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Daily Archives: October 3, 2022

Charts: Euro Area Inflation Surged to New High

Source : Bloomberg and Eurostat

U.S. Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index Recorded First MoM Drop in Ten and Half Years

Source : Bloomberg

In Pictures: Food of Schloss Schauenstein in Fürstenau, Switzerland

Fine Dining Creative Modern Swiss Country Cooking

No.40 of The 50 Best Restaurants in the World 2022

Why Do We Eat Food That We Know We Shouldn’t?

Morgan Hines wrote . . . . . . . . .

I’m lactose intolerant and I know I should keep an eye on my cholesterol, but neither of these factors stop me from picking at a cheese board or ordering ice cream for dessert.

I’m aware while I am eating that my choices aren’t benefiting future me. I never feel good after, yet I keep repeating the cycle.

I don’t know why I keep doing it. I often swear that I’ll stop. “No more cheese,” I say to myself, or, “I’ll stay away from sugar.” But somehow, even with the restraints I put on myself, I still want what I “shouldn’t” have – sometimes even more.

I’m not the only one who struggles with this. When I shared my problems with this decision-making process on Twitter, several users replied with their own stories about foods they consume despite being better off staying away from them.

Zach Honig wrote that even though he knows he’s susceptible to gout, he still indulges in red wine, rich foods and beer. “I just deal with the gout attacks from time to time.”

Like me, Victoria M. Walker refuses to give up dairy. And @ACHolliday replied that they have cysts and aren’t supposed to drink coffee, but sometimes they still do because it provides “comfort”.

Sean Devlin added that food helps to get through the “slog” of the daily grind. Another user, @pablopaycheck, said they choose to eat foods that maybe they shouldn’t “Because yoloooooo”, meaning because you only live once.

Why do we keep choosing foods that we shouldn’t?

The answer isn’t clear cut. There are a variety of reasons we choose to eat what we eat that depend on the individual, their circumstances and other factors.

There’s a spectrum when it comes to healthfulness and food. All foods can fit into a healthy diet, says David Creel, a psychologist and registered dietitian with Cleveland Clinic’s Bariatric and Metabolic Institute in the US.

But there are less healthy foods that we choose to consume even when we can foresee negative consequences like stomachaches or higher cholesterol levels, down the line.

“Some people actually think about it – they might [perform a mental] cost-benefit analysis … ‘What am I going to get from this? What does it cost me?’ and they make a decision based on that,” Creel says.

But that’s not how everyone’s brain works. For others, habit plays into the decisions they make. “A lot of people, they just kind of do what’s familiar to them, and they don’t do it with a lot of thought.”

What happens in the brain when we choose to eat something? Two areas are stimulated during the eating process.
“We know from people who do brain research that there tends to be two different drivers: liking food when we eat it – our brain responds and we can see that through imaging – and there’s also a ‘wanting’ piece,” Creel says.

Both are important. If someone is having a craving, that’s a “wanting” experience. It’s similar to when someone who smokes is asked if they like to smoke. They may not “like” to, but they do crave a cigarette. Certain emotional states may cause you to crave specific foods, too.

The “liking” experience comes after eating or experiencing a food. Sometimes, liking and wanting feed into each other, but they happen in different areas of the brain, Creel explains.

The physiology of how we decide what we want to eat is complex. It also varies based on who is making the choices.
So, what are some of the factors that play into the way we choose food if we aren’t actively assessing what the outcome of our eating decisions will be?

Foods that taste good and seem “fun” are appealing to us.

“The reason we consume those things that we shouldn’t for whatever reason is typically driven by taste or flavour,” says Charles Spence, a professor of experimental psychology at the University of Oxford, in the UK.
“It’s hard to resist the temptation of the sugar, or the salt or the fat.”

And part of why foods taste good is based on the associations we make with those foods.

“I ask my patients a lot: ‘What would you describe as a fun food?’ And things like pizza, or ice cream or cake, they come up,” Creel says.

Another association might be how comfort foods are identified. Creel associates home-made buttermilk biscuits with his grandmother. Conditioning from our upbringing contributes to how we associate food and when we want it.

So, it might not even be the food’s flavour or taste that appeals to us as much as the association we make with the food, Creel says.

Spence says that, as humans, we tend to prioritise what happens in the present over anything likely to happen in the future. People “might be drawn more to the reward of those … typically great-tasting foods in the moment because we weigh that more heavily,” he explains.

How we choose what we consume also has to do with human history and evolution, according to Spence. The human brain, he says, will pay more attention to foods that are energy-dense, with extra attention to those high in fat.
We’re evolved, he supposes, to find those foods attractive because at one point they were essential to survival.

Long ago, perhaps people were struggling to find sufficient food. But now, many of us live in a “food-rich environment”, Spence continues, explaining that some of the foods are more energy-dense than we need now.

