Science Catch-up. What Happens When Parents Comment on Their Daughter’s Weight?


by The Health Sciences Academy — Get free science updates here.


Welcome to our Thursday’s Science Catch-up: curated links by The Health Sciences Academy. Get our email updates every other Thursday here (it’s free).

Let’s catch you up with studies and news that recently made the headlines!

Click on your favourite topics to read our summary:

1. What happens when parents comment on their daughter’s weight?

2. Sugary drinks on a hot day worsen dehydration

3. Complex food texture promotes satiation

4. Almost all food and drink products marketed by music stars unhealthy

5. Sleep debt negatively impacts athletic performance

6. Do the obese have a ‘slower metabolism’?

7. Can genes predict life success?

What happens when parents comment on their daughter’s weight?

Study link

The less you make comments about your daughter’s weight, the less likely she is to be unhappy with her weight as an adult – according to this new Cornell study published in the journal Eating and Weight Disorders.

If you’re worried about your daughter’s weight, criticising them or restricting food can backfire.

Instead, a better strategy is to nudge healthy choices and behaviors. The researchers suggest to achieve this by:

  • talking about food, not a girl’s weight
  • never saying: “Don’t eat so much”
  • giving them the freedom to choose for themselves
  • making the healthier choices more appealing and convenient (such as keeping fruits and vegetables in the house)

Here’s an illustration that summarises the findings (feel free to share!):

When parents comment on girls weight_The Health Sciences Academy

When parents talk about food but not their weight, girls are more satisfied with their weight and even weigh less (Wansik et al., 2016)

Sugary drinks on a hot day worsen dehydration

Study link

Repeated dehydration on hot days shows an increased risk for chronic kidney damage.

In this animal study, drinking sugary drinks actually worsened dehydration and kidney injury!

Complex food texture promotes satiation

News link

It’s not just how much you eat, but also the texture of what you eat that can have an effect on your feelings of fullness!

Complex food texture promotes satiation_The Health Sciences Academy

Solid foods with richer textural complexity promote satiation, helping reduce caloric intake (Bryony et al., 2016)

This study, published in the prestigious journal Appetite, shows that eating food with complex textures decreased the participants’ appetite and food intake, compared to food with simple textures.

The researchers speculate this is because we spend more time chewing foods with higher textural complexity, which could trigger the satiation response earlier, reducing appetite.

Almost all food and drink products marketed by music stars unhealthy

Study link

This is the first study that quantifies the food and drinks endorsed by music celebs. It concluded that almost all endorsed products are ‘unhealthy’.

None of the music stars in it endorsed fruits, vegetables, or seeds.

Only one of them endorsed a natural food deemed healthier: pistachios!

Who? Gangman’s PSY.

And Shakira is the only one who endorsed yogurt (Activia).

Less healthy examples in the study include:

  • Beyoncé’s Pepsi endorsement worth ~USD 50 million
  • Justin Timberlake’s USD 6 million deal for the McDonald’s “I’m lovin’ it” tune
  • Pitbull’s promotion of Dr Pepper boosting sales by 1.7%
Products marketed by music stars_The Health Sciences Academy

Food and drink products marketed by music stars (Bragg et al., 2016)

Sleep debt negatively impacts athletic performance

News link

If you were planning to cut on your sleep for those morning workouts, think again!

In this study, chronic sleep restriction resulted in:

  • Lower caloric expenditure
  • Decreased aerobic power
  • Shorter time to exhaustion
  • Reduced peak heart rate
  • Overall poorer performance

And this research didn’t involve your “average Joe”: the participants were actually elite cyclists, who reduced their sleep by 4 hours for 3 days.

Do the obese have a ‘slower metabolism’?

Study link

Historically, obese individuals were believed to burn fewer calories and have a slower metabolism, contributing to their weight gain.

Contrary to popular belief, this review by Spanish researchers shows that obese individuals burn more calories at rest, compared to those who are at a normal-weight.

The analysis indicated they expend an average of 360 extra calories per day – and up to to 826 extra calories per day in those who are severely obese.

Can genes predict life success?

Study link
It appears that some genes may partly predict how likely a person is to have career success, a high income, do better than their parents, and have a likeable personality.

Success genes and cognitive ability_The Health Sciences Academy

Those carrying the “success genes” also had higher IQ scores (Belsky et al., 2016)

The correlation in this study held regardless of whether the person had come from a rich or a poor family.

Those carrying the “success” genes were more likely to achieve upward social status, and do better than their parents.

But again, genes don’t dictate your biological or socio-economical destiny.

There are numerous other factors that influence a person’s life course and achievement odds. So even if you don’t carry these genes, you can still make your own success!

If you want to get the latest science and our tips, make sure you sign up to our Thursday emails HERE.

What has inspired you this week? What are your thoughts on some of these topics? Leave a comment and let us know!

The-Health-Sciences-Academy-Alejandra-Ruani-small1-right Alex Ruani, Doctoral Researcher, is the Chief Science Educator at The Health Sciences Academy, where her team of accomplished scientists and PhDs are training a new breed of over 100,000 highly-specialised nutrition professionals who are leveraging the latest personalisation strategies to help their clients. She is a Harvard-trained scientist and UCL Doctoral Researcher who is fanatical about equipping health professionals with the latest science-based tools so they can succeed in their practices – from identifying the unique nutrient needs to building highly personalised nutrition programs. Besides investigating and teaching the latest advances in health and nutrition biochemistry, Alex makes it easier to be smarter with her free email updates.


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