Health bites

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 February, 2012, 12:00am


Veg out for 21 days

It's not about being a couch potato, but about following the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart, a free online programme created by the non-profit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in the US. It's based on clinical research by the organisation's president, Dr Neal Barnard, which shows low-fat, plant-based diets can help people lose weight, reverse diabetes, and implement long-term changes in eating habits and health. A Chinese version will kick off on March 5, offering nutrition and cooking tips, and recipes like brown rice sushi and mapo tofu. 'Celebrity coaches' such as Gao Yuanyuan, Louis Cheung and Khalil Fong will inspire you. Sign up in Chinese at; in English at

Go bananas for charity

Always wanted to outrun a banana? Here's your chance. The annual Beat the Banana run organised by the World Cancer Research Fund Hong Kong is back. Try to chase down a life-sized version of the fruit in the three kilometre fun run, or if you're a serious runner, join the six kilometre elite race, in which the winner will win a trip to compete in a similar race in London in May. The local race will run on Sunday, March 4 along Tsim Sha Tsui East Promenade. Register by Monday at But be quick, it's limited to 1,000 participants.

My name is Mike Krzyzewski

Having an easy-to-pronounce name is more likely to win you friends and favour in the workplace, according to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. The study used a range of names from Anglo, Asian, and Western and Eastern European backgrounds. Those with more pronounceable names were more likely to: be favoured for political office and job promotions; win a political race, based on a mock ballot study; and rise more quickly to superior positions in law firms, based on a study of 500 first and last names of US lawyers. 'It's important to appreciate the subtle biases that shape our choices and judgments about others. Such an appreciation may help us 'de-bias' our thinking, leading to fairer, more objective treatment of others,' says study co-author Dr Simon Laham from the University of Melbourne. Incidentally, Krzyzewski (above) is pronounced shuh-SHEV-skee, and he is the men's basketball coach at Duke University in North Carolina.

Let them eat cake

Dessert is said to be bad for any diet, but it seems having sweets - and for breakfast - could aid weight loss success. Researchers from Tel Aviv University randomly assigned 193 clinically obese, non-diabetic adults to one of two diet groups with identical caloric intake. The first group was given a low-carbohydrate diet including a small 300 calorie breakfast, and the second was given a 600 calorie breakfast high in protein and carbs, always including a dessert item like chocolate. Halfway through the study, participants lost an average of 15kg each. But in the second half of the study, those in the low-carb group regained an average of 10kg, while the big breakfast group lost another 7kg. Adding dessert items to breakfast can control cravings throughout the rest of the day, the authors say in their report published in the journal Steroids.