Halloween parties, potlucks, and trick-or-treating can break even the most disciplined of dieters. Here are my top 10 tips to survive this annual sugar fest that I shared with KRON 4 Morning News Weekend anchor, Marty Gonzalez.
The Top 10 Tricks
1. Buy trick-or-treat candy you don’t like. Buy a candy that won’t tempt you.
2. Buy candy the DAY OF Halloween. There will ALWAYS be candy left in the stores — unless of course, you’ll looking for your favorite candy! You may also save some money (thanks to clearance sales) as well as save on calories.
3. Eat dark chocolate — 85% or more of cacao.
Milk chocolate contains more added sugar and fat. Due to their antioxidant content, deep dark chocolate can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke by nearly 40 percent, and reduce the risk of dementia.
Per a 2004 study published in the Journal of American College of Nutrition, dark chocolate improved blood flow in arteries.
Eat in moderation as it still packs plenty of calories. Limit to 1/2 to 1 ounce.
Note: White chocolate is highly processed which means it’s lost most or all of its antioxidants.
4. Keep the wrappers. Keep evidence of what you eat in front of you. It’s easy to forget how many times you’ve dipped into the candy bowl.
Two studies showed that people tend to rely on visual cues, such as the number of chicken bones on their plates, to decide whether they’re full or still hungry.
5. Avoid the candy dish. The candy dish encourages eating mindlessly — i.e., “grab-and-go syndrome”.
Scientists believe you make hundreds of unconscious food decisions daily, but seeing food pushes you to consciously decide whether to eat it. Seeing it more often increases the likelihood you’ll choose to eat the food.
A handful (1.5 oz; about 1/4 cup or 1 shot glass) of M & M’s can pack on 210 calories. To burn off just one handful, the average size person would need to do 1,400 jumping jacks which would take about 24 minutes (1 jumping jack per second)!
Heart disease is often blamed on genetics (your mom, dad, grandparents…) BUT over 360,000 Americans manage to kill themselves each year from the food they eat. Cardiovascular disease is the country’s number one killer and coronary artery diseaseor ischemic heart disease (where plaque-filled arteries literally choke off oxygen to your heart) leads the way.
Coronary heart disease accounts for 1 in 7 deaths in the United States per year. But plaque not only builds up in your coronary arteries, it builds up in the vessels of your brain as well. And the result? Your brain shrinks.
BRAIN CELLS DIE
Unfortunately, the fat-laden, sugar-heavy junk you consume (and find so addictive) often packs on pounds around your middle. Abdominal obesity has been shown to kill brain cells. According to a study published in the Annals of Neurology, having more belly fat is associated with a decrease in total brain volume in middle-aged adults.
Lifestyle diseases are diseases that occur primarily as a result of your daily habits. Some of the main contributing factors include: bad food habits, physical inactivity, stress, and an aging biological clock.
Diabetes (A Model of Accelerated Aging)
The connection between type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia are real and strong.
Experts are now referring to the progression from type 2 diabetes to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia to type 3 diabetes or brain diabetes. It occurs when neurons in the brain become unable to respond to insulin which is essential for memory and learning.
There is considerable evidence that diabetes is related to brain diseases. Younger diabetics suffer a variety of degenerative diseases earlier and with greater severity than non-diabetics and seem to age more rapidly than normal.
People with type 2 diabetes are 50-65% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than people with normal blood sugars.
Coronary Artery Disease
Research shows if you get cardiovascular disease, it is likely to affect your cognitive function. Plaque builds up in your brain as well as your heart. Unhealthy patterns of cholesterol disrupt communication between nerve cells in your brain and contribute to memory and mental destruction.
As the population ages, it is expected that dementia incidences will increase 400% in the next 20 years. A 27-year studyfound obese people were 74% more likely to have dementia, while overweight people were 35% more likely.
Possible speculation is that substances such as leptin, a hormone released by visceral or “belly” fat may have some adverse effects on the brain. Leptin plays a role in appetite regulation but also in learning and memory.
How much sleep do you need? Many working Americans sleep too little, but did you know you can sleep too much? According to studies on sleep and mortality, insufficient AND excessive sleep can shorten your life.
*Healing and repairing cells, tissues, and blood vessels help build bone and muscle mass.
Lack of Sleep: Immediate and Long-term Health Effects
Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night? If so, caffeine could be keeping you awake even though you never consume it at night. That’s because caffeine has a longer-lasting effect than you may think.
Negative Health Effects of Insomnia
Caffeine disrupts deep (restorative) sleep and the ability to fall asleep which cuts down on total sleep time resulting in:
Increased mortality — According to a study by the American Cancer Society (Mortality Associated with Sleep Duration and Insomnia), insufficient sleep can shorten your life. Causes of death associated with sleep duration include heart disease, stroke, and breast/colon cancer.
Why Caffeine Has a Lasting Effect (Half-Life Explained)
Caffeine has a half life of five to six hours. In other words, it takes five to six hours for the amount of caffeine in your body to be reduced to exactly one-half of its concentration. (Translation: the amount of caffeine remaining in your body after six hours is equal to the amount you excrete.)
How It Breaks Down
The half-life of caffeine in a healthy adult is six hours. This does not take into consideration half-life variables (see below) that can influence how fast/slow a person metabolizes caffeine.
Due to the half-life of caffeine, caffeine starts accumulating in your body when you consume it throughout the day. This could be in the form of another drink, food, or even medication.
For example, if you drink two cups of coffee every day at 8:00 AM, by Day 3 at 2:00 AM nearly 45 gmof caffeine could still be in your system.
To compound the caffeinated effect, if you drink anothercup of coffee at 2:00 PM as an afternoon pick-me-up, by Day 3 at 2:00 AM, nearly 90 gmof caffeine could still be in your system. That’s nearly the amount of caffeine in a 16-oz Frappuccino® — a clue as to why you may not be able to sleep well.