Entries in food (5)


Pumpkin Spice Latte for the Soul

Fall is here and that means one thing…Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte is Back! Have you ever wondered why this annual tradition seems to be such a big deal to the general populace? Sure, the pumpkin spice latte (PSL) is delicious, but how excited should one get about a beverage? It may be that some of the PSL-mania stems from how the drink makes us feel rather than how it tastes.

Relationship science could argue that the pumpkin spice lattes speak to consumers on a number of unconscious levels.

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How Sweet Food Affects Our Romantic Interests: Relationship Matters Podcast 39

A new edition of SAGE’s “Relationship Matters” podcast is out! In this installment, hosted by Dr. Bjarne Holmes of Champlain College, Dongning Ren (Purdue University) discusses her fascinating research on how the taste of food affects romantic perceptions.

People commonly refer to those with whom they are romantically involved as “sweetie”, “honey”, or “sugar.” It’s a nice sentiment, but could there be more underlying such labels  – i.e., are these words linked to our actual romantic perceptions? Ren, along with colleagues Kenneth Tan and Ximena Arriaga (both from Purdue University) and Kai Qin Chan (Raboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands), conducted three experiments to test the hypothesis that tasting something sweet increases the extent to which individuals judge relationships and potential partners positively.

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The Secret Ingredient to a Great Summer Tan: Carotenoids

The summer is heating up, and for many of us that means it’s time to hit the beach and soak up the rays. Bikini fashions may change year on year, but one look that’s as popular as ever is bronzed, tanned skin.

But why? By this point, we all know that tanning is bad for us, yet many refuse to slop on the sunscreen and seek shade.

Every summer, doctors trot out the same warnings. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation causes skin cancer, tanned skin is damaged skin, and tanning at a young age is extra dangerous. Research suggests that indoor tanning isn’t any safer. One third of White American women under 35 visit the tanning salon at least once a year, increasing their risk of melanoma by as much as 75%.1

These warnings are serious but barely make a dent on behaviour. We want a ‘healthy’ tan. We think it looks attractive.2 And many of us have decided it’s worth the risk.

So if you’re packing your bag for the beach (or the tanning booth), how can I hope to stop you in your tracks? What if I said that there’s a way you can tan that is (a) cheaper than a trip to the tanning salon (much less a holiday at the beach!), (b) is not only free of health risks, but will actually improve your well-being, and (c) results in more attractive and healthier-looking skin than UV exposure could ever achieve? And here’s the kicker: there’s scientific research to back all these claims up.

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Was Cookie Monster Anxiously Attached?


The notion that women cope with relationship problems or breakups by eating is widespread. Films like Bridget Jones’s Diary perpetuate the stereotype that attacking a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey or devouring a bag of potato chips soothes a broken heart, or at least helps women deal with relationship troubles. But is there evidence that relationship problems actually lead women to eat more? Or is this a myth that Hollywood perpetuates?

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For the Love of Food

You may have a loving relationship with a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife. You likely have a relationship with a mother, father, step-mother, or step-father, at least one of whom you care about a great deal. Many of you likely have relationships with children who you adore and good friends who you don’t want to live without. But you also have a relationship with one thing that will never love you back: food. In my forthcoming book, Smart People Don’t Diet: A Scientific Approach to Eating for Life, I provide information about how to have a healthy relationship with food (for information about my book, check out my blog here or get on my mailing list by emailing me at DrCharlotteMarkey@gmail.com).

Maybe you’ve never really thought about having a “relationship” with food before. After all, you have to eat. Even if you fear food (or weight gain), survival requires regular consumption. The necessary role that food plays in our lives leads many of us to have complicated relationships with food1 – relationships somewhat analogous to the relationships that we have with siblings that we love but don’t always like.

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