Nutrition News: Commuter Weight Gain, B-12 for the Brain, Cooking Methods and Diabetes Risk

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Is Your Commute Making You Fat?

A new study of British commuters conducted by the Royal Society for Public Health has found that those with long, “non-active” work commutes — passive rides in trains, buses or cars – may suffer consequences including heightened stress, blood pressure and BMI and decreased time for healthy activities, such as cooking nutritious meals, exercising and getting adequate sleep.

Almost 38 percent of those polled said their long commute meant they had less time to make healthy meals at home, and 29 percent said their commute compelled them to eat more fast food. Noting that the survey found, too, that workers were consuming an extra 767 calories per week due to their long commutes, Health.com suggests eating a healthy breakfast (prepared ahead of time, if necessary) before leaving the house.

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B-12 Brain Boost

You may think that if you eat a well-balanced diet, including animal-protein foods such as meat, fish, milk, cheese and eggs, you’re clear on the vitamin-intake front, but New York Times health and wellness writer Jane Brody suggests that may not be the case. A woman of a certain age (75, to be precise), Brody takes a daily supplement of vitamin D and is considering adding vitamin B-12 as well.

“You see, the ability to absorb B12 naturally present in foods depends on the presence of adequate stomach acid, the enzyme pepsin and a gastric protein called intrinsic factor to release the vitamin from the food protein it is attached to,” she explains. “Only then can the vitamin be absorbed by the small intestine. As people age, acid-producing cells in the stomach may gradually cease to function, a condition called atrophic gastritis.” Vitamin B-12 deficiency has been linked to depression, dementia, mental impairment and low energy, among other things.

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Boiling Beats Frying

Decreasing your risk of getting Type 2 diabetes may be a matter of not only what foods you eat, but how you prepare them, as well. New research indicates that it’s best to boil, steam or poach your foods. Frying, grilling or baking them (aka “dry-heat cooking”) can produce something called advanced glycation end products (AGEs), high levels of which are linked to insulin resistance, cellular stress and inflammation. Of course, what you eat is also key, a nutritionist not involved in the study, Samantha Heller of NYU Langone Medical Center, told UPI, noting, “Vegetables and other plant foods aren’t as high in AGEs.”

Related Links:

5 Healthy Breakfasts to Fit into Your Schedule

6 Ways to Nail Meal Prep This Week (and Every Week!)

How to Beat the Clock: 8 Back-to-School Breakfasts Ready in 15 Minutes or Less

10 Foods Your Dentist Wishes You'd Quit

Amy Reiter is a writer and editor based in New York. A regular contributor to The Los Angeles Times, she has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Glamour, Marie Claire, The Daily Beast and Wine Spectator, among others, as well as for Salon, where she was a longtime editor and senior writer.