“The brain evolved for feeding, foraging and fornicating,” he says, noting we all find it hard to override what he calls “ancient urges”.

Creel says he often encourages patients he sees to pause before taking action and consider their choice – not to see anything as “forbidden” but as two options that could have different outcomes.

“If you tell yourself ‘I should have one thing’ and ‘I shouldn’t have another thing’, it kind of sets us up to not do well,” he explains.

For example, if we say to ourselves “I should have an apple” and “I should not have cake”, you either eat the apple and feel like you missed out on the cake, or eat the cake and feel guilty because you didn’t eat the apple.

But if you look at these choices while weighing the outcomes, your actions will likely be different.

Changing “shoulds” to “coulds” gives you freedom to make the decision while removing any guilt, Creel says.

So, if you “could” have an apple or you “could” have cake, your decision might look more like this: you could choose to eat an apple that you think you will enjoy, or you could choose to enjoy the cake because it’s your favourite kind – and you don’t have guilt because you consciously came to the conclusion that eating the cake was worth it.

Making mindful decisions doesn’t just eliminate guilt. Creel says that it may also lead you to avoid less healthy choices.

Being mindful can enhance the enjoyment of all kinds of foods, he says.

“I think it can really help on both sides of the equation – it can be helpful to not over-consume unhealthy foods, and can help promote the consumption of healthier foods.”

Source : SCMP

Video: NASA Dart Spacecraft Successfully Smashes into Asteroid

The American space agency was testing whether space rocks that might threaten Earth could be nudged out of the way. This is the first experiment of its kind by Nasa.

The asteroid hit was not headed for the Earth, however scientist Dr Elena Adams said “earthlings should sleep better” knowing they had a planetary defence solution.

Watch video at You Tube (5:44 minutes) . . . .

Chart: Europe Is Facing a Dementia Problem

Source : Statista

Deflation Risks Loom in China Amid Property Crisis, Survey Shows

China faces increasing risks from deflation as demand crumbles under the weight of an ongoing property crisis and is threatened by continued Covid restrictions — a stark contrast with other major economies, according to a private survey.

Companies reported the weakest growth in sales prices since the last quarter of 2020 in the three months through September, according to indexes compiled by China Beige Book International in a report published Tuesday. That’s despite wages and input costs picking up slightly from the previous quarter.

CBBI, a provider of independent economic data, polled 4,354 firms during the period.

“While nearly the whole world panics over surging inflation, the specter of deflation looms over China thanks to the demand-crushing effects of Covid Zero,” said Leland Miller, chief executive officer of CBBI, in a statement.

The bulk of the deflationary pressure has so far come from the property industry, according to the report, which noted that retail and services industries each saw prices accelerate in the third quarter. Lockdowns in areas such as Shanghai and Jilin province, which curbed activity earlier in the year, were lifted by the summer, although other cities such as Chengdu have been locked down more recently.

Home prices slumped for the 12th straight month in August. And homeowners are citing a wider range of concerns — from poor construction to noise pollution — as justification to boycott mortgage payments, deepening the property crisis.

“A closer look at our sector results provides some relief,” the report said, noting the pickup in retail and services. “So no need to worry. Unless, of course, you think winter could bring broader lockdowns, undo retail and services price gains, and shove deflation concerns to the foreground.”

China’s headline consumer price index rose 2.5% in August as pork prices continued to climb and fuel costs remained elevated. But the pace of the increase slowed from a month prior, and core inflation — which excludes volatile food and energy prices — was unchanged at 0.8% last month.

Turmoil in the housing market is pointing to “a new era of much slower growth” for China, as the government has failed to put in place policies that would stimulate consumption, Miller said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

“Property has been taken out as a growth driver going forward, so you’re gonna have much slower growth completely independent of what’s happening with Covid,” said Miller. “So you got this very difficult situation where you’re shifting away from the old model of growth, but you don’t have immediately obvious new growth drivers.”

The CBBI survey also painted a worrying picture for the manufacturing industry. Indicators including those for profit margins and sales prices in the third quarter deteriorated, both compared to the April-to-June period and to the third quarter of 2021.

Retail and services showed a recovery in those indicators from the second quarter, though they remained below 2021 levels.

Corporate borrowing activity, meanwhile, continued to decline in the third quarter, suggesting the People’s Bank of China’s policies of monetary easing have yet to significantly impact companies. A CBBI gauge measuring corporate loans slumped to the lowest level since data began in 2012, while another gauge measuring company bond issuances tumbled to the worst since 2016.

“Firms don’t want to plan for the future if they don’t know the future. And to know the future, they need to get rid of Covid Zero,” said Miller in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

Source : BNN Bloomberg