, vegetable garden or flowers. Studies have found that nature makes you feel more alive, happier and creative. Learn how to reap the rewards of gardening.
  15. Delegate a task. It will free up your schedule so you can focus on some me time.
  16. Sit near a window and stare at the stars. Recent studies suggest that nature can help our brains and bodies stay healthy.
  17. Drink water. Staying hydrated will flush out toxins, boost your immune system and relieve fatigue. 
  18. Say no to something. It can be a playdate for one of your kids or an invitation to be on a school committee or even a social engagement. The crew won’t ditch you if you skip one happy hour. You’ll feel more in control and confident.
  19. Take a nap. Catching a short midday snooze can boost your performance and increase your alertness.
  20. Go for a walk alone or with a buddy. Walking can calm your brain without taxing your body. It can boost your mood and feel meditative. That’s not to mention the fact it doesn’t cost a penny.
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9 Low Iron Symptoms: Could You Have an Iron Deficiency?

27/04/2018 helen 0

Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in the United States. And women are at greater risk than men. Vegetarians, frequent blood donors and infants and children also are at increased risk for low iron symptoms (see below). I…

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Painful Sex After 50

21/04/2018 helen 0

There are lots of reasons why sex might be painful after you turn 50. For many women, as estrogen levels decline during midlife, their vaginas become much drier and don’t have the same elasticity—the ability to stretch. What you might notice   Skin…

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Doctors Curbing First-Time Prescriptions for Opioids

13/04/2018 helen 0

THURSDAY, April 12, 2018 (HealthDay News)—Although the opioid epidemic continues to rage in America, promising new data show that first-time opioid painkiller prescription rates have slowed in recent years. The researchers also discovered that peopl…

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Boomers Doing Better at Avoiding Eye Disease of Aging

18/11/2017 helen 0

THURSDAY, Nov. 16, 2017 (HealthDay News)—Macular degeneration is a major cause of vision loss in older Americans. But new research shows that baby boomers are somehow avoiding the illness at higher rates than their parents did. Why the improvement? Th…

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Breastfeeding Problems and How to Solve Them

16/11/2017 helen 0

Not all new moms and babies get the hang of breastfeeding right away. For many, it’s challenging at first. You make a few mistakes or have some breastfeeding problems along the way. Before you know it, though, you and your baby can be on the path to a …

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Face It: Drinking, Smoking Takes Toll on Looks

16/11/2017 helen 0

HealthDay News

THURSDAY, Nov. 16, 2017 (HealthDay News)—Don’t want to look old before your time?

A new study suggests that heavy drinking and smoking—besides posing serious health risks—make people look older than they actually are.

The research tracked more than 11,500 Danish adults, aged 21 to 93, for an average of nearly 12 years. Women consumed, on average, 2.6 alcoholic drinks a week, and men consumed 11.4 drinks a week. Smokers included 57 percent of the women and 67 percent of the men.

Heavy drinking and smoking were associated with visible signs of physical aging and people looking older than their age.

Specifically, signs of aging included earlobe creases; a grayish opaque ring around the cornea of both eyes; and yellow-orange plaques on the eyelids.

Light to moderate drinking was not linked with visible premature aging, the researchers said.

The study was published online Nov. 15 in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

The researchers noted that this was an observational study, so it wasn’t possible to make firm conclusions about cause and effect. They also pointed out that they were unable to account for any effects of stress, which is associated with both heart disease risk, smoking and heavy drinking.

However, they concluded that this “is the first prospective study to show that alcohol and smoking are associated with the development of visible age-related signs and thus generally looking older than one’s actual age,” which “may reflect that heavy drinking and smoking increases general aging of the body.”

SOURCE: Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, news release, Nov. 15, 2017

Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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The Heart Risks of a Desk Job

11/11/2017 helen 0

FRIDAY, Nov. 10, 2017 (HealthDay News)—Your comfortable recliner and state-of-the-art office chair may be increasing your risk for heart disease. A sedentary lifestyle can raise cholesterol and threaten heart health. If you have a desk job, it’s espec…

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Will This Year’s Flu Shot Be as Weak as Last Season’s?

