Eat Late at Night = 55% Greater Risk of Death!

No Breakfast, Midnight Snacks May Hurt Heart

Published: Jul 23, 2013 | Updated: Jul 23, 2013, By Todd Neale, Senior Staff Writer, MedPage Today  REPRINTED IN FULL

Skipping breakfast or eating late at night should top the not-to-do lists of men in middle age and beyond; not only do they have metabolic effects, they may also put men at higher risk for coronary heart disease, researchers found.

Over a 16-year period, male health professionals who said they regularly skipped breakfast were 27% more likely to die, according to Leah Cahill, PhD, of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues, who adjusted for diet, demographics, physical activity, television watching, and amount of sleep.

And those who said they ate late at night were 55% more likely to die.

Both relationships, however, fell shy of statistical significance after further adjustment for body mass index, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and diabetes, “suggesting that eating habits may affect risk of coronary heart disease through pathways associated with these traditional risk factors,” they reported online in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

The results should be validated in other studies, the researchers said.

“If replicated in women and other ethno-cultural groups, the findings from the present study provide evidence to support a recommendation of daily breakfast eating by clinicians and health authorities to prevent coronary heart disease and to improve health at both the individual and population levels,” they wrote.

“There’s lots of things we know that we can do to reduce our coronary heart disease risk,” said co-author Eric Rimm, ScD, in an interview. “This is a cheap one, it’s a simple message, [and] it can be part of any primary care provider’s message to a patient.”

In a scientific statement from the American Heart Association in 2012, researchers outlined effective population approaches to improve dietary habits. In 2013, the heart organization updated its guide for improving cardiovascular health at the community level.

Previous studies have demonstrated associations between skipping meals and excess weight, dyslipidemia, hypertension, insulin resistance, and diabetes, but a possible association with coronary heart disease had not been explored.

Cahill and colleagues examined the relationship between coronary heart disease risk and skipping breakfast and other eating habits using data from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS), an ongoing investigation of male health professionals.

The current analysis included 26,902 men ages 45 to 82 who were free from cardiovascular disease and cancer in 1992, which served as baseline. At that point, 13% reported not eating breakfast and 0.2% said they ate late at night.

Through follow-up, there were 1,527 incident cases of coronary heart disease, defined as nonfatal MI or fatal coronary heart disease.

The relationships between coronary heart disease and both skipping breakfast and eating late at night became nonsignificant after adjustment for potential mediators — RR 1.18 (95% CI 0.98-1.43) for skipping breakfast and RR 1.41 (95% CI 0.95-2.08) for late-night eating.

“However,” the authors noted, “we were underpowered with cases for a detailed mediation analysis, especially for late-night eating.”

“The late-night eaters in our study represented only a small percentage of the HPFS population, and too few other population studies have reported the frequency of late-night eating for an accurate assessment of whether late-night eating is a common habit,” they wrote. “Therefore, it remains unknown whether the association that we observed between late-night eating and risk of coronary heart disease is relevant as a public health concern.”

The number of times the men ate per day was not associated with the risk of coronary heart disease, even though previous analyses of this cohort have shown relationships between eating frequency and weight gain and type 2 diabetes.

Cahill and colleagues acknowledged several limitations of the study, including the lack of information on circadian rhythms and exposure to light and dark; the low rate of working night shifts, which precluded an assessment of the influence of shift work; the inclusion of data on regular eating habits only; and the study’s nearly all-white population. In addition, eating habits were assessed at one point only and that information was not accompanied by the specific nutrient composition of meals and snacks.

“Future studies to confirm our findings are necessary, as are studies of other cardiovascular outcomes such as hypertension and stroke that may have modestly different etiologic pathways,” the researchers wrote.

For information on secondary prevention and risk reduction for cardiac and vascular disease see these guidelines from the American Heart Association.

The study was funded by National Institutes of Health grants and by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Postdoctoral Fellowship.

The authors reported that they had no conflicts of interest.

