Friday, August 26, 2011

Stop watching TV and live longer, and cassata cupcakes

Pasta salad
Food Diary (August 26, 2011)
Breakfast: Muesli
Lunch: Pasta salad with chickpeas, bean sprouts, tomatoes, pickled apple and carrots
Dinner: Carrot soup with oat flax seed sourdough

The pasta salad was really basic and simple. All ingredients were brought together and lightly showered with a dressing made from oil, apple cider vinegar, mustard, paprika and salt. Pickled unripe apples went really well, it provided excellent crunch and tartness. I usually like to add sundried tomatoes to salads but unfortunately there was none in the pantry. And today it wasn’t sunny enough for me to dry the tomatoes. The tomatoes had been sitting in the refrigerator for more than a week, it was in the process of getting 'freeze dried' 

Today's Favourite Photo
Cassata Cupcakes

Today’s Favourite Blog
Yesterday I summarized an article that connected consumption of whole grains to possible deterioration in our mental health. A few weeks ago  I summarized an article which found a strong association between the consumption of red meat, particularly processed red meat, and increased risk of type 2 diabetes. There are no shortage of such studies and here comes the latest, spending too much time in front of the TV may take years off your life. This is what Australian researchers found after analysing statistics obtained from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, as well as a survey.

It was found that people who watched an average of six hours TV a day lived an average 4.8 years shorter than those who didn't watch any television. However in the end these people ended up watching less TV since they died earlier!

The researchers also found that for those over 25 years old, every hour of TV was associated with a 22-minute reduction in life expectancy.

One explanation is that “sitting in front of the tube isn't exactly a healthy pursuit. The more TV you watch, the less physically active you are. And the less exercise you get, the more likely you are to develop diseases such as diabetes or heart problems.” Another explanation is connected with “the poor diet that onscreen junk-food advertising can promote.”

This study is an example of data mining. There is a huge amount of data and when there is too much data, you can easily find trends and connections, even between unrelated areas. For example it might be possible to find a connection between the number of McDonalds outlets and life expectancy. The number of McDonalds outlets is constantly rising, so is the life expectancy, even though they are not connected. Research is good if there is a plausible connection. For example if there is a link between red meat and diabetes, personally I would believe it more if the reason for the link was explained otherwise its possibly data mining.

I wonder if switching off the TV and getting off the couch can actually reduce life expectancy. I think once we step outside our home the risk of getting injured or dying from accidents increases. And our life expectancy may shorten if we end up going to the pub for a binge drinking session or meeting friends for some burger eating competition. 

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  1. You're right. How you interpret the data in the alternative is up for review as well. Who's to say not watching tv but just sitting and reading would be any better? Still no physical activity. Good post!

  2. I agree with yummychunklet...good food for thought. And now I'm off to read about whole grains...missed your post yesterday :)

  3. I am so glad you picked up on those cupcakes! I love them!

  4. I could say the same for sitting in front of a computer ....
    Pasta! One of my comfort foods and I love chickpeas. I know what I'm going to have for lunch today. No tomatoes .... oh yes, roasted peppers ... mmmm!

  5. Those Cassata cupcakes are so cute! I wonder what the studies show for those of us (me!) who spend too much time in front of the computer?!

  6. that cupcake is ADORABLE. i love how it looks like it is dressed up!

  7. Great looking pasta too. Very healthy too! I think people should also study the correlation between sitting in front of the computer (computer chair potato??) and life expectancy! :)

  8. yummychunklet: Exactly, watching TV or sitting and reading involves similar level of physical activity.

    Lizzy: I agree with yummychunklet also:)

    Maris: me too! Would love to eat them too!

    ping: Exactly, sitting in front of a computer is not much different from watching TV, it could be worse – eye sight, posture... need some studies to confirm this:)

    Elaine: I think they don’t have statistics yet on those spending time in front of the computer – so for now its OK to do it:)

    Junia: one of the most dressed up cupcakes I have ever seen!

    lifeisfull: agree! I think they don’t have statistics yet on those spending time in front of the computer – so for now its OK to do it:)

  9. You are so right! I have had a good laugh reading your comment: we risk much much more moving from the couch (and we shouldn't enter the kitchen: it's the most dangerous place in the house and I think also the place where the biggest number of accidents happen; finally, staying on the couch and ordering pizzas doesn't sound as bad as I thought ;-)
    The salad looks delicious and I still haven't pickled apples, but as soon as peaches and other Summer fruits finish, I'll try it for sure!

  10. I am totally feeling those cassata cupcakes, they are a thing of beauty.
    Have a wonderful weekend!
    *kisses* HH

  11. Sissi: thats funny and in a way its true, ordering pizza can avoid accidents:) And its delicious too!

    Heavenly Housewife: exactly, beautiful to look at and I am sure delicious to eat as well.

  12. LOL... I really enjoyed reading a little discussion here. I guess there is no complete answer but it's nice to know what are the options and it's up to us to decide. I stopped watching TV because I have no time after I started blogging - I would say it's even unhealthier because I use more brain than watching TV and I get hungry and eat!!! Oh boy...