10/11/2017 helen 0

HealthDay News

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 8, 2017 (HealthDay News)—Lots of people came down with influenza last year despite getting a flu shot—and researchers can’t promise this season’s vaccine will be any more effective.

Last year’s shot was only 20 percent to 30 percent effective because it was grown in eggs, according to the authors of a new report.

Learn More: What You Need to Know About The Flu

The egg process is not unusual. But a mutation in the predominant flu virus, called influenza A H3N2, limited the vaccine’s potency, said study co-author Dr. John Treanor.

When H3N2 comes in contact with eggs, it changes, making it different from the virus that’s circulating, he and his colleagues explained.

So last year, when H3N2 was the most common flu virus around, the shot was pretty lousy.

And what about the 2017-2018 flu season?

“It’s too early to say which strain of flu will be predominant this year,” said Dr. Daniel Jernigan, director of the influenza division at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“If it’s an H1N1 year, then the vaccine is closer to 60 percent effective,” Jernigan said.

Treanor pointed out that this year’s flu vaccine contains the same strain of H3N2 as the 2016 vaccine, so if the new flu season is dominated by H3N2 again, it could be another bad season.

Treanor, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Rochester in New York, said major efforts are underway to understand the factors that contribute to the less-than-perfect protection of flu vaccines.

“There are some emerging new findings that can contribute to developing better vaccines in the future,” he said.

Growing influenza virus in eggs, then inactivating it and purifying it is the traditional method. “But there are some downsides to using chicken eggs as the production material,” Treanor noted.

Two new methods of producing vaccines are being tried, he said.

One approach—using animal cells as the production material—allows the use of more standardized methods.

“Another approach is to use DNA techniques and to synthesize the vaccine directly from the genetic sequence of the virus,” Treanor said.

Both these methods—cell culture (Flucelvax) and DNA (Flublok)—are licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Jernigan said these new technologies are used for the production of new vaccines, such as the Ebola vaccine. He cautioned, however, that it is not yet known if these methods produce a more effective flu vaccine than using eggs.

Manufacturers would have to do studies comparing egg-grown vaccine with vaccine produced by these other methods to really see if they are better, he added.

“That’s information that’s really needed in order for us to really say one kind of technology gives better protection than another,” Jernigan said.

Flu vaccines work by inducing the body’s immune system to make antibodies against proteins found on the outer layer of the flu virus to kill it.

A mutation in the H3N2 virus several years ago led to the current circulating strain.

The 2016-2017 flu vaccine was updated to include the new version of the H3N2 protein. But Treanor’s team found that this new version also mutated when grown in eggs.

Their research showed that antibodies from ferrets and humans exposed to last year’s egg-based vaccine did a poor job of killing the H3N2 virus.

But when they tried a non-egg-based vaccine, they found the resulting antibodies were better able to kill the new H3N2 virus.

Jernigan said the goal is to find a universal long-lasting flu vaccine.

Each year up to 60,000 Americans die from flu and hundreds of thousands are hospitalized, he said.

“Even though flu vaccine isn’t perfect, getting a flu shot is still the best way to protect yourself from the flu,” Jernigan advised.

The report was published Nov. 6 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

SOURCES: John Treanor, M.D., professor, infectious diseases, University of Rochester, Rochester, N.Y.; Daniel Jernigan, M.D., director, influenza division, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Nov. 6, 2017, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, online

Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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7 Ways to Stop Overeating Once and For All

09/11/2017 helen 0

The mission of the American Council on Exercise (ACE) is to get people moving. 

By Kelsey Graham

Overeating is easy to do, especially when you’re indulging in an unusually delicious meal. It’s also easy because there are many factors that cause us to overeat, including stress and noshing too fast—both of which we likely experience or do on almost daily.

Fortunately, there are many tactics you can use to stop overeating once and for all, from slowing down to learning your body’s hunger cues. Use these tips to get your eating on track so you can feel fueled and satiated instead of full and frustrated.

