The New Type Of Partner You Need To Have

A group of laughing friends at a restaurantI don’t know about you, but as I’ve gotten older, the best way I’ve found to get out the house is to make dinner plans with friends. Not only is this more exciting than sitting in the house, it relieves me of the sometimes necessary evil of cooking and cleaning. I’m more of just a cooker, if you catch my drift. Nevertheless, eating out can be quite the challenge when you are trying to watch your girlish figure. The menu is always full of fancy jargon, but nothing that says “Pick me I won’t stick to your hips, thighs, and belly!” There are always so many tempting things like fried foods, desserts, and buttery biscuits and rolls.

Researchers have found that people typically eat more food when dining out with a group, and the larger the group the more food. Apparently eating with just 1 other person can increase your consumption by 28% over eating alone, and  people tend to order like the others in their dining party. So to curb this negative food eating frenzy, I have come up with a new concept to try.

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In order for me to dine out without getting a side order of regret, I’ve decided to try going to dinner with a like-minded friend. I figured that hearing my friends choose healthy, lower-calorie options would make me feel peer-pressured into wanting to do the same thing.

Brenna Ellison, University of Illinois food economist says “people are happier with their food choices if they were similar to what everyone else is eating-even if they weren’t exactly psyched to order a salad or healthy entree in the first place.”

My conclusion is healthy friends lead to healthy dinners.

Here are four other ways to put some order back into your ordering:

1. Decide Before You Dine

Most restaurants have their menus online. Try and pick out the best options for your future dinner meal beforehand, particularly when you have no appetite. If you are hungry while making this decision, it may affect your choice.

2. Order First

Nobody wants to be the “loser” to order grilled veggies with brown rice after everyone else has ordered creamy, over-the-top pastas and steaks.   Take initiative to sort of set the tone of the meal .

3. Be Aware of Portions

Restaurant portions tend to be much larger than what you would eat at home.  To-go boxes are your friends, so utilize them! If you find yourself getting full, don’t feel obligated to eat it all in one sitting.  The bonus here is you won’t be overstuffed – and you’ll have a meal for the next day.

4. Reject Refills

Refills. They are good for your wallet, but not good for those thighs, that belly and that butt. According to a recent study, people ate 73 percent more food when offered a free refill. As much as those complimentary baskets of bread, drinks, etc. are nice, a polite “no thanks!” is the healthier way to go!

Stop! Before You Take Another Sip Of…

glass-of-colaYou’ve probably already heard countless reasons why soda is bad for you, but can it actually kill you? You already know that soda is basically sugar water with no nutritional value that can increase your risks for obesity and diabetes. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, sweetened drinks are the largest contributor of empty calories and processed sugar in both the American and European diet.

But experts are also quick to point out that other than sugar, there are nine other potentially dangerous ingredients in soda, including carcinogenic artificial colors and phosphoric acid, which can contribute to everything from obesity to cancer to the depletion of the nutrients that are needed for strong bones.

Here are a few new very disturbing soda facts that, trust us, you need to know about…

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In the news again…

Soda, and the concerning chemicals in it, is back in the news yet again after Consumer Reports issued a new study finding: the golden-brown color of many soft drinks comes with a dose of the chemical 4-methylimidazole, or 4-MeI. On U.S. product labels it appears simply as “caramel coloring.

Those who say the chemical may possibly cause cancer include the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer and the state of California, which now limits manufacturers to 29 micrograms of exposure for the average consumer per day.

Foods exceeding that limit have to carry a warning label that reads: “WARNING: This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer.”

But when Consumer Reports purchased sodas in California and had them analyzed by a lab, it found that one 12-ounce serving of Pepsi One or Malta Goya exceeded the levels permitted without a warning label.

As if this latest news wasn’t disturbing enough, here are some additional reasons to limit/avoid soda.

It may help cause diabetes.

A new study out today suggests that just one 12 ounce serving of a sugar-sweetened beverage can raise the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 22 percent. Notably, even diet soda drinkers had to worry about developing diabetes.

Why?

“Aside from sugar, there are nine other potentially dangerous ingredients in soda, including carcinogenic artificial colors and phosphoric acid, which can contribute to everything from obesity to cancer to the depletion of micronutrients essential for strong bones,” noted Jayson Calton, co-author of Rich Food, Poor Food, a book that explains the hidden dangers in food and beverages.

It speeds up the aging process.

Diet or regular, all colas contain phosphates, or phosphoric acid, a weak acid that gives colas their tangy flavor and improves their shelf life. Although it exists in many whole foods, such as meat, dairy, and nuts, too much phosphoric acid can lead to heart and kidney problems, muscle loss, and osteoporosis, and one study suggests it could trigger accelerated aging.

The study found that the excessive phosphate levels found in sodas caused lab rats to die a full five weeks earlier than the rats whose diets had more normal phosphate levels—a disturbing trend considering that soda manufacturers have been increasing the levels of phosphoric acid in their products over the past few decades.

Caramel coloring may cause cancer.

Even before this year’s Consumer Reports finding, in 2011, the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to ban the artificial caramel coloring used to make Coke, Pepsi, and other colas brown. The reason: Two contaminants in the coloring, 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole, have been found to cause cancer in animals, a threat the group says is unnecessary, considering that the coloring is purely cosmetic. According to California’s strict Proposition 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer, just 16 micrograms per person per day of 4-methylimidazole is enough to pose a cancer threat, and most popular brown colas, both diet and regular, contain 200 micrograms per 20-ounce bottle.

It may lead to memory loss, nerve disorders and…

A mouth full of cavities caused by the drink’s excessive sugar levels is something that all dentists know and warn about. But memory loss? It turns out, an ingredient called brominated vegetable oil, or BVO, added to prevent the flavoring from separating from the drink, is an industrial chemical used as a flame retardant in plastics. Also found in other citrus-based soft drinks and sports drinks, the chemical has been known to cause memory loss and nerve disorders when consumed in large quantities.

Researchers also suspect that, like brominated flame retardants used in furniture foam, the chemical builds up in body fat, possibly causing behavioral problems, infertility, and lesions on heart muscles over time.

Soda containers may be toxic as well…

It’s not just the soda that’s causing all the problems. Nearly all aluminum soda cans are lined with an epoxy resin called bisphenol A (BPA), used to keep the acids in soda from reacting with the metal. BPA is known to interfere with hormones, and has been linked to everything from infertility to obesity to some forms of reproductive cancers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have pegged soda cans, along with restaurant, school, and fast-food meals, as a major source of exposure to the chemical. And while Pepsi and Coke are currently locked in a battle to see which company can be the first to develop a 100 percent plant-based-plastic bottle—which they’re touting as “BPA free”—neither company is willing to switch to BPA-free aluminum cans.