Archive for the ‘Weight Loss’ Category

In the News: Laugh your weight away

Friday, May 1st, 2009

If you need extra help to shift some weight, then scientists have suggested that we should lighten up and laugh more.

Researchers have calculated that an hour of laughter can burn off around 100 calories – the equivalent of a small chocolate bar. Other less fun ways of burning the same amount of weight include thirty minutes of weightlifting or forty minutes of housework. And giggling away for an hour a day for a year could lead to a loss of about eleven pounds. This is because a burst of heavy laughter provides the body with a mini aerobic workout. The heart beats faster and boosts circulation around the body. The chest is forced to rise and fall and abdominal muscles have to work hard to keep up, tightening the tummy. And the health benefits don’t just end there: laughter requires help from many muscles in the face, keeping them supple and the skin smooth. It also boosts levels of feel good endorphins and cuts stress – and stress is known to increase the chances of weight gain, especially in the belly area.


Other studies have shown that laughter can be beneficial for the heart, boosting circulation as much as exercise or cholesterol-lowering drugs. Even thinking about something funny appears to be good for our health. It is enough to boost our spirits and boost the immune system, with effects lasting for up to 24 hours.


The message is simple: laughing away excess weight by spending time with friends, seeing the humour in situations or watching a funny show or film is a great way to keep in shape, as long as you are not consuming extra calories while you are laughing.

In the News: It’s fine to go to work on an egg

Friday, May 1st, 2009

A British Heart Foundation study has exploded the misconception that eggs can cause heart attacks. In fact, researchers suggested that one egg a day as part of a balanced diet can not only boost health, but actually help people lose weight.

In the 1960s the average Britain ate five eggs a week, boosted by the government ‘go to work on an egg’ campaign, but during the 70s and 80s consumption fell dramatically after health minister Edwina Currie suggested that eggs were infected with salmonella and official advice suggested a three-a-week limit. In 2005 the British Heart Foundation dropped this limit and suggested that we can eat more, but in 2009 it appears that the message is still not getting through as most people still only eat two to three eggs a week.


The British Heart Foundation used to recommend that people limit their consumption to no more than three eggs a week because eggs contain cholesterol, which is known to increase the risk of heart disease. In 2005 it dropped this advice because studies showed that little of the cholesterol in eggs actually made its way into the blood. Many people, however, still aren’t aware that it really is safe to go to work on an egg each day, so now a paper presented to the British Nutrition Foundation has set out the definitive evidence showing there is no link between increased egg consumption and an increased risk of heart disease. The paper shows that it is not increased egg consumption but factors such as smoking, being overweight, and a lack of physical exercise that can influence blood fat and cholesterol levels and increase risk of heart disease. The only people advised against eating too many eggs are people with a condition called familial hypercholesterolaemia. (See this issue’s Star Question for nutritional help in lowering cholesterol.)

Quick Tip: Write it down

Friday, May 1st, 2009

A six month study from Kaiser Permanente’s Centre for Health Research, USA, found that dieters who kept a daily food diary lost up to twice as much weight as those who did not. You don’t need to keep a formal diary, but reflecting on what you eat in this way encourages you to eat less.