Train Your Brain To Crave For Healthy Foods

 

How? By following a healthy diet.

We know, that wasn’t the quick fix to afternoon ice cream binges you were hoping for. But this research could lead to a more sci-fi solution to the obesity epidemic.

In a pilot study published Monday in the journal Nutrition & Diabetes, scientists say that changing your eating behavior can actually change how your brain reacts to high-calorie and low-calorie foods.

“We don’t start out in life loving french fries and hating, for example, whole wheat pasta,” senior author Susan Roberts, director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Energy Metabolism Laboratory, said in a statement. “This conditioning happens over time in response to eating — repeatedly — what is out there in the toxic food environment.”

So it makes sense that the opposite would also hold true.

Scientists divided 13 overweight and obese participants into two groups: a control group and an experimental group. At the beginning of the study, both groups underwent an fMRI to record their brain activity in response to photos of various foods.

The experimental group then participated in a behavioral intervention program, which included portion-controlled menus and support group sessions. The participants were asked to reduce their calorie intake by 500 to 1,000 calories a day and to follow a high-fiber, high-protein diet to prevent hunger and cravings.

After six months, people in the experimental group had lost an average of 14 pounds, while the control group had lost about 5 pounds.

Both groups again underwent an fMRI scan, and researchers showed the study participants photos of low-calorie and high-calorie foods, such as a turkey sandwich on wheat bread and a container of french fries. They looked at how the participants’ brains responded to these photos, particularly in the striatum, a region known to be associated with the brain’s reward system.

Previous studies have shown that high-calorie, fatty, sugary foods trigger the pleasure center of the brain. That’s why you naturally crave these unhealthy foods: You expect to be rewarded with dopamine for eating them.

But people in the experimental group showed a slightly different response to seeing high-calorie foods after participating in the intervention program. Researchers saw less activity in the striatum when participants were shown these foods and more activity when they were shown lower-calorie foods.

The same did not hold true for the control group.

“There is much more research to be done here, involving many more participants, long-term follow-up and investigating more areas of the brain,” Roberts said. “But we are very encouraged that the weight-loss program appears to change what foods are tempting to people.”

 

A La Crepes Set to Open its Doors

A La Crepes Set to Open its Doors

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Mark your calendars, A La Crepes located at 2761 Markham Road (just north of Finch Avenue) in Scarborough is ready to open its doors with a weekend long Grand Opening Celebration starting on Friday August 8.

Grand Opening Special: Visit them between Friday August 8 until closing on Sunday August 10 and receive a FREE pot of tea with any purchase of a meal OR a FREE scoop of gelato for children aged 14 and under with the purchase of a meal.

To mark their celebration, we have a contest that’ll award one lucky winner with a $60 credit at A La Crepes.

They will bring north-east enders a quality place to sit back, relax and indulge with savoury fusion crepes, burger crepes, sandwiches, salads, a full brunch menu, sweet crepes, desserts, gelato and their sought after T-Buds tea blends. Professionally designed and constructed and a unique concept to Toronto’s halal restaurant scene, A La Crepes is sure to be a destination spot for Muslims across the GTA.

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Once inside, there are a handful of food stations which add functionality and simplicity to the space. There is seating for roughly 45 people through a mixture of tables, booths and lounge-style seating over 1,700 square feet of space. Towards the back of the restaurant, the large teacup mural serves as a striking focal point. Add in wood textures and custom lighting, A La Crepes offers a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere.
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The overarching theme of their food comes from three words in their tagline; healthy, gourmet and fusion. The food has global flavours and in addition to its health angle, it is prepared and designed by chefs and presented in a gourmet format. Signature fusion crepes come in many varieties, are truly global and include, The Spice Island Palandi Beef ($10) and The Caribbean Crab ($11). Savory crepes are large enough to act as a meal, but wrapped in light casing, don’t leave you feeling heavy.

The health twist comes from 3 angles, portion size and balance in food groupings with emphasis on lower and good/quality calories, fresh unfrozen protein and ingredients and finally, avoiding additives and preservatives and using natural, high fibre ingredients.

They plan to eventually indicate the calorific and nutritional values on their menu items as well, something that many health conscious patrons will appreciate. If this does come to fruition, it’ll be a welcome change to the current state of halal food where majority of the options are fast food and processed.

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When you head over to their cafe section, not everything is healthy, but there is some emphasis in this department as well. For example, instead of ice cream, A La Crepes serves up less fattier gelato (one scoop, two toppings $4) available in 8 flavours. But if most of your meal is focused on health, you’re ok to indulge a bit in their dessert area with pastries and cakes that you can enjoy with a pot of tea.

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A La Crepes will be open daily from 10am until 10pm; from Monday to Saturday. The restaurant opens for lunch and take-out at 11:30am, while on Sundays, dinner starts at 5pm. With an upcoming brunch menu, expect this spot to become a haven on weekends.

Meat Source: Chicken from Sargent Farms, Beef from Iqbal halal foods other meat items from East Meats West, all from hand slaughtered sources.

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2761 Markham Road
Toronto, ON M1X 0A4, Canada

Source: Halal Foodie

Food-Label Knowledge Can Save Your Cash

The average American throws away about one-quarter of all the food he or she buys – much of it still perfectly safe to eat. That’s as much as $2,275 worth of food wasted annually by a family of four, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Beyond the out-of-pocket cost, it’s also a waste of water, energy and the manpower needed to produce it. Not to mention the lost opportunity of feeding the hungry.

“It’s interesting because food waste in the home is mostly a problem in developed countries,” said William Fisher, vice president of science and policy initiative for the Chicago-based Institute of Food Technologists. “In developing countries, the problem is getting food from the fields to the consumer before it spoils.”

One of the biggest reasons behind this waste is misunderstanding when, exactly, food goes bad. That’s because the sell-by, use-by, best-by dates on product packaging are often confusing, even misleading. Studies show that up to 91 percent of us have tossed food based on product labels – which may have nothing to do with food quality.

Understanding which date labels to pay attention to and which ones you can safely ignore should cut down on the amount of food you waste. The problem is, there’s no federal law overseeing these labels, and local laws vary widely.

Eggs sold in South Carolina, for example, can be stamped with a date up to 45 days after the carton is packed, but in Alaska the date can be no more than 24 days out, according to Harvard Law School’s Emily Broad Leib in BottomLine Publications.com.