Nutrition News: Good Fats, Sugar Addiction, Running Mistakes

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Embrace good fats

Is it finally time to stop fearing all fats? The low-fat trend — already under fire — just took another hit from science. Researchers in Spain have concluded that all fats are not created equal – and that some will not lead to significant weight gain, regardless of calorie content. The study tracked 7,447 middle-aged men and women over five years and found that those who were put on a Mediterranean diet — with lots of fresh fruits, veggies and lean proteins, as well as olive oil and nuts — without calorie restrictions lost a bit more weight than those who were assigned a low-fat diet with no restrictions in their caloric intake.

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Sugar addiction

We all know what sugar does to our waistline, but what about its effect on our brain? Dr. Nicole Avena, a neuroscientist at New York City’s Mt. Sinai Hospital and author of the book Why Diets Fail, explains in a Reuters video that eating sweet foods activates taste receptors in the tongue that send signals to the brain stem and then on to other areas of the brain, including those associated with “reward and reinforcement.” “So when you eat a bite of something that tastes sweet, it can release dopamine in these pleasure centers in the brain,” she says, “and that’s what leads us to want to consume more and more of it.” Recent research indicates that sugar can actually “act like a drug of abuse” on your brain, Avena notes. For sugar addicts, that’s probably not surprising at all.

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Running don’ts

Dedicated runners who still can’t manage to shed those extra pounds — or who find themselves actually gaining a bit of weight — may want to check out this list of five common running mistakes, compiled by U.S. News and World Report:

1: Don’t “over-fuel” with tons of sports drinks and gels. (Too many calories.)

2: Don’t overconsume food. (Again with the calories.)

3: Don’t stop moving when you’re not running. (Ditch the post-run nap.)

4: Don’t rely on running as your sole form of aerobic exercise. (Challenge your body; switch it up a bit.)

5: Don’t forget to give yourself a break. (Take one day off a week!)

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.