The Scientific Explanation for Resting Bitch Face 

When I first moved to Philly, a kid I’d gone to high school with invited me to the birthday party of one his frat brothers at a Chinese restaurant, where, I kid you not, dozens of Penn students were playing Pat the Bag with red wine … in a restaurant. After about 10 minutes there, the kid I’d gone to high school with said to me, “You know, I thought you were a bitch in high school, but you’re actually really nice.” Then, and this is not a joke, the birthday boy puked red wine all over himself — at the dinner table.

It was the worst in so many ways.

But I have to admit, I wasn’t surprised by the “bitch” comment, as bizarre as it was for him to say. People have always mistaken my neutral face for the face of someone who is pissed off or annoyed or a number of other negative adjectives when, really, that’s just how my face falls. I’m not in bad company (well, depending on who you ask, I guess): resting bitch face can be seen on the likes of Kanye West and Kristin Stewart, to name just a few famous people afflicted.

And now we know why: As the Washington Post reports, a couple of behavioral researchers at Noldus Information Technology have discovered why, when you think your face is just neutral, other people register it as bitchy. Read more »

Study: Eating Snow Is Gross — Even if It’s Fluffy and White

Ask any five-year-old you know and they will tell you: There’s just something about a giant pile of fresh, white snow that makes you want to grab a handful and stuff it in your mouth. And seeing as how we’re expecting a whole lot of snow this weekend, I’m guessing lots of folks — children and nostalgic adults alike — will be chowing down on the white stuff. But please, dear friends, I beg you, just don’t. A new study published in the journal Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts shows that urban snow can be filled with all sorts of gross — sometimes carcinogenic — pollutants. Ick, ick and more ick. Read more »

You’re Probably Eating Way Too Much Salt (But It’s Not Your Fault!), Survey Says

Unless you have a diagnosed condition, like high blood pressure, I’m almost positive you don’t pay a lick of pay attention to your salt intake. I know I don’t, because I’ve always assumed that I’m just fine — and by “fine,” I mean falling well below the recommended limit of 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day — since I’m not one to douse my food with shakes of table salt all that often.

But apparently sodium-intake ignorance, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is the average American’s dietary peril: It shows that 89 percent of U.S. adults consume way more salt than is recommended — in some cases nearly double what the guideline prescribes for healthy sodium intake.  Read more »

The Checkup: How to Motivate Yourself to Do Anything

• As I type this, I am sitting in my bed, staring at a hamper full of clean clothes — clean clothes that have been clean for one full week but have remained unfolded. Why? Because folding laundry sucks and I don’t enjoy doing it, so, being the stubborn (and, clearly, very adult) human I am, I refuse. But a study, led by an associate professor at Wharton, found that if I routinely paired my weekly laundry folding with, say, catching up on the latest episode of Homeland — something I love, for reasons unknown — I might be more inclined to actually do it. It’s called temptation bundling, so pairing something you need to do with something you actually enjoy doing, and it works for everything from waking up for your early morning workouts to calling your Great Aunt Sally. [Men’s Health] Read more »

Penn Study: Changing Diet, for Better or Worse, Affects Sleep in a Big Way

Raise your hand if you are always tired. Like, so tired that you would not be surprised if you fell asleep at your desk right this second. Well, a new study performed by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, published in the journal Sleep, found that changing your diet to lose a few pounds could impact more than just your waistline: For folks who are overweight, ditching a few pounds can lead to feeling more awake during the day, all while getting less (better quality) sleep at night. Three cheers for weight loss working double duty! The bad news: Small dietary changes in the wrong direction, even just for a little while, can have the opposite effect. Think: crappy sleep and lowered daytime energy.
Read more »

New Study Suggests Gluten Sensitivity Isn’t BS

Back in May, headlines screaming statements like “Science Says Gluten Sensitivity Doesn’t Exist!” took over the Internet after the researchers who originally found scientific evidence of non-celiac gluten sensitivity in 2011 published a new follow-up paper with findings that basically said ‘Psych!’ The paper highlighted a follow-up study the researchers performed where they found that self-identified gluten-sensitive individuals reported the same levels of discomfort whether they were on high-gluten, low-gluten or no-gluten diets. As the researchers concluded, “In contrast to our first study … we could find absolutely no specific response to gluten.” Womp, womp.

But wait! Now, new research shows that if you self-identify as gluten-sensitive, it might not be all in your head after all. According to NPR, in a new study done by scientists at the University of Bologna in Italy, researchers found that, when participants’ blood was tested, those with celiac and those who identified as gluten-sensitive had significantly higher levels of the protein zonulin compared to participants who had irritable bowel syndrome (for which symptoms are often similar to folks who report gluten sensitivity) and healthy participants. For those of us who aren’t scientists, zonulin is an inflammatory protein that, when triggered by harmful bacteria, regulates leakiness in the gut. Read more »

For Everyone Who Hates Counting Calories: A Different Way to Count and Lose Weight 

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Fact: Counting calories isn’t most people’s definition of a good time. But is counting your bites any better? According to the New York Times, a new study suggests, for those who aren’t into meticulously keeping track of their calories, counting bites might be another (somewhat more tolerable) route to weight loss. Read more »

Yikes: Having a Beer Belly Seriously Ups Risk of Death, New Research Shows

Beer bellies are bad news, a new study shows. According to The New York Times, new research from a national study of over 15,000 adults, found that those who had an abnormally large belly compared to the rest of their body (better known as a beer belly) had significantly higher risks of heart disease and death than those with an even distribution of fat — even if they were of normal weight.
Read more »

How to Never Go to the Gym and Still Be Thinner Than People Who Do 

Well, here’s one reason to take your dog for a longer-than-usual brisk walk today. New research led by a health economist at the London School of Economics and Political Science found that regularly getting your walk on could be better than going to the gym when it comes to keeping your waistline in check. Hallelujah! Read more »

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