Cutting Cravings; Life Expectancy on the Rise

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Cutting Cravings
If you find yourself frequently craving an unhealthy food, there may be a surprising way to cut down on those cravings — restrict or remove the food from your diet.

To test the effects of food restriction on cravings and appetite, researchers randomly assigned 270 obese men and women to either a low-carbohydrate diet or a low-fat diet for two years. People on the low-carbohydrate diet were told to limit carbohydrates (by restricting high-sugar foods such as jelly and removing high-carbohydrate foods such as bagels) and to instead focus on eating foods high in fat and protein. Those on the low-fat diet were instructed to cut back on calories and fat and to limit protein, aiming for a diet consisting of roughly 15% of calories from protein, 30% of calories from fat, and 55% of calories from carbohydrate. The researchers surveyed the participants to find out how often they craved sweets, carbohydrates, high-fat foods, starches, and fast-food fats. They were also asked about their food preferences to see how much they liked the foods that were restricted from their diet.

The researchers found that people in the low-carbohydrate group experienced much larger drops in cravings for carbohydrate and starches and had bigger declines in preferences for high-carbohydrate and high-sugar foods compared to people in the low-fat group. Those in the low-carbohydrate group were also less bothered by hunger than those in the low-fat group. Those in the low-fat group, on the other hand, saw larger decreases in cravings for high-fat foods and also had bigger decreases in preferences for low-carbohydrate, high-protein foods than people in the low-carbohydrate group.

The study authors suggest that this study “demonstrate[s] that promoting the restriction of specific types of foods while dieting causes decreased cravings and preferences for the foods that are targeted for restriction.” They note that this is contrary to what most people expect when they restrict foods from their diet.

To learn more about the research, read the article “How to Stop Food Cravings” or see the study’s abstract in the journal Obesity.

Life Expectancy on the Rise
And now for a bit of good news: Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health have found that the life expectancy of people with Type 1 diabetes dramatically increased over the course of a 30-year, long-term study, such that those with the condition are now living nearly as long as other Americans.

The data came from participants in the Pittsburgh Epidemiology of Diabetes Complications (EDC) study, started in 1986 to investigate childhood-onset Type 1 diabetes. The participants were, on average, 28 years old when entering the study and 44 years old at its completion and had been diagnosed with Type 1 between 1950 and 1980.

To estimate the life expectancy of people with Type 1 diabetes, the researchers looked at the mortality and life expectancy rates of the study participants. They found that the 30-year mortality of people diagnosed with Type 1 between 1965 and 1980 was 11.6%, compared to a 35.6% 30-year mortality for those diagnosed between 1950 and 1964. In terms of lifespan, the life expectancy of people diagnosed between 1965 and 1980 was 68.8 years, representing a 15-year improvement compared to those diagnosed between 1950 and 1964. In the same time period, the life expectancy of the general population in the United States increased by less than a year.

According to lead study author Trevor J. Orchard, MD, “the estimated 15-year life expectancy improvement between the two groups persisted regardless of gender or pubertal status at diagnosis.”

For more information about this research, see the article “Life With Type 1 Diabetes Gets Longer,” from Harvard Medical School.

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