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The Oscars of Eating: 12 Superstars

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Do you love watching the Oscars? In honor of award season, I'd like to give 12 awards for the best, research, tools and media on healthy eating and body image.

1. I Saw It on... Award: It's no surprise to hear the phrase, "I heard about it on Dr. Oz." Thank you Dr. Oz for giving us usable, practical information that has not only improved our health but has saved lives. If you haven't signed up for his affiliate site, it is a must. They send fantastic, research-based tips on all dimensions of health. Also, ask his network of professionals health questions on www.sharecare.com.

2. Non-Diet Eating Award: Forget dieting! Mindful eating is no longer a secret, thanks to a recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Education Behavior.[1] 35 middle-aged women who ate out at least three times per week were taught mindful eating skills -- tuning into hunger cues, savoring food, understanding mindless eating habits. The women in this study were not even trying to lose weight. But, after learning these skills, they lost an average of 3.75 pounds and were eating about 300 fewer calories per day. This practical pilot study suggests that it is possible to eat out and do so mindfully. This study, along with a recent article in the New York Times on mindful eating, has perked our interest in this new way to eat.

3. Eating Disorder Advocate: If you don't know the name Jennifer Schaefer, she is a talented musician, author and a women who has recovered from an eating disorder. She is frequently seen on Dr. Phil's show discussing the dangers of eating disorders. She is a wonderful reminder that recovery is possible!

4. Clever Food Researcher: Brian Wansink, director of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell and author of Mindless Eating, keeps us interested in the way our environment pushes us into overeating. His research list includes a large repertoire of inventive studies. He's investigated everything from the food in the painting of the Last Supper to how soup disappearing below a table can lead us to overeat.[2][3] We can't wait to see what he comes up with next.

5. Food Blog Award: If you want to learn interesting tidbits about nutrition, you must check out Fooducate. It's easy to read, interesting and up-to-date on current nutrition news. Also look for the App in iTunes.

6. Health Writer Award: The fantastic health writer Tara Parker-Pope recently made a splash with her personal essay entitled "The Fat Trap." People around the world could identify with her weight struggles and her candid personal story. We can count on Tara Parker-Pope to give us the latest news on the health and wellness front.

7. Movie Therapy Award: If you've watched Food, Inc., Fast Food Nation or Supersize Me, you know that films can make an impact on what and how you eat. Although it may not convince you to give up your steak, Forks Over Knives does make you think twice about the connection between what you eat and your health.

8. Stress-Busting Food: Pistachios hit the spotlight this year. It is the lowest calorie, lowest fat and highest fiber nut. There is evidence indicating that there are many health benefits to eating pistachios, including heart health, weight management and blood sugar control.[4] Not to mention a small recent Turkish study in which men with erectile dysfunction (ED) who added pistachios to their diet saw improvement in erectile function.[5]

9. Spotlight Award: Men are less likely to be overlooked in research and treatment for binge eating disorder anymore, thanks to a study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders. In the study, 21,743 men and 24,608 women participated in a health risk self- assessment. The researchers found that binge eating in the past month was reported by 7.5 percent of men and 11.19 percent of women. This kind of research reminds us that men also struggle with their eating and it opens the door for men to get treatment.[6]

10. In-the-Kitchen Award: If you own any of the books from the, How to Cook Everything, series it's likely that you pull it out often. It's great for even those who have difficult with basic cooking skills. Don't miss Mark Bittman's column in the New York Times or his blog. He will make you think twice -- in a good way -- about what you eat.

11. Extreme Makeover Award: Last year, the food pyramid got a dramatic makeover. The general consensus was positive. The simplicity and practical nature of the image is fantastic. For more info see My Plate. Thank you to the first lady, Michelle Obama, for unveiling this great new tool.

12. Body Image Movie Award: Darryl Roberts is back! His first movie, America the Beautiful, was a hit and moved audiences around the world. He brought to our attention some of the concerning elements of the beauty industry. His new documentary, America the Beautiful 2, features his own weight loss journey -- and attempt to do it in a healthy way in our diet-obsessed culture. I anticipate more insightful documentaries to come from Mr. Roberts.

Thank you to all of these winners! We appreciate all that you do. I have a list of many more people/tools/research that should have been added to the list. If you'd like to nominate someone (or thing), please send your favorites.

For more by Dr. Susan Albers, click here.

For more on diet and nutrition, click here.

References:

[1] Timmerman GM, Brown A. "The effect of a mindful restaurant eating intervention on weight management in women." J Nutr Educ Behav. 2012 Jan;44(1):22-8.

[2]Wansink B, Wansink CS. "The largest Last Supper: depictions of food portions and plate size increased over the millennium." Int J Obes. 2010 May;34(5):943-4. Epub 2010 Mar 23.

[4] Sari I, Baltaci Y, Bagci C, Davutoglu V, Erel O, Celik H, Ozer O, Aksoy N, Aksoy M. "Effect of pistachio diet on lipid parameters, endothelial function, inflammation, and oxidative status: a prospective study." Nutrition. 2010 Apr;26(4):399-404.

[3] Wansink B, Painter JE, North J."Bottomless bowls: why visual cues of portion size may influence intake." Obes Res. 2005 Jan;13(1):93-100.

[5] Shakiba B. "Erectile dysfunction improvement: pistachio or placebo effect." Int J Impot Res. 2011 Jul-Aug;23(4):180.

[5] Striegel RH, Bedrosian R, Wang C, Schwartz S. "Why men should be included in research on binge eating: Results from a comparison of psychosocial impairment in men and women."
Int J Eat Disord. 2012 Mar;45(2):233-40

Dr. Susan Albers is a psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic. She is the author of several books including 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food, Eating Mindfully, But-Deserve-This-Chocolate, and Eat, Drink & Be Mindful. www.eatingmindfully.com

twitter: @eatingmindfully

Susan Albers PsyD @2012

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