Be kind to yourself. Therapy helps.                                                                                       
Sharon Valentino – Valentino Therapy, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (51746), MA, CHT, LMFT, Psychotherapist, Masters Counseling Psychology                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Web:                                                                                    Facebook:                                                       Blog:                                                                       Blog:

Posted in Healthy Eating, Weight Loss | Leave a comment

You Are Not A Dog!

You are not a dog.

Do not reward yourself with food.

Every bite you take... Every snack you make ...I'll be watching you.

Be kind to yourself. Therapy helps.                                                                                       
Sharon Valentino – Valentino Therapy, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (51746), MA, CHT, LMFT, Psychotherapist, Masters Counseling Psychology                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Web:                                                                                    Facebook:                                                       Blog:                                                                       Blog:

You are not Hungry

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Reasons We Eat When We Aren’t Hungry

Reasons We Eat When We Aren’t Hungry



We all do it…eat when we aren’t really hungry.


Food (Photo credit: Spicygreenginger)

Since we are a nation of over-weight people, it’s a huge problem. One way to address it is to ask ourself, “What do I really want/need right now? You may be amazed at the answer.

Here are some ways you may be eating unhealthy and what you may do to transition to what you really want:

  1. It’s there. Right in front of me. Who has an elegant container of crudités on ice on their desk that you pass right by? Your co-worker? Even your dentist? No one? Do you? You could bring a bag on ice to work with you as easily as you could make an extra sandwich or search for a sweet to bring. You could also have a small bowl of fruit on your own desk that you’d rather get back to. I have one on my bedside table so I won’t be tempted to go downstairs late at night and find something that’s not helpful. When food is in plain sight, it is generally mindlessly eaten simply because it’s there. Any treat right in front of you for the taking, visible and easy to reach is hard for anyone to turn down. If you’re unable to resist, walk away and ask yourself why, exactly, do I want this right now? What do I really need. Is it anxiety, loneliness, discomfort? Look at it! It won’t go away or be manageable if you don’t.
  2. Are you really just bored and not paying enough attention to admit it? Are you not missing anything but excitement and something to be interested in? You are just eating when it seems there is nothing better to do? Here’s the problem – you can only eat so long and then you still have yourself to live with and the rest of your life to live. Would you rather be fat and still be bored because you learned how to numb yourself out for a short while with food? What is wrong with this picture? If you honestly can’t think of anything to do but eat then make a list at once of alternative behaviors and refer to it before you put food you don’t need anywhere near your hands. Try calling or writing (e or text or FaceTime) a friend, join a class that requires homework or practicing, learn something, knit, play the guitar or do something that keeps your hands busy, start a blog, read something really engaging, get out the door for a walk or the gym, walk your dog or the neighbor’s, get to the beach and feel the healing negative ions or invite a neighbor you barely know over to expand your list of social contacts and go through your list of pals and acquaintances to invite several to several events or activities. Get moving instead of eating.
  3. Because it’s time to eat – lunch, dinner, whatever. My opinion is this: If you are getting adequate protein, lots of water and plenty of plant sterols in your diet…eat only when you are hungry or when you know it will be a long break before you can eat again.
  4. Are you an emotional eater? I am. I think most people are, except for the lucky few who cannot take a bite of anything when they are upset. Emotions trigger most people to eat. It’s a fact. We eat to celebrate. We eat soothing foods to soothe ourselves, which is often safer than confronting a person we are quite upset with – or so it seems. I find I want crunchy foods exclusively when I’m really annoyed; you couldn’t give me pudding at a time like that. Some people use chewing gum, popcorn, caramels or nuts in this way (hopefully not in public, we don’t need another Britney frantically chewing gum with her mouth open at public events). There’s good research that shows rapid chewing moves the jaw muscles, releasing various feel good/calming chemicals. But here is the problem: when we turn to food to affect any emotion, the feelings and the emotions never go away; you’ve only pushed them down for a while. They are waiting to resurface. I advise seeing a therapist (what a surprise since I am one) or using a journal daily to get some of the negative feelings identified, down on the paper and out of you.
  5. You are out with other people eating, probably drinking and you lose all sense of your goals. We all know how easy it is to eat way too much when we are with pals who are eating and probably encouraging us to order more or “better” – this is doubled many times over when we are drinking with them. “Oh, what the hell”, is what we often think because “everyone” else is doing it. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we all want to fit it and not make ourselves stand out or look like we are better than others – that we won’t join in. Research proves that we will copy our companions’ behavior in situations like these. There are various strategies that can help such as drinking water before you join the group (or person), drinking more water while there will fill you up and make it uncomfortable to stuff yourself, eating some crudities and a little protein, or a low calorie smoothie before arriving, and more. But, mindfulness works best of all.
  6. Just this once… While it is true that no one ever got fat on one Thanksgiving dinner, in most of the US we are capable of eating that way every day – and often eat fairly good parts of it daily. A celebration is only special if it is occasional! It seems like every day or every week is a celebration. I was with a bunch of psychology pals last night for a great dinner and we weren’t even finished before someone said, “What is the next celebration THIS MONTH?” Sadly, we even meet for dog’s birthdays – that is how crazy we get to find more excuses to celebrate. Thankfully, no one could come up with another cause for celebration this month…until someone mentioned how many SF Giants game will be aired for the rest of the month. This is July 20th!! Your friends and family may not be that crazy but I’ll wager you are dealing with some sort of office, family and friends events that involve cake and adult beverages. It may be that you don’t have to go and can make an excuse, or that you can focus on the celebration or event and not the food, or bring your own low calorie treats to share. YOU DON’T HAVE TO EAT EVERYTHING OR ANYTHING for that matter. And you certainly don’t need seconds. At least my friends usually make agreements for the very next day to meet up for a hike or long walk. Making that agreement on the spot might work for you too, b/c if you know that’s what you committed to, that alone is a deterrent to over-indulging.
  7. Maybe you are too damn tired, bone weary and your blood sugar in low enough that you can feel it. It happens to us all. We generally urge ourselves, with considerable encouragment  from those close by, to have something to eat right away; and that usually ends up being sugar and carbs. Why? Because it works right away! We feel better and clearly feel more energy right away. Regrettably, those good feelings are nearly always followed by an even worse crash. Instead, take a walk around the block or office, get out for some natural light, a tall glass of cold water and get some protein right away – even a few almonds can make a difference. Change the geography is what I often tell my clients when they are fighting, bored, upset, about to over-eat or eat unwisely. Just leaving the area you are in (alone), taking a quick (or long) walk in a different area will restore mindfulness and some level of serenity, whether you planned it to or not.

