Surprising ways you are hurting your body

New studies have surfaced, revealing the surprising everyday activities that have negative long term impacts on the body.

A study published in the journal “Behavioral Sleep Medicine” noted a connection between sleep and weight gain.

An erratic sleep schedule may accentuate the effects of clocking less sleep than the eight hours needed.

Researchers tracked the weight and sleep patterns of 132 Brown University freshman for nine consecutive weeks. Students who went to sleep and set their alarms for different times every day gained more weight than those with a regular sleeping schedule.

Researchers believe the irregularity of going to bed at 11:00 one night and 2:00 in the morning another night can cause a case of chronic jet lag, which causes confusion to the metabolism in a way that promotes weight gain.

It was also found that weight gain was attributed to lack of breakfast. Students who woke up earlier enough to eat breakfast gained less weight because they did not have hunger cravings around lunch time and were able to maintain a healthy diet.

“I should probably get on a regular sleeping schedule,” says sophomore Ciara Goldin. “My current sleeping schedule is a mess.”

Diet plays a large role in weight gain; common diets and cleanses can actually make your body gain more weight. A diet where you rule out certain foods completely, like a juice cleanse, can actually cause weight gain rather than weight loss. When your body is deprived of food, it goes into a famine mode and starts storing fat from anything you eat to prepare for long-term starvation.

Fat has been ruled bad in all terms since the 90s fat-free food craze, but has long been misunderstood.

Myths circulated that eating any fat makes you fat. In reality, the fats you eat are very different from the fat your body stores. Because it takes a long time to digest, the nutrients in a fat helps you stay full and eventually helps weight management. Fats, like carbs and protein, are another type of necessary nutrient to a healthy body.

It is eating too much fat that will eventually lead to weight gain. Food with refined carbs, which increase your appetite, tend to be the culprit.

There are seven different types of fat that range from saintly to destructive. Fats like butter and hydrogenated oils can be destructive whereas eggs, avocados and nuts can be helpful.

Trans fat, however, is a potentially deadly type of fat. It can accumulate in your system, so even small amounts can shorten your life because trans fats cannot be digested by bacteria. Trans fats have long been used to extend the shelf-life of many products.

Since it cannot be digested, trans fat lines your arteries and liver and creates a dangerous situation that raise the risk of death from coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease and other heart problems.

Although you should avoid trans fats, foods that contain less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving can legally list zero grams of trans fat on their labels.

“Consume four servings of food with less than 0.5 grams per serving, and you’ll end up consuming 2 [sic] whole grams. It doesn’t sound significant but it can still make you sick,” says Dr. Lustig, M.D., professor at the University of California San Fransisco’s School of Medicine.

The best way to avoid trans fats before the FDA phases them out in 2018 is to scan the ingredients for “partially hydrogenated oil.”

Another common myth is that the less saturated fat you eat, the healthier you are. While it is true that people who eat more saturated fats from fatty meats have a higher risk of heart disease then people who eat less, replacing saturated fats with refined carbohydrates and added sugars can land you in the same danger zone.

Fat can be scary, but it is necessary for a balanced and healthy diet as displayed on the food chart below. In order to obtain its positive effects, you have to be cautious as to which fats you consume.


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If you do choose to consume fats, cardio is not the answer to burning them. The idea that cardio burns fat is a common misconception. Your liver keeps about 1,000 calories worth of easy-to-burn sugars on hand at all times, and you have to burn through that before your body starts to break down fat for fuel.

Because a cardio workout generally burns less than 1,000 calories in an hour, cardio will not necessarily burn body fat. In order to burn body fat, you would have to stick with cardio for an unrealistically long period of time.

Another reason for weight gain is the use of cellphones as it can actually trick you into gaining weight. Phones are distracting, especially at mealtime. Mindless scrolling through social media can make you less aware of when your body sends you the signal to stop eating, which will contribute to overeating.

“When you are on your cell phone when you eat, you aren’t aware of how much you are eating, and I notice my family does that a lot,” says sophomore Amy Fuller.

Under-eating can also be a culprit to an unhealthy lifestyle. Not eating enough, specifically at lunch, can lead to overeating later in the day. Fruit or sugary foods can have the same effect as they can spike your blood sugar and leave you hungry an hour later.

Along with the fluctuation of weight, food can also contribute to illness, like cancer.

A new report published in “The Lancet” claims red meat likely cause cancer. Red meat – including beef, pork, lamb, horse, and goat – is associated with colorectal, pancreatic and prostate cancer.

Processed meats, which are even worse, are linked to colorectal and stomach cancer. The research revealed that the act of cooking and processing the meat is probably what introduces the cancer-causing chemicals.

On a positive note, a study published in “PLOS Medicine” found that increasing your daily intake of veggies or fruits can help you lose up to half a pound more than the average person over time.

Overall, the best way to get or stay healthy is to have a balanced life with a balanced diet.


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