1. Look Ahead

If you’re constantly surrounded by unhealthy food, it can be easy to eat all day long, whether or not you are hungry. Here’s one way to avoid this temptation: Think about how you’ll feel after you eat too much—like those times when you know you’re full, but there’s still food on your plate.

A similarly powerful tactic is thinking about how you’ll feel if you don’t eat the food. In almost every case you feel proud, happy and more satisfied than if you’d indulged unnecessarily.

Stop Overeating Once and For All Tactic 1: Before you grab the doughnut from your office kitchen—especially if you’ve already had a full breakfast—think to yourself: How will I feel when I finish this? Better yet: How will I feel if I walk away right now? Make this a habit, doing it every time you reach for an unnecessary snack. Sometimes you’ll want to indulge and that’s OK. But you may find that you say “no” a lot more often than you say “yes.”

2. Eat Slower

It takes time for your stomach to tell your mind you’re full because the process of feeling satiated takes time.

“Stretch receptors in the stomach are activated as it fills with food or water. These signal the brain directly through the vagus nerve that connects the gut and brain stem. Hormonal signals are released as partially digested food enters the small intestine,” explains Ann MacDonald, a contributor to Harvard Health.

This process of sending signals from your gut to your brain can take anywhere from five to 20 minutes, which is why it’s important to eat slowly. Eating too fast is a surefire way to overeat because we get this cue well after we’ve already eaten too much.

Stop Overeating Once and For All Tactic 2: The next time you eat, set a timer for 20 minutes and see how long it takes you to feel full, paying close attention to the cues your body is sending. This will give you an approximation of how long it takes your body to feel full, which you can use to stop overeating. Continue eating slowly until you notice that “I’m full” feeling. Note that those with type 2 diabetes may not get these same hunger cues, which makes this tactic less effective.

3. Eat Mindfully

In our on-the-go world, we’re often eating breakfast in the car, rushing through lunch at our desk and half-heartedly noshing on dinner while watching our favorites shows. In these situations, your focus isn’t on the food you’re eating. It’s on driving, working or watching television, which can lead to overeating.

When you’re not paying attention to your body, it’s easy to miss the “I’m full” cue—just like when you eat too fast.

Stop Overeating Once and For All Tactic 3: Make a rule to eat at least one meal a day without doing anything else. Notice the difference in recognizing your satiation (feeling full) cues and how satisfied you are. Slowly increase this to two meals each day and eventually to all three.

4. Get Your Stress Under Control

It seems there’s always something to stress us out, whether it’s a meeting at work or a family issue. This stress not only wreaks havoc on your body physicallycausing everything from chronic high blood pressure and diarrhea, to headaches, chest pain and more, it’s causing you to overeat.

When stressed, your body releases cortisol, which also increases appetite. Whether you’re hungry or not, your body is craving food, and to quell that “hunger” you eat. In many cases, you end up eating high-fat, sugary foods, making the overeating worse.

Stop Overeating Once and For All Tactic 4: If you can’t reduce the stress in your life right now, the next step is to recognize the potential for overeating and stop it before it starts. When stressed, rely on portioning your food, and when you go out to eat, get half of your meal put in a box for later before you even start eating. If you’re hungry for a snack, when you normally aren’t, check in with yourself: Is this stress or am I really hungry? Take author Michael Pollan’s advice: If you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple, you’re probably not hungry.

5. Eat Before You’re Hungry

This idea may sound odd, but think about these two scenarios:

  • You eat dinner a little early, not because you’re very hungry but because you know you’re going out with friends and don’t want to order out—or wait until you’re starving and eat post-drinks. So, you take your time making dinner, eat until you’re relatively full and then head out.
  • You decide not to eat before going out because you’re not hungry. You wait to eat dinner at 8 p.m., after you’ve gone out for drinks. Now you’re ravenous. You dive into your cabinets looking for whatever is easiest to make and dig into the first thing you see. You eat fast you don’t realize how full you are—and now you’re stuffed and wish you hadn’t eaten so much.

