Your imagination is making you fat.
OK, that is a bit severe, but research may show that an active mind could lead to larger waistlines.
A study out of Yale and reported in The Wall Street Journal suggests that those who are more gifted at vividly imagining the smells of fragrant foods, may have higher BMIs. A group of 25 responded to a three-part questionnaire that asked about visualization of general objects, food, and food fragrances and the highest correlation was between those who had the highest BMIs and those with the strongest visualization ability. A follow-up study with 57 participants confirmed the findings. Pro tip: Visualize the scent of garlic, not donuts.
Still Fast, But Not As Fake
If that food daydream leads to fast food, at least you may be able to consume something a bit more real. Yum Brands, the parent company to Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, announced it will be ditching artificial ingredients and colors for natural ones, like black pepper instead of pepper flavoring.
Also getting the boot are dyes Yellow No. 6 and Blue No. 1, two colors that when mixed might make a nice shade of green but probably don’t belong in your food.
Pizza Hut looks to make changes by the end of July, while Taco Bell, which also plans to lose high fructose corn syrup and palm oil, is targeting the end of 2015.
Want Your Kids to Eat Healthy? Focus on the Benefits
Telling your child not to run with scissors is practically an endorsement for the little dear to get crazy with the kitchen shears. It turns out telling them not to eat junk food might have the same effect.
An analysis of 47 international studies by the Cornell Food and Brand Lab found that encouraging kids (and adults for that matter) to eat something good for them was a better tactic than sending a negative message about the less healthy option.
“If you’re a parent, it’s better to focus on the benefits of broccoli and not the harms of hamburgers,” said Cornell Food and Brand Lab director, Brian Wansink, PhD.
A State of Fitness
Washington D.C. was named the nation’s fittest city, but what about the fittest state?
According to data from the MapMyFitness tracking app, California gets the gold medal with an average of 87 workout minutes per week per person. That edged Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Arizona. However, there’s plenty of room for improvement, considering that’s well below the 150 minutes of weekly activity recommended by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
Just Keep Running
And in the ever-elusive quest to discover whether or not exercise will keep your mind sharp into old age, one study says…maybe.
A researcher at the U.S. National Institute on Aging found that midlife participants who exercised performed better on cognitive tests. The study followed 146 adults over the span of 10 years and used a combination of treadmill and MRI exams to explain their findings.
The data is inconclusive, though, as researchers not involved with the study said the connection between exercise and cognition remains unclear.
“A challenging question that is hard to get to the root of is whether exercise makes us smarter or do smarter people tend to exercise more than others,” Dr. Jeff Burns, director of the Alzheimer and Memory Clinic at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, told Reuters.