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Thursday, December 21, 2023

Dieting & the Brain

Every month or so I go on a crash diet. That lets me eat whatever I want for three weeks and diet the fourth week. Someone just told me that dieting damage. Is that really true?

Studies have shown that weight-loss diets can impact the brain negatively in several ways. It can disrupt the synthesis or creation of neurotransmitters, alter brain chemistry, and trigger mental-processing problems. According to the author of 20/20 Thinking, you can shed smarts as well as pounds when going on crash diets or rapid-weight-loss diets. (e.g., less than 1000 calories per day) Dieting can starve the brain of serotonin, which can trigger a cycle of dieting and bingeing as there is insufficient serotonin to signal satisfaction. According to author Faith Hickman Brynie, dieting starves the brain of serotonin. This can trigger a cycle of dieting and bingeing—as there isn’t enough serotonin to signal satisfaction. I would suggest you could be healthier by eating moderately all the time.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

To diet or not to diet

I’ve gone on endless diets and always  gain it all back, sooner or later. I always wonder “Why?”

That is the question for millions of individuals. Samuel Beckett has been quoted as saying, ‘Probably nothing in the world arouses more false hopes than the first four hours of a diet.’ Those concerned about their weight can get caught in dieting traps. UCLA researcher Stuart Wolpert reported that dieting does not work. By their very nature diets are designed to fail. Initially you many lose a few pounds as the brain and body respond temporarily to something new and different. But dieting cannot be maintained over time, especially when it involves food deprivation. Within a space of just two to three years, most eventually gain back everything they lost—often more—and risk damaging brain and body systems in the process. A study published in the journal American Psychologist found that dieting does ‘not lead to sustained weight loss or health benefits for the majority of people.’

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Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Obesity & Alzheimer’s Risk

Please tell me there is not a link between being obese and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s.

I could tell you that. However, it would not align with current research. Maintaining an optimum weight is a vital part of protecting your health. Studies of 8,000 twins found that being overweight doubled the risk of dementia, while being obese quadrupled that risk. Estimates are that reducing risk factors such as smoking, diabetes, obesity, and inactivity by 25% could prevent half-a-million cases of Alzheimer’s annually in the USA. The goal is to stave off the disease long enough so you can live life to its fullness without ever suffering Alzheimer's symptoms. (Gary Small, MD. The Alzheimer's Prevention Program)

Monday, December 18, 2023

Your Odortype

We spent a week with close friends during Thanksgiving. Now my husband tells me, "You smell different." What causes that?

Your genetically determined body odor or Odortype, acts like an olfactory nametag, helping to distinguish one person from another. What can alter your odortype? If you eat a great deal of garlic, it can impact your breath for 24-28 hours, and if you are sweating a lot, sometimes it can temporarily alter the odor of your sweat. Many people are familiar with stress-related odors. When you are stressed, you tend to secrete more apocrine from the apocrine sweat glands in your armpits. In combination with the bacteria on your skin, this milky fluid, most commonly secreted in the presence of emotional stress, can create a rather unpleasant odor. Drinking plenty of fluids, practicing good body hygiene, using appropriate deodorants, and taking appropriate steps to manage emotional stressors, can help reduce these stress-related odors. Some very rare conditions can impact one’s odortype, as well. For example, a genetic disorder known as trimethylaminuria (TMAU) affects about 1 in 200,000 people. They don’t process trimethlamine efficiently and it tends to build up in the body, resulting in a fishy odor in urine, sweat, reproductive fluids, and breath.

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Friday, December 15, 2023

Can Intuition be Improved?

My friends and I have an ongoing argument: can intuition be improved? What's your take?

In his book Answers for Aristotle, Massimo Pigliucci pointed out that research on intuition has clearly shown that it is a domain-specific ability. This means that a person can be very intuitive about one thing but just like an average person about other things. Intuition can often be improved with practice. To use it effectively, however, intuition needs to be combined with rational thought and analysis. Here are some ideas. 

 ·       Take a walk. Sometimes intuitive thoughts will surface or solutions to problems pop up.

·       Learn to recognize and pick up on changes in your body quickly. If suddenly your body signals a sense of uneasiness, ask yourself what that dis-ease is trying to tell you.

 ·       Pay attention to your hunch and evaluate it. Does it fit within your moral values? Is there some way it could benefit you? If it appears to be safe, take a small step in that direction and evaluates where it leads.

 ·       Spend a few minutes daydreaming and pondering a question in your mind and pay attention to what your mind perceives.

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Thursday, December 14, 2023

Male-Female Intuition Differences

I suppose some male-female differences have been identified related to intuition?

 Intuition studies have shown that females seemed more attuned to intuitive information from the heart and were more responsive to prestimulus information than were males. Processes in the prefrontal cortex were moderated by the heart. In general, females appear to process the prestimulus more frontally; males process it more in the posterior portions of the brain. The bottom line: the heart and the brain together are linked in the actions of receiving, processing, and decoding intuitive information. The concluding hypothesis was that intuition is a system-wide process in which the heart and the brain (and possibly other body organs or systems) are involved together in responding to intuitive information. According to the author of The Intuitive Compass, Francis Cholle, the best decisions result from a combination of intuition and rational thinking. Unfortunately, many disregard their intuitive hunches—to their detriment.