In the second scenario, you’re so hungry that you may be experiencing slight nausea or a headache from the hunger. And you may eat unhealthy foods because you’ll likely eat the first thing you find—forget about taking time to make a healthy dinner.

You may have similar experiences if you wait too long to have lunch at work or eat breakfast late in the morning.

Stop Overeating Once and For All Tactic 5: Most people tend to eat around the same time every day. Set an alarm on your phone for an hour before you’d normally eat each meal so you remember to nosh earlier than usual. You’ll quickly find that you’re more likely to make rational healthy choices about what you’re eating and how much.

6. Give Yourself Time

How many times have you looked at your plate, knowing that you’re full, and cleaned your plate anyway? When you’re done, you feel full and mad at yourself: Why did I eat the rest of that? I didn’t need it and now I feel like crap. It’s hard to resist food in the moment, thanks to our need for instant gratification. But giving yourself time to decide whether to finish may be exactly what you need.

Stop Overeating Once and For All Tactic 6: The next time you’re in a moment where you would normally eat more, but know you shouldn’t, stop for 10 minutes. Give yourself time to decide if you want to eat the rest of the food on your plate. When the 10 minutes is up, you’ll almost always be happy to toss or save the rest of the food.

7. Pay Attention to All Your Hunger Cues

If you’re waiting for your stomach to growl, you may be setting yourself up to overeat, because we don’t all experience the same hunger cues. Sometimes it shows up as a headache or a bad mood that comes on suddenly. A nutritionist once said, “I always know I’m hungry when I’m happily working on something and all of a sudden I’m annoyed by what I’m doing.”

Knowing how hunger can show up in your body is key to recognizing it before it’s too late. Potential hunger signals include:

  • Growling stomach
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Low energy
  • Sudden irritability (“hangry”)

Stop Overeating Once and For All Tactic 7: Make note of which hunger cues you experience each time you eat. Slowly you’ll discover how your body signals “I’m hungry,” allowing you to eat right away rather than waiting until later, when you’re ravenous and therefore more likely to overeat.

Stop Overeating

It can be so hard to say no when food is right in front of you—and so easy to ignore that full feeling and eat until you’re so full you need to lie down because it hurts to sit or stand. Stop the cycle of overeating once and for all with these simple tips. Test them to see which one works best for you and then stick with it. 

Once it becomes a habit, you’re more likely to say no when you’re full and indulge when your body needs the fuel.

A version of this article originally appeared at ACEFitness.com. 

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This Is Why You Think About Junk Food

04/11/2017 helen 0

HealthDay News

THURSDAY, Nov. 2, 2017 (HealthDay News)—If cookies, pizza and potato chips seem to pull you in, you’re not alone.

A new study finds that images of junk food are, indeed, more distracting than those of healthy food. The researchers also found, though, that just a few tastes of junk food can significantly reduce its appeal.

“We wanted to see if pictures of food, particularly high-fat, high-calorie food, would be a distraction for people engaged in a complicated task,” said co-author Howard Egeth, a professor in the department of psychological and brain sciences at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

The researchers showed the pictures to 18 participants, most of them undergraduate students.

“We showed them carrots and apples, and it slowed them down,” Egeth said in a university news release. “We showed them bicycles and thumb tacks, and it slowed them down. But when we showed them chocolate cake and hot dogs, these things slowed them down about twice as much.”

The researchers then repeated the experiment with 18 new participants, but first gave them two small candy bars before they began their task. This time, the study found that images of junk food were no more distracting than pictures of healthy food or nonfood items.

The findings were published online Oct. 26 in the journal Psychonomic Bulletin and Review.

The researchers believe the study findings highlight people’s built-in bias for fatty, sugary foods and confirm the old saying that you shouldn’t grocery shop when you’re hungry.

Meet the Johns Hopkins researchers who describe their study

SOURCE: Johns Hopkins University, news release, Oct. 26, 2017
Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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