Lose Weight and Mosquito Bites

Mosquito picture from flickr

Mosquitoes Attracted to Obese

Big is definitely beautiful in the eyes of a mosquito. Research shows that obese people or even those who are overweight may be more likely to attract mosquitoes and, therefore, be subjected to more mosquito bites than those who are not obese. This does not bode well for people in the waterlogged Midwest or other areas of the US hit by recent flooding, where mosquitoes are out in greater numbers than usual.

According to Jerry Butler, PhD, professor emeritus at the University of Florida, one in 10 people are highly attractive to mosquitoes. Although genetics and the odors people exude play large roles in attracting mosquitoes, recent findings suggest that being overweight may make you more attractive to mosquitos for several reasons. In a June 2007 WebMD article, entomologist John Edman, PhD, and spokesman for the Entomological Society of America, explained that mosquitoes target people who produce excess amounts of uric acid. According to Mayo Clinic hematologists, one of causes of high uric acid levels in the blood is obesity.

Furthermore, Edman explains that mosquitoes can smell their targets from more than 150 feet away, a skill that can be troublesome for people who emit large quantities of carbon dioxide.

“Even over long distances, carbon dioxide is attractive to mosquitoes,” says Joe Conlon, PhD, technical advisor to the American Mosquito Control Association.

Research shows that larger people give off more carbon dioxide than smaller people. So, when given a choice, mosquitos will choose an adult to bite over a child or an obese person over a nonobese person. Pregnant women are also at increased risk, as they produce a greater-than-normal amount of exhaled carbon dioxide.

In addition to being overweight, Mayo Clinic lists additional factors that may attract mosquitoes, including:

  • Movement
  • Heat
  • Having type O blood
  • Being a Man

Want to lose some weight this summer and fend off mosquitoes in the process?

Check out these simple summer weight-loss strategies.

Visit WebMD for more suggestions on how to avoid mosquito bites.

5 Summer Weight Loss Strategies

Summer is the easiest time of year to lose weight, especially for those of us who endure long, cold winters. With summer’s abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables, not to mention, warmer weather, there’s no excuse for us not to be eating healthy and exercising. Adopting these simple weight-loss strategies into your summer plans may leave you more than a few pounds lighter come October.

Here are 5 Summer Weight-Loss Strategies to try this summer:

1) Get moving – self explanatory, but for those of you who see exercise as a big scary monster and run screaming when faced with it, think of exercise as a time to reenergize yourself. Exercise does not have to result in a pool of sweat (you know who you are). It can be as simple as a brisk walk with your spouse, playing tag with your kids, or biking to/from work a few times a week. Anything that gets you moving for at least 20 to 30 minutes a day is worthwhile.

2) Eat au natural – I’m not suggesting you eat naked, although some people may like to try this, but rather try to eat foods with the fewest ingredients and limit the amount of processed foods you eat. Processed foods can pack on the pounds, because they tend to offer less fiber and won’t fill you up as much as natural foods. One rule is to eat food with ingredients you actually know and can pronounce.

3) MUFA Me, MUFA You – Monounsaturated fat, or MUFA, is known as the “healthy” fat. MUFA keeps you feeling fuller for longer and studies show that MUFA may also help us stave off chronic diseases, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and depression. There are five main MUFA food groups:

* Oils that include canola, flaxseed, and olive oil
* Nuts and seeds that include walnuts, macadamia nuts, and sunflower seeds
* Avocados
* Olives, particularly the green variety
* Dark chocolate

Check out these great ideas to add a little MUFA to breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Also, make it a habit to eat MUFA snacks whenever possible. Keep in mind, MUFA is still high in calories, but a little goes a long way.

4) Divide and Conquer – Think of your plate as a clock – fill the space between 12 and 6 with fresh or steamed veggies; the space between 6 and 9 with whole grains and 9 and 12 with protein/fish. Throw in a little low-fat dairy and you’ll be good to go. By adopting this strategy, it should be easy to eat meals that are low-calorie, high nutrient foods, and to keep portions in control – just make sure you are using normal size plates!

5) Limit simple sugars – Simple sugars or simple carbohydrates refer to foods made with refined sugars or table sugar. Most foods made with simple sugars are essentially “empty calories”, providing very few vitamins, minerals, or fiber but remaining high in calories. They tend to leave us feeling unsatisfied and/or less full, prompting us to eat more. Simple sugars can also lead to a spike in blood sugar levels, giving us a short boost of energy, but leaving us sluggish and energy-zapped for hours on end. Simple sugars can be seen in foods under the names of corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, and glucose, among others. Foods high in simple sugars include sweets like cookies, cakes, and candy. Simple sugars also are found naturally in fruit and milk, but, unlike other simple sugar foods, these provide essential nutrients.

Have another great summer weight loss tip? Let’s hear it….