Be kind to yourself. Therapy helps.                                                                                       
Sharon Valentino – Valentino Therapy, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (51746), MA, CHT, LMFT, Psychotherapist, Masters Counseling Psychology                                                                                                            Stress, Anxiety, Addiction SpecialistRelationships, Depression, PTSD, Pain
             Serving individuals, couples, groups and families in the SF Bay Area and online for CA residents                                                                                                                                       Web:                                                                                    Facebook:                                                       Blog:                                                                       Blog:


Posted in Happiness, Healthy Eating, Weight Loss | 1 Comment

Scientists find how “obesity gene” makes people fat

Scientists find how “obesity gene” makes people fat

By Ben Hirschler LONDON | Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:01pm EDT – REPRINTED IN FULL FROM REUTERS ARTICLE 7.15.2013

(Reuters) – Scientists have unraveled how a gene long associated with obesity makes people fat by triggering increased hunger, opening up potential new ways to fight a growing global health problem.

A common variation in the FTO gene affects one in six of the population, making them 70 percent more likely to become obese – but until now experts did not know why.

Using a series of tests, a British-led research team said they had found that people with the variation not only had higher levels of the “hunger hormone” ghrelin in their blood but also increased sensitivity to the chemical in their brains.

“It’s a double hit,” said Rachel Batterham from University College London, who led the study, which was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation on Monday.

