All Sauce from Weekly Gravy:

Your parents’ jobs likely had a strong influence on what you do for a living, according to a study that questions the belief in social mobility in the United States. “A lot of Americans think the U.S. has more social mobility than other western industrialized countries. This makes it abundantly clear that we have less,” said researcher Michael Hout, a sociology professor at New York University. He analyzed national data gathered between 1994 and 2016. Taking pay and education into account, occupations were given a socioeconomic score on a 100-point scale, ranging from 9 (shoe shiner) to 53 (flight attendant) to 93 (surgeon). “The underlying idea is that some occupations are desirable and others less so,” Hout said in a university news release. He found there was a good chance that children would have similarly ranked occupations as their parents. For example, half the children of parents in top-ranked occupations now have jobs with a score of 76 or higher, while half the children of parents in bottom-ranked occupations now have jobs that score 28 or less. “Your circumstances at birth — specifically, what your parents do for a living — are an even bigger factor in how far you get in life than we had previously realized,” Hout said. “Generations of Americans considered the United States to be a land of opportunity. This research…  read on >

If you’re happy and you know it, so will a goat. New research suggests that goats can read people’s facial expressions and prefer those who appear happy. The study included 20 goats that were shown pairs of images of the same person’s face with happy or angry expressions. The goats were more likely to interact with the happy images, approaching them and exploring them with their snouts. This was particularly true when the happy faces were placed on the right of the test arena, suggesting that goats use the left hemisphere of their brains to process positive emotion, according to the researchers. The study was led by Queen Mary University of London researchers and was published Aug. 28 in the journal Royal Society Open Science. “The study has important implications for how we interact with livestock and other species, because the abilities of animals to perceive human emotions might be widespread and not just limited to pets,” said Alan McElligott, who led the study. He is now based at the University of Roehampton in London. The study’s first author, Christian Nawroth, is now at Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology in Dummerstorf, Germany. “We already knew that goats are very attuned to human body language, but we did not know how they react to different human emotional expressions, such as anger and happiness,” Nawroth said…  read on >

Weight loss depends on eating fewer calories than your body uses up. But when you eat those calories could make a difference that you’ll see on the scale. An Italian study found that you can boost weight loss by about 25 percent just by eating 70 percent of each day’s calories between breakfast and lunch, including a mid-morning snack, and the other 30 percent as an afternoon snack and dinner. The researchers used the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet for their study. Participants all cut their intake by 600 calories a day. Their calorie breakdown was 55 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent fat and 15 percent protein, with over 30 grams of fiber daily. At the end of three months, the participants who ate 70 percent of their daily calories through lunch lost 18 pounds compared to 14 pounds lost by those who ate just 55 percent of their calories through lunch. Plus, they lost more body fat and used insulin more effectively, which can help ward off diabetes. It will take some effort to rebalance your calories, especially if you’re used to eating more later in the day and evening. But the results could be more than worth the switch. Key guidelines for following the Mediterranean diet: Most of the foods you eat should be plant-based, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Use plant-based oils, notably…  read on >

Do you get way too involved when following sports events? Whether it’s the World Series, the Super Bowl or the Olympics, it’s important to draw a line between being a fan and being a fanatic … so your actions don’t spiral out of control. Rooting for your favorite team is one thing. But researchers from the University of Arkansas found that overly involved sports fans are more likely to engage in unhealthy lifestyle behaviors — such as too much food and alcohol — than non-sports fans. This can increase their risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and even early death. One of the first health problems is often a rise in BMI or body mass index, a ratio of weight to height. This results from eating a high-fat diet with a lot of fast foods, fewer vegetables and whole grains, and too many alcoholic beverages. High-profile football game days, for instance, are among the heaviest days for alcohol consumption, on a par with New Year’s Eve. Diehard sports fans often feel like they must drink during “big games” — and in doing so may become belligerent, arguing over game plays and refs’ calls, as well as with fans of opposing teams. This behavior has social disadvantages, too, leading to the potential loss of friends and alienating co-workers, depending on whom you’re with. While being…  read on >

Alcohol contributes to 2.8 million deaths a year worldwide, and there is no safe level of alcohol consumption, researchers say. The new analysis of hundreds of studies conducted between 1990 and 2016 found that one in three people worldwide (2.4 billion people) drink alcohol, and that 6.8 percent of men and 2.2 percent of women die of alcohol-related health problems each year. How the United States fits into those figures is unclear. It was not among the top or bottom 10 for the most or the heaviest drinkers in 2016. Denmark led the list for most drinkers (97 percent of men and 95 percent of women), while Romania (men) and Ukraine (women) had the heaviest drinkers. Worldwide, alcohol use was the seventh-leading risk factor for early death and disability in 2016. It was the top cause for early death and disability among 15- to 49-year-olds, accounting for one in 10 deaths. In this age group, the main causes of alcohol-related deaths were tuberculosis (1.4 percent), road injuries (1.2 percent) and self-harm (1.1 percent), the findings showed. Among people 50 and older, cancer was a leading cause of alcohol-related death, accounting for 27 percent of deaths in women and nearly 19 percent of deaths in men. Any protection alcohol may provide against heart disease is outweighed by the health problems it causes, particularly cancer, according to…  read on >

