All Sauce from Weekly Gravy:

Developing lean muscle mass is important for everyone — it can keep you active and independent throughout your life. But to maximize the benefits of strength training, make sure you’re not making these common mistakes. Mistake number 1: Letting momentum drive your workout. If you power through repetitions at a rapid clip, chances are that you’re using momentum rather than controlled muscle movement to do those reps. To get the most out of each rep, take two to three seconds to lift the weight and three to four seconds to return to the starting position. Mistake number 2: Not moving through a complete range of motion. You’re shortchanging yourself if you’re also rushing through reps without carefully moving from your starting position to a full extension, no matter what the exercise. If you’re unable to do this, chances are you’re lifting too heavy a weight for your current ability. Mistake number 3: Not lifting enough weight. Some women still incorrectly believe that they’ll develop manly muscle mass if they lift more than a few pounds. But female hormones typically won’t allow that to happen. To get the benefits of strength training, you have to challenge yourself, and that means lifting the most weight you can while still maintaining proper form. Mistake number 4: Changing your routine too often. This can actually set you back because…  read on >

Next time you struggle to put a name to a face, go easy on yourself. You probably recognize thousands of people. Participants in a British study recognized 1,000 to 10,000 faces, with the average number being an astonishing 5,000. The faces included people they knew from their personal lives, as well as famous people. “Our study focused on the number of faces people actually know — we haven’t yet found a limit on how many faces the brain can handle,” said Rob Jenkins, a reader in the department of psychology at the University of York in England. “The ability to distinguish different individuals is clearly important — it allows you to keep track of people’s behavior over time, and to modify your own behavior accordingly,” he said in a university news release. The findings offer a baseline for comparing the “facial vocabulary” of people with facial-recognition software now used to identify people in airports and police investigations. Jenkins offered several possible explanations for the large range in number of faces people recognized. Some people may have a natural aptitude for remembering faces, he said. People also differ in how much attention they pay to faces, and how efficiently they process information. “Alternatively, it could reflect different social environments — some participants may have grown up in more densely populated places with more social input,” Jenkins…  read on >

When it comes to money, nice people really are more likely to finish last, a new study suggests. Researchers analyzed data from more than 3 million people and found that those who were nice were at increased risk for bankruptcy and other financial problems. Why? They just don’t value money as much as other people do, according to the study published Oct. 11 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. “We were interested in understanding whether having a nice and warm personality, what academics in personality research describe as agreeableness, was related to negative financial outcomes,” said lead author Sandra Matz, an assistant professor of management at Columbia Business School in New York City. Other studies have linked agreeableness with lower income and credit scores, she said. “We wanted to see if that association held true for other financial indicators and, if so, better understand why nice guys seem to finish last,” Matz said in a journal news release. Researchers tied agreeableness to indicators of financial hardship, including lower savings, higher debt and higher default rates. Study co-author Joe Gladstone is an assistant professor of management at University College London. “This relationship appears to be driven by the fact that agreeable people simply care less about money and therefore are at higher risk of money mismanagement,” he said. But everyone who’s agreeable isn’t at…  read on >

With sales of electronic cigarettes skyrocketing, Americans remain divided on whether the devices are a boon or a threat to public health. That’s the main finding of a new HealthDay/Harris Poll that surveyed over 2,000 adults on their e-cigarette views. Vaping has long been promoted as a way to help smokers kick the habit — offering them a route to get nicotine without the carcinogens in tobacco smoke. But e-cigarettes aren’t harmless, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health authorities. There’s particular concern about young people vaping — in part, because nicotine can harm brain development, which continues until about age 25. In the poll, most adults did have misgivings about e-cigarettes: 85 percent said they were worried that the long-term health effects of the devices are unknown; and 83 percent were at least “somewhat” concerned about teenagers using e-cigarettes. In fact, 43 percent of adults felt that e-cigarettes are actually more dangerous than traditional cigarettes. On the flip side, about as many people (41 percent) viewed e-cigarettes as “healthier” than traditional cigarettes. And 42 percent rated them as an “excellent way” to quit. It all adds up to differing views, and possibly confusion, about e-cigarettes and their health effects. There are, in fact, many unknowns. “Unfortunately, at this time we have no scientific evidence on the long-term…  read on >

Americans’ love affair with fast food continues, with 1 in every 3 adults chowing down on the fare on any given day. That’s the finding from a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When asked by researchers, 37 percent of adults said they’d eaten fast food at least once over the past 24 hours. There was one surprise: Bucking the notion that poorer Americans favor fast food the most, the report found that intake actually rose with income. For example, while about 32 percent of lower-income folks ate fast food daily, more than 36 percent of middle-income consumers had fast food on a given day, as did 42 percent of those with higher incomes, the report found. Whatever your income bracket, fast food probably isn’t doing your health any favors. That’s because it “has been associated with increased intake of calories, fat and sodium,” the CDC team said. All that adds up to widening waistlines and hardening arteries, one nutritionist warned. “Most fast food is not good for our bodies,” said Liz Weinandy, a registered dietitian at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center. “The more of it we eat, the more likely we are to be overweight or obese and have increased risk for several diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndrome when talking to patients,” she…  read on >

There’s no shortage of creative excuses people come up with to stay stuck on the sofa, but three of them top the list. Here’s how to hurdle the obstacles standing between you and getting in shape. “I’m too tired to exercise.” Being too tired to work out is a common theme among procrastinators. And while it sounds counter-intuitive, exercise gives you more energy — it feeds on itself in a good way. Researchers at the University of Georgia found that healthy but sedentary adults who did as little as 20 minutes of low-to-moderate cardio (think brisk walking) three days a week felt more energized after just a few weeks. “I don’t have time to exercise.” Who doesn’t feel squeezed by a busy schedule? And yes, driving back and forth to the gym can double the time you need to allot to a workout. So skip the trip and invest in home equipment. But still can’t find a 30-minute block of time? Break up your workout into a few short segments a day. Steal 10 to 15 minutes before the kids wake up and another 15 after they go to sleep. “I’m too out of shape to exercise.” Being out of shape is no reason to sit on the sidelines and stay out of shape. Fitness can start with just one step. If you’re unhappy with…  read on >

New research suggests there is no perfume a man loves more than the scent of a fertile woman. Researchers in Switzerland determined that women who are the “fittest” for reproduction have a distinctive scent that makes them particularly appealing to men. “Women with high estrogen and low progesterone levels are most attractive to men in an olfactory sense,” said study leader Daria Knoch, from the social psychology and social neuroscience department at the University of Bern. Knoch added that these hormone levels signal high fertility, suggesting that men are more attracted to women who can reproduce successfully. The study involved 28 women and 57 men. The women were asked to follow strict guidelines to isolate their scent and minimize any outside influence from things like detergents, soaps, alcohol or spicy foods. The women were also told to avoid hormonal contraceptives, to sleep alone and use unscented products during the study period. When the women were most fertile, they collected their scent overnight by placing cotton pads in their armpits. The men included in the study were asked to sniff these cotton pads in a lab and rate their smell on a scale of 0 to 100. The researchers also collected saliva samples from the women to measure their hormone levels. The investigators also considered other factors that could influence a woman’s scent, including the stress…  read on >

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 >