Fatties should go for the soaps (the slimming ones) rather than the news, when watching TV

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The good news for Parekura Horomia and Gerry Brownlee is that Alf has sent each of them a few bars of the product advertised here.

Mrs Grumble happened to be cleaning out the attic and – would you believe? – found the soap.

She suggested Alf put them to the test, but he happened to think he knew of someone who could make much better use of these bars than he could.

Mrs G. agreed and the soap was delivered this afternoon, before the House sat for the first time this year.

But there’s bad news (here) for Parekura and Gerry, too.

They should give up watching the news on telly.

The reason: Bad news on TV makes you fat – viewers increase their food intake by 40% when bombarded by gloomy bulletins

Alf learned of this from the Daily Mail article referenced above while listening to John Banks droning about his discovery during the holidays that over the summer break he had been out-and-about talking to New Zealanders – taking stock.

And he found New Zealanders are working harder and longer for less.

Obviously he was not talking to Labour politicians.

But let’s get back to the news about bad news.

Watching the news when there is a recession could make you fat, researchers have warned.

They found volunteers increased their food intake by 40 per cent when they were bombarded by gloomy news bulletins.

And they also craved more calorie-dense unhealthy foods.

The findings are reported in the journal Psychological Science, which is not on Alf’s reading list.

They show a direct link between eating patterns and depressing news items.

And so scientists have urged would-be slimmers desperate to shed a few pounds to switch off the TV or radio news if they want to get their weight down.

The Daily Mail version of the research is easily digested by Alf.

Now it seems hearing a constant barrage of bad news could be making the problem worse.

Researchers from the University of Miami gave volunteers who thought they were taking part in a taste test two bowls of sweets and told them one type was very high in calories and the other very low.

In fact, they were identical in calorie content.

Before the test, each volunteer was shown either posters that contained neutral sentences, or posters with sentences describing struggle and adversity in tough economic times.

The results showed those shown the gloomy messages not only ate 40 per cent more in total than the other group but scoffed 70 per cent more of the high-calorie sweets.

Those who viewed the neutral posters ate roughly the same amount of each.

Research leader Juliano Laran, from the university’s School of Business Administration, said it was clear from the studies that taste was not what caused the reactions, it was a longing for calories.

‘Now that we know this sort of messaging causes people to seek out more calories out of a survival instinct, it would be wise for those looking to kick off a healthier new year to tune out the news for a while.’

That will be harder for Parekura than Gerry.

Pretty well every news bulletin would contain bad news for a typical Labour politician.

The same goes – come to think of it – for Green politicians.

Does Alf discern Metiria Turei carrying a bit more beef than she should do if she is sticking to a diet of muesli, fruits and nuts?

Let’s be generous and blame the TV news.

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