The discovery follows studies of blood samples from people after meals, combined with functional magnetic resonance imaging of volunteers’ brains and cell-based studies looking at ghrelin production at a molecular level.

Batterham said the work provided new insights and possible new leads for treatment, since some experimental drugs are known to suppress ghrelin and could be particularly effective if targeted at patients with the obesity-risk variant of the gene.

Previous research has also shown that ghrelin can be reduced by eating a high-protein diet.

Steve Bloom of Imperial College London, who was not involved in the study, said the FTO gene only explained a small part of the obesity epidemic but the latest discovery was “an important step forward” in unraveling the various factors involved.

The prevalence of obesity is increasing worldwide at an alarming rate and both developed and developing countries are affected. Obesity is a major risk factor for diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.

At least 2.8 million adults die each year as a result of being overweight or obese and more than 40 million children under the age of five were overweight in 2011, according to the World Health Organization.

Developing effective obesity drugs has been a challenge for drugmakers, although some new medicines are now coming through.

After a gap of more than a decade, two new obesity drugs – Vivus Inc’s Qsymia and Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc’s Belviq – were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year.

Belviq’s launch was delayed, however, pending a final classification on its risk of abuse and Qsymia’s sales have been disappointing, triggering fierce criticism from Vivus’s largest shareholder.

Be kind to yourself. Therapy helps.
Sharon Valentino – Valentino Therapy, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (51746), MA, CHT, LMFT, Psychotherapist, Masters                                                                                                                                   Web:                                                                                    Facebook:                                                       Blog:                                                                       Blog:

Posted in Weight Loss | Leave a comment

Food Addiction? Yes, it exists.

 Can Carbs & Sweets Turn You Into an Addict?

Apparently so!
Information has come out lately refuting the old wisdom that food is not addictive and that fatties should just exercise self-control.  Self-responsibility was the term often used.
More recent research indicates that processed foods (sodas, cake, candy, white bread, cookies, potato chips) can addict people, cause them to crave more of those foods and make them go looking for them with some vigor.
CBS News last week quoted Dr. David Ludwig’s (Director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital) press release about his research, “Beyond reward and craving, part of the brain is linked to substance abuse and dependence, which raises the question as to whether certain foods might be addictive.” His study, using milkshakes made the point and documented the strong cravings some time afterwards for more, or similar.
Adding to that and commenting on the study, Dr. Christoph Buettner, an associate professor of neuroscience at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, said, “Food activates similar areas in the brain as drugs do, that is already accepted.” Buettner, who was not involved in the above research, added, “The strength of this study is that it shows that the kind of diet you eat can influence this.”
WebMD and several magazines jumped on this new data as well with comment or stories of their own. It seems to be time to learn more and educate ourselves.
So what’s next? Cold turkey or a measured taper off to beat addiction?
Or will food addiction clinics pop up around the country to help sufferers beat the addiction? I doubt that this is something that is easy to beat alone.
The new research was published June 26 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Be kind to yourself. Therapy helps.
Sharon Valentino – Valentino Therapy, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (51746), MA, CHT, LMFT, Psychotherapist, Masters Counseling Psychology                                                                                                            Stress, Anxiety, Addiction SpecialistRelationships, Depression, PTSD, Pain
             Serving individuals, couples, groups and families in the SF Bay Area and online for CA residents                                                                                                                                       Web:                                                                                    Facebook:                                                       Blog:  


Posted in Healthy Eating, Weight Loss | Leave a comment

How to beat a food addiction or craving.

How to beat a food craving!

Doesn’t everyone want to know that!

You can do it. You can achieve a healthy weight and self image.

In my clinical practice I’ve used a tool a lot that people report helps them a great deal.

If you think of a craving and realize it is growing stronger – even compelling you to use the problem food or use it in problem amounts, remind yourself that it happens in steps. Hard to believe and even harder to actually realize you can beat it if you follow the method I’m sharing here. However, once you have tried it and can see that it helps and that it often stops the unwanted behavior altogether, I think you’ll use it often.

