TIME psychology

Why Men Are More Narcissistic Than Women

You dreamboat, you: More women will be joining you at that mirror
Alija; Getty Images/Vetta You dreamboat, you: More women will be joining you at that mirror

Narcissism has long afflicted more men than women—but that could be changing

If there’s one thing you can say for craziness, it’s that it’s not sexist. Across entire populations, males and females face a pretty equal lifetime risk of coming unhinged. Within conditions, however, there may be differences. Women are twice as likely as men, for example, to develop depression. Anxiety disorders such as OCD and phobias also hit women a bit harder.

Narcissism, however, goes the other way. Research has long suggested that if you’re looking for someone who’s preening, strutting, self-absorbed, arrogant, exhibitionistic, conceited, insensitive and entitled, you’ll find more of them in the boys’ camp than you will in the girls’. So it comes as, well, almost no news at all that a new study—hold your applause till the end, please—found exactly that!

The research, in fairness, was sweeping: a meta-analysis of 355 journal articles and other studies going back 31 years. In the behavioral sciences, which lack the tidy, 1+1=2 certainty of fields like chemistry and physics and math, meta-analyses are often the best way to lock down a hypothesis. The paper did that, but it did more too—not just establishing the gender disparity but explaining why it exists.

In my 2014 book, The Narcissist Next Door, I wrestled with the question of narcissism and gender, and came to the conclusion that our still-patriarchal society is far likelier to tolerate—even encourage—narcissistic swagger and aggressiveness in men than it is in women. It was hardly a theory I developed de novo, but rather is one many researchers had voiced—thought not yet proven. The researchers in the new study—led by Emily Grijalva, an assistant professor of organization and human resources at the University of Buffalo School of Management—broke down their meta-data in ways that highlighted three of the multiple categories of narcissistic behavior: grandiosity and exhibitionism; leadership and authority; and entitlement.

Men ran away with the entitlement category (we’re looking at you, John Edwards, Donald Trump, Charlie Sheen), and led by a narrower gap in the leadership and authority category. “Compared with women,” Grijalva said in a statement that accompanied the study, “men exhibit more assertiveness and desire for power.” That, too, is consistent with a culture in which men don’t merely hold more more positions in government and high finance, but seek those positions more as well.

But when it comes to exhibitionism—the basic table stakes for boys and girls dreaming of growing up to achieve their true full narcissistic potential—the sexes start off pretty much equally. As happens so often in a sexist world, however, that potential—OK, pathological potential—is squelched in girls while it’s encouraged in boys.

“Individuals tend to observe and learn gender roles from a young age, and may face backlash for deviating from society’s expectations,” Grijalva said. “In particular, women often receive harsh criticism for being aggressive or authoritative, which creates pressure for [them] to suppress displays of narcissistic behavior.”

Gender equality, of course, is a surpassing good, and the arc of history is inevitably bending its way. It will, alas, almost certainly mean narcissistic equality too. Let’s hope that the growing ranks of female narcissists conduct themselves better than the boys have.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

4 Ways to Tell How Much Sugar You’re Eating

Sugar cubes with one standing out in the middle
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Sugar adds up quickly in your daily diet

The World Health Organization issued guidelines Tuesday encouraging people to limit sugar intake to no more than 10% of the calories their daily diet.

Keeping to the limit, which doesn’t include sugar found in fruit and vegetables, would help curb obesity, tooth decay and other problems caused by excess sugar intake, officials from the agency said. Taking things even further, WHO suggests limiting your sugar to below 5% of daily calories for even more health benefit. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates that the average American consumes 16% of their daily calories from added sugar.

But what does 16% of daily calories in sugar look like? And how can you cut down to 10% or less?

1. Learn how to switch grams into sugar packets. The first place to start is the nutrition facts on the back of the product, which tells you how many grams of sugar are in a given product. Of course, since most people have no idea what a gram of sugar looks like, it helps to have a quick conversion in your own head. One packet of sugar—the kind people put in their coffee—is typically 4 grams.

2. Find hidden sugar. Next, you want to realize that most of the sugar Americans consume in a day is not the granulated white stuff, but hidden sugars in everything from low-fat salad dressing and BBQ sauce to store-bought bread, yogurt and breakfast cereal. These hidden sugars add up.

3. Check your sugar calories. Keeping all that in mind, you want to figure out how many calories you’re getting from all that sugar. A rough, if inexact, way to do that math is like this: Every packet of added sugar equals about 16 calories. Assuming you eat 2,000 calories per day, give or take, that means no more than 200 of your calories—or 100 if you’re being strict—should come from sugar. Either way, you shouldn’t eat or drink more than the equivalent of 10 of those in any given day.

