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First for Women

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Surprise! Pasta can help speed slimming

That’s the word from researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. In a review of data from 2,500 adults, they found that subjects who enjoyed a 1/2 cup serving of pasta three times a week as part of a healthy diet actually lost 1/2 pounds more than those who favored other carbs. Lead study author John Sievenpiper, M.D., explains that pasta’s low-glycemic index ensures its carbs are slowly absorbed into the bloodstream, which promotes satiety and prevents the insulin surges that pack on fat.

The menu matters

Dining out at restaurants, coffee shops and cafeterias that include calorie counts on the menu can help you reduce your overall food intake effortlessly, report researchers at the University of Cambridge in Massachusetts. They found that when clear nutrition labels were included on food options, it reduced the energy content of the food purchased by 8 percent and cut calories consumed at meals by an average of 12 percent. It seems that seeing calorie information at the point-of-purchase subconsciously cues customers to make more mindful, healthier decisions, like choosing options with more lean protein and vegetables.

A good reason to ask for your steak medium-rare

Doing so can help keep your blood-sugar levels in check. When Harvard researchers analyzed data following 28,900 people over 16 years, they found that those who rarely ate meat that was cooked “well done” were 150 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Scientists note that cooking animal protein at higher temperatures causes the creation of inflammatory compounds that can interfere with cells’ response to insulin over time, whereas lightly browned meats have fewer of these harmful compounds.

Must-read news for women taking vitamin D

The health benefits of vitamin D are well-known, but a new study in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association reveals that 50 percent of people supplementing with the nutrient miss out on the perks. The reason: Low magnesium levels prevent the body from activating vitamin D. But eating two daily servings of magnesium-rich foods (including chocolate, spinach and beans) quickly corrects shortfalls.

20%

Number of American meals that are eaten in the car on the go

SOURCE: DoSomething.org

(PHOTOS: GETTY.)

Yet another win for walnuts

Noshing on a handful of these omega-3–rich treats daily can help improve gut health, according to recent research in The Journal of Nutrition. In the study, subjects who consumed 1/3 cup of walnuts daily showed significantly greater increases in levels of three “good” bacteria strains—plus significant drops in “bad” bacteria—compared with those who didn’t eat the nuts. The authors reason that the fiber in walnuts acts as food for good bugs that helps them thrive and multiply. That’s a plus since these good bacteria have been shown to curb digestive issues, boost mood and fire up fat burning.

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