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April 15, 2014

Quiz: Eat well and get moving

We all know that diet and exercise play a major role in maintaining good physical health. Here are the answers to a few of the questions you may have on the subject.

Q1- If you walk to stay in shape, how many steps per minute do you need to take for your activity to be considered exercise?

One hundred steps/minute.

Q2- Is perspiration a good indicator of the intensity of effort?

No, the level of perspiration varies from one person to the next and so is not a valid indicator of effort. Your breathing is a better measure. You must be slightly out of breath, but still able to speak in slightly broken sentences.

Q3- Does the body begin to lose its fitness level after 15 days of physical inactivity?

Yes, it does. The benefits of exercise cannot be stored. To stay in shape, you must therefore be active regularly (30 minutes/5 times a week).

Q4- What ingredients make foods so irresistible and satisfying?

The answer is fat, salt, sugar

Fat, sugar and salt are three ingredients that have been proven to make food compelling and satisfying. Dopamine, nicknamed the “pleasure chemical,” is secreted when we eat foods we crave and plays an important psychological role in our relationship with food. Associated with pleasure and reward, dopamine is responsible for addiction to drugs, nicotine and alcohol. It is also activated by eating.

So when we consume sugar, salt or fat, a surge of dopamine is produced. The response is even stronger when two of these ingredients are combined – sugar and fat in ice cream, for example. When that happens, the stomach or the brain generally just wants one thing – more!

During holidays, at Christmas for example, we tend to overeat or eat too many of the wrong foods. Here are a few tips to avoid these pitfalls:

  • Have a snack (fruit + yogurt or vegetables + cheese) before the party. This will keep you from heading for those hors d’oeuvres as soon as you walk through the door.
  • Start with a glass of water. You’ll avoid the effects of drinking alcohol on an empty stomach and be less likely to eat (alcohol is an appetite stimulant).
  • During meals, try everything, but keep the portions small. Pretend it’s a food tasting!
  • Eat slowly
  • Listen to your body’s signals that it is full. Ask yourself, “Am I still hungry?”
  • Between meals and parties, do any kind of sport or activity; just get moving!

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