Summer Treats: Character Sweets

Ice Parfait Grande

Hello Kitty Ice Pparfait and Gudetama Ice Parfait”

Nine Foods That Make You Hungrier

Markham Heid wrote . . . . .

Always hungry? You may be eating the wrong foods

You weren’t all that hungry before your handful of chips or midday banana. But instead of tiding you over to your next meal, you are ravenous. What gives?

No nutrition scientist would ever make this analogy, but think of it like sex. If you’re attracted to someone, a kiss is only going to fan the flames of your desire. In the same way, a few bites of food can “activate” the parts of your brain and gut that drive your hunger for more, says Dr. Belinda Lennerz, an endocrinologist and researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

“The sight, smell, or taste of some food will trigger the cephalic food response,” she explains, referring to the various gut processes that switch on when your body believes a meal is headed its way. At the same time, swallowing a few bites of food initiates a desire to consume more in order to repeat or sustain the reward sensations your brain experienced when you ate those chips or that banana.

The fact is, eating a small portion of anything—especially if you’re close to a mealtime—is probably going to goose your appetite, not mellow it out. But Lennerz and other experts say some foods are more likely than others to crank up those “give me more” cravings.

Potato Chips, Crackers, And Bread

Potato chips are a prototypical “processed carb.” So are refined white or wheat breads, crackers, and other grain-based snack foods. When you swallow refined carbohydrates, your blood sugar levels shoot up. “The body’s reaction to this is to release a large amount of insulin to normalize blood sugar,” Lennerz says.

Insulin drives that blood sugar—the energy your body derives from food—into “storage,” says Dr. David Ludwig, a professor of nutrition at Harvard. Since that energy has now been locked away, your hunger for food screams back with a vengeance. (See: Science Explains Why You Can’t Stop Eating Potato Chips.)

“The prime culprit at restaurants is the basket of bread,” Ludwig says. By triggering your body’s “give me more” responses and spiking your blood sugar levels, that crusty baguette is a foolproof way to send your appetite soaring. Even fast-digesting tropical fruits like bananas can have this sort of effect, he says.

Cookies, Cake, and Sweets

Sugar—whether its organic honey or white table sugar—activates your brain’s reward and appetite pathways differently than do other sources of energy, finds research from Yale University School of Medicine.

Specifically, your brain’s thalamus, hypothalamus, and insula—all areas that drive you to eat—tend to chill out after you’ve consumed food. But when you swallow sweet treats like cookies or cake, those areas stay active, the Yale research suggests. In a nutshell, your brain tells your body you’re not full, and you have the urge to eat more to feel satisfied, says Dr. Robert Lustig, a sugar researcher and a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco.

Low-Fat, Single-Serve Yogurt

Multiple studies have found the amount of time and the number of chews it takes you to eat something affects how full you feel afterward. One recent review from a U.S. and European team found lots of chewing knocks down an eater’s levels of ghrelin—the so-called “hunger hormone.” (See: The Case Against Low-Fat Dairy Is Stronger Than Ever.)

Cup-sized portions of yogurt are dangerously slam-able. The low-fat varieties also tend to be packed with sugar and other processed carbs, which promote hunger for all the reasons mentioned above. A good rule of thumb: the more quickly you can swallow something, the more likely you are to eat more of it.

Diet Soda and Artificially Sweetened Snacks

Experts have pretty thoroughly debunked the idea that zero-calorie sweeteners have no effect on your weight or metabolism. And a recent study from an Australian team found that, when artificial sweeteners hit your tongue, your brain’s reward centers light up and signal to your gut to expect some energy (calories) to arrive in the very near future.

When those calories never show up, your brain tries to square this imbalance by pushing you to consume more food to fill the hole, the Aussie team says. In this way, no-calorie sweeteners like the ones in diet soda may send your hunger soaring.

Source: Time

International Tree Nut Council Study Finds Link Between Nut Intake and Inflammatory Biomarkers

In a cross-sectional analysis published online today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition*, researchers looked at the association between habitual nut consumption and inflammatory biomarkers among 5,013 men and women participating in two ongoing prospective cohort studies: the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Higher nut intake (5 or more times per week) was associated with lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and Interleukin 6 (IL6). Both of these compounds increase in the body when there is inflammation, which can lead to chronic disease.

According to Ying Bao, MD, ScD, from the Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, and the senior author of the paper, “Substituting three servings per week of tree nuts for three servings per week of red meat, processed meat, or eggs was associated with significantly lower CRP (all P<0.0001) and IL6 (P ranges from 0.01 to 0.04); lower CRP concentrations were also observed when substituting three servings per week of tree nuts for refined grains (P=0.0008)." Elevated CRP levels have been shown to predict the development of both cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, and IL6 has been associated with cardio-metabolic risk.

Previous research has shown that consuming tree nuts can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Nuts contain a number of important components such as magnesium, fiber, antioxidants and unsaturated fatty acids–all of which may aid in protecting against inflammation.

Interestingly, research has also shown that nut consumption may be inversely related to body mass index (BMI), which is a strong determinant of inflammatory biomarkers. In fact, weight loss has been repeatedly shown to be associated with a decrease in levels of inflammatory biomarkers. Therefore, the researchers suggest, the associations between nut intake and inflammatory markers may be mediated in part through BMI.

"This is yet another piece of evidence showing that people should include more nuts in their diet," states Maureen Ternus, M.S., R.D., Executive Director of the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation (INC NREF). "Just a handful of tree nuts (1.5 ounces or 1/3 cup) every day can result in numerous health benefits."

Source: EurekAlert!

Northern Spanish Style Toast with Asparagus and Scrambled Eggs


1 lb asparagus, trimmed and coarsely chopped
2 tbsp Spanish olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
6 eggs
1 tbsp water
6 small slices country bread
salt and pepper


  1. Steam the asparagus pieces for 8 minutes or cook in a large pan of boiling salted water for 4 minutes, depending on their thickness, or until just tender. Drain well, if necessary.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet, then add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until softened but not browned. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds until softened.
  3. Stir the asparagus into the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes. Meanwhile, break the eggs into a bowl, then add the water and beat together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Preheat the broiler to high. Add the beaten eggs to the asparagus mixture and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes, or until the eggs have just set. Remove from the heat.
  5. Toast the bread slices under the broiler until golden brown on both sides. Pile the scrambled eggs on top of the toast and serve immediately.

Cook’s tip

Do not overcook the eggs; they should be just set, not firm, as they continue to cook when removed from the heat. A little chopped Serrano ham, added with the garlic, is often included in this recipe.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Cooking with Eggs

In Pictures: Home-cooked One-plate Breakfasts

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