Many studies have pointed to the serious health threats of long periods of uninterrupted sitting at home or at work. Even if you get in a 30-minute exercise session a day, that may not be enough to undo all the damage of sitting. An overall sedentary lifestyle has been linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, some cancers and premature death. Compounding the problem, not enough people are even meeting that basic goal of 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. In North America and Europe, between 70 percent and 95 percent of people are classified as inactive. What’s the answer? According to a panel of British health experts, sedentary office workers must find ways to get off their rears during every workday. The ideal is to stand, move or do light activity for at least 4 hours daily. To make it easier, they suggest starting off with a goal of 2 hours, or about 15 minutes per hour of the average workday, and working up from there. One way to achieve this is with an adjustable workstation that allows you to alternate between sitting and standing. If it’s not possible to get a desk that lifts, investigate getting a desktop device that raises and lowers your computer. More ideas to get you moving: Twice a day, stand up and do a series of stretches targeting the…  read on >

You’ve probably heard about the high-carb diet and the low-carb diet, but a new study suggests a moderate-carb diet could be the key to longevity. Researchers followed more than 15,000 people in the United States for a median of 25 years and found that low-carb diets (fewer than 40 percent of calories from carbohydrates) and high-carb diets (more than 70 percent of calories) were associated with an increased risk of premature death. Moderate consumption of carbohydrates (50 to 55 percent of calories) was associated with the lowest risk of early death. “This work provides the most comprehensive study of carbohydrate intake that has been done to date, and helps us better understand the relationship between the specific components of diet and long-term health,” said senior study author Dr. Scott Solomon, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. The researchers estimated that from age 50, people eating a moderate-carb diet would live another 33 years, four years longer than those with very low carb consumption, and one year longer than those with high carb consumption. The investigators also found that all low-carb diets may not be equal. Eating more animal-based proteins and fats from foods like beef, lamb, pork, chicken and cheese instead of carbohydrates was associated with a greater risk of early death, while eating more plant-based proteins and fats from…  read on >

Staying hydrated is a mantra not only when exercising, but throughout the day for optimal health. Yet it’s possible to get too much of a good thing. In recent years, a number of athletes have died from a condition called exercise-associated hyponatremia, or EAH, which results from overwhelming the kidneys with excess fluid and upsetting the body’s natural balance of sodium. One high school football player died after consuming four gallons of liquids during a practice session. EAH has happened to athletes during endurance events like triathlons, but it can occur with any type of activity, even yoga. That’s why it’s important to balance fluid intake with individual needs. According to an EAH conference report, smaller people and those who exercise at a slower pace tend to drink more than they lose through sweat. The American College of Sports Medicine has hydration guidelines for before, during and after exercise, and suggests weighing yourself before and after to see if you’re losing weight and truly need to replace fluids. When extra liquids are in order, knowing quantity limits can help keep you safe. Before exercise: Have 16 to 20 ounces of water or a sports beverage at least 4 hours in advance. Have 8 to 12 ounces of water 10 to 15 minutes in advance. During exercise: For workouts under one hour, 3 to 8 ounces…  read on >

As a tool to reduce the public health toll of drinking, higher taxes on alcohol get the most bang for the buck, a new study finds. Worldwide, more than 4 percent of diseases and 5 percent of deaths are directly linked with alcohol, previous research suggests. In this study, researchers looked at data from 16 countries to find out which of five alcohol-control strategies would be most cost-effective in reducing alcohol-related harm and deaths. Their conclusion: A 50 percent increase in alcohol excise taxes (those included in the price) would cost less than $100 for each healthy year of life gained in the overall population. And it would add 500 healthy years of life for every 1 million people, the researchers said. Such a tax increase would be pennies per drink, according to the study published Aug. 9 in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. “Tax increases may not sound the most attractive of policy options but are the single most cost-effective way of diminishing demand and reigning back consumption,” lead researcher Dan Chisholm said in a journal news release. Chisholm is a program manager for mental health with the World Health Organization in Copenhagen, Denmark. Previous studies showed that state excise taxes in the United States average 3 cents for a 12-ounce beer or 5-ounce glass of wine and 5 cents for…  read on >

Eating fewer calories is essential when you want to lose weight, but there’s growing evidence that the quality of those calories matters, too. Eating high-quality foods not only boosts weight loss, but also reduces your risk for chronic diseases. High-quality foods are fresh or minimally processed. Think vegetables and fruits, whole grains, plant-based fats and healthy sources of protein. Fresh or flash frozen choices are best. If you need to buy canned foods, look for no-sugar, no-salt added varieties. Lower-quality foods typically contain refined grains like white flour and various sugars. They’re usually processed and packaged, and high in saturated and/or trans fats — even though manufacturers are supposed to eliminate trans fats, the deadlines to do so have been extended. One study showed just how strong the association is between low-quality foods and gaining weight. When people ate more foods like potato chips, sugar-sweetened beverages, and red and processed meats — and fewer vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts and yogurt — they put on nearly one pound a year. Unchecked, over time, those pounds can start adding up … to obesity. Another study found that increasing the quality of fruit, meat, grains and dairy boosted weight loss after just 12 weeks. To make the switchover easier on yourself, set an attainable goal of eating one new or different high-quality food at least once every…  read on >