When a craving strikes, remember that it will grow stronger and stronger – you already know that. Image that it is a very steep, rocky, perilous mountain slope that you feel you have to go up, that you have no other choice because the craving is strong and it is already upon you.

It will climb and climb upwards in you until you can’t stand it any longer and you medicate yourself so you can fall back down into a medicated state. It may not be a good state, nor a lasting one, but it’s one that you are familiar with. The fall may bloody or hurt you, make you ashamed, obese, hate yourself or even make yourself sick, but you are on familiar ground once again.

However, if you will just keep with the climb and let it get to the peak, that intensity will only last for a little while. The peak of every mountain is quite small and short in comparison to everything that came before it – that’s why it’s called the peak.

You can then take a deep breath and be very proud of yourself.

Go ahead and walk (or ski) down the other side of the mountain.

Once you look over the side of the ugly peak, you will see the other side is a much more gentle slope, with beautiful views of what lies ahead. You will not have to “sweat it”, hold on for dear life, get cut, bruised or killed by a fall because this side’s gentle downward slope has grass, meadows, maybe flowers, streams, perhaps a lake, and nice nature-minded people along the way to share some time with.

You walk down with pride, accomplishment and good feelings about yourself that you haven’t felt for a very long time.

You absolutely can do it. Imagine what your life will be like when you prove this to yourself.

What have you got to lose? Everything? Then go for it.

Be kind to yourself. Therapy helps.
                                                                                       Sharon Valentino – Valentino Therapy, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (51746), MA, CHT, LMFT, Psychotherapist, Masters Counseling Psychology IMG_0067

Stress, Anxiety, Addiction Specialist, Relationships, Depression, PTSD, Pain
Serving individuals, couples, groups and families in the SF Bay Area and online for CA residents Web:                                                                                    Facebook:                                                    Blog:                                                                      Blog:   scale

Posted in Healthy Eating, Weight Loss | Leave a comment

Nutrition Bad? Brain sputters.

Big body? Little brain!

Your brain weighs only, roughly, three pounds. That’s about 2% of your body weight.

Your brain uses about 20-30% of the calories you eat. Food hog? Or very active machine needing a lot of fuel?

Do you think that what you eat affects how well you think and feel?

What you feed yourself is either helping your brain keep working at all, helping it to keep itself working properly, helping it to repair itself and helping it to fight depression and disease.

Do you really want that junk food? What kind of day you are going to have is dramatically affected by what you choose to eat, how much alcohol and what substances you use.

Garbage in, garbage out was coined by George Fuechse. Nobody much remembers him but I’m guessing most Americans know his quote. Do you remember your best size? When you were the happiest? I’ll wager that everyone remembers that special time when you were proud of yourself, probably feeling good, had good energy, were interested in sex, life and had many interests…maybe goals too. You can have it again.

According to Dr. Daniel Amen, the famed neurosurgeon, there are at least 22 studies showing that as your weight goes up, both the size and the function of your brain goes down. When it comes to the brain, he says, size matters.

Don’t know about you, but that scares me because I really need my brain. With every year I grow older, it becomes more readily apparent. I do notice a difference when I eat very healthy and exercise – especially when I take the dogs on an second walk or jump on the elliptical to watch the Giant’s game. It’s pretty hard to eat when walking or exercising and it’s pretty hard to eat junk afterwards too. What are you waiting for?

 “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”  ~Jim Rohn

Be kind to yourself. Therapy helps.
Sharon Valentino – Valentino Therapy, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (51746), MA, CHT, LMFT, Psychotherapist, Masters Counseling Psychology                                      Stress, Anxiety, Addiction SpecialistRelationships, Depression, PTSD, Pain
Serving individuals, couples, groups and families in the SF Bay Area and online for CA residents                                                                                                                                       Web:                                                                                    Facebook:                                                           Blog:                                                                       Blog:

Lobes of the brain, color-coded.

Lobes of the brain, color-coded. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Posted in Exercise, Happiness, Healthy Eating, Weight Loss | 2 Comments