Review: Are Pictures of Food Making Us Eat More?

If you went to your favorite social media site, how many pictures of food would you see? Maybe you have even taken some of these pictures yourself! Add this to the countless cooking shows, cookbooks, and recipe blogs, and you probably see a lot of food images throughout the day.

If you’re scrolling through at a lot of fat and calorie-rich food images that look delicious – coined food porn – that might be making you eat more, especially if you are already hungry, points out a new review on the topic. Published in Brain and Cognition, the review article looks at how the many food images we see everyday may be playing a role in the current obesity epidemic.22302352_s

Obesity is linked to increased risk of ten cancers, including colorectal and liver.

While we usually think about the sense of taste when it comes to food, sight is integral to nutrition and survival. If you think back to a time when we were hunting and gathering, sight is how we foraged for food. Visual cues allowed our early ancestors to predict how safe and nutritious the food, argues the paper’s authors. Continue reading

Talk to Your Teens About Cancer Prevention

Parents are teens’ top source of health information, according to a new study from Northwestern University. This is important for helping your teens learn about a topic they are probably not thinking a lot about: cancer prevention.

The “Teens, Health & Technology” survey included a nationally representative group of American teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18. Fifty-five percent of teens reported that they got “a lot” of their health information from parents, followed by health classes at school, medical providers, and the Internet (see below). This means that, for the majority of teens, the conversation about cancer prevention has to begin at home.


*13-18 year olds who say they get “a lot” – Source: Teens, Health and Technology survey, June 2015.

The habits your teens are forming now will likely follow them into adulthood, so now is the time to start building positive health-promoting habits.

Here are 4 things parents can do to teach teens about cancer prevention: Continue reading

Pizza for Cancer Prevention? Mining Twitter for Popular Nutrition and Cancer Myths

I am not a cancer expert.canstockphoto6433880

So when I want to get a sense of the state of research related to nutrition and cancer I turn to resources like the AICR. But many people don’t know about such resources, and this is reflected in cancer knowledge. For instance, the AICR’s own survey found that 42% of Americans don’t think that a healthy diet can reduce cancer risk, and fewer are aware of associations with specific foods such as processed meat.

What resources are people visiting, and what are they talking about? One way to get a glimpse of this is to mine Twitter, which I did for the last couple weeks, collecting about 420,000 tweets containing the word “cancer”. From these, I used the list of terms and their derivatives from this AICR/WCRF report, along with other health related terms that I came up with (82 in total) to assemble a list of 14,585 tweets for analysis of the links being posted. Continue reading