4. See what those sugar tallies look like. Nutrition labels leave out the percentage of daily sugar a product contains. In fact, the FDA, which oversees implementation of the label by food manufacturers, has no official guideline about how much sugar you should consume, and the USDA says simply “Consume fewer foods with … added sugars,” and leaves it at that. To help you understand how much sugar you should be eating according to the WHO, TIME used information from nutrition labels to give you a sense of how quickly you can hit that 10% cap. All figures assume you’re eating a 2,000 calorie daily diet:

DINNER OUT

If you go to Olive Garden and have the citrus chicken sorrento entree with a 20 oz. can of coke you’ll already have consumed 275 calories of sugar. That’s 14% of the total calories and 40% more than the total sugar most people should consume in a day. Add the 162-calorie Olive Garden lemon cream cake to your meal and, in sugar alone, you’ll have eaten nearly a quarter of the total calories you’re supposed to consume throughout the day.

AN AFTERNOON SNACK

A vanilla latte and a doughnut would cost you 201 sugar calories, which is just over the total recommended max.

A LOW-FAT BREAKFAST

Think you’re fine with a fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt and a coffee with one sugar packet? You probably are, assuming you don’t eat sugar again for the rest of the day—which is unlikely. That combination is 181 calories of sugar, or 9 percent of your recommended total calorie intake.

A GIANT BREAKFAST

Every now and then you may want to treat yourself and ditch that healthy breakfast. If you have French toast with maple syrup, you’ll easily hit 182 calories of sugar, which is just shy of the recommended total. Add a cup of OJ and you’re easily way over the daily recommended value before you’ve even left the house for the day. Or, if you’re at a chain like IHOP, make sure you avoid some of the more creative French toast twists. The restaurant’s Peach Vanilla Stuffed French Toast, for instance, contains 325 calories of sugar—that’s a day and a half of the recommended value.

A POST-WORKOUT SNACK

Want hydrate and enjoy a quick energy hit after that work out? A large bottle of Gatorade and a Clif Bar will load you with 292 calories of sugar, or nearly 15% of your total recommended calorie intake for the day—and more than your sugar intake, too.

 

TIME Exercise/Fitness

6 Ways a TV Binge Affects Your Body

flat-screen-tv
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And how to fight each one

When a major show releases an entire season at once—we’re looking at you, House of Cards—it’s hard to resist devouring it all over a single weekend. And you probably won’t be alone: According to a 2014 poll by research firm Miner & Co Studio, 70% of U.S. television watchers self-identified as binge-viewers.

But before you settle in, let’s talk about what a TV binge can do to your body. You know that a habit of sitting for prolonged periods has been linked to everything from obesity to early death, but you may wonder: What harm can one or two lazy days really do?

Well, let’s just say there are some good reasons to try to split up your TV or movie binge.

“Even one long television session can certainly cause some immediate side effects,” says John P. Higgins, MD, associate professor of cardiology at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and a certified personal trainer. “And the more you do it, the more you’ll be at risk for longer-term problems.”

Here are all the ways your body is affected while you binge-watch, plus how to fight each one.

Your appetite

Watching television often goes hand in hand with mindless overeating and unhealthy snacking, Dr. Higgins says, and watching episode after episode can make that worse. “You probably don’t want to stop for an hour to cook yourself a healthy meal, so you order pizza or fast food, or you snack on junk food the whole time.” And if you think that one bad-for-you dinner can’t hurt, think again: A 2012 study from the University of Montreal found that a single meal high in saturated fat can can damage arteries and restrict blood flow in the body. Furthermore, watching high-paced, action-oriented programs also triggers more distracted eating than less stimulating news or talk shows, according to a 2014 study by Cornell University.

Simply seeing characters eat on TV may make you consume more calories, Dr. Higgins adds, just as watching them drink alcohol may trigger you to crave a cocktail, or seeing them smoke (ahem, Frank and Claire) may tempt smokers to light up.

Fight it: Prep healthy food in advance
Make a healthy meal before you indulge in one (or more) episodes, and have pre-portioned healthy snacks (think popcorn or almonds) at the ready.

Read more: 20 Snacks That Burn Fat

Your muscles

It’s unlikely that you’ll gain five pounds or sabotage your fitness goals in one sitting, but spending all day on your butt can have more immediate consequences, including stiffness, back pain, and muscle cramps.

Fight it: Watch on the go
Download the Netflix app, so you can watch from your phone or tablet on the treadmill, stationary bike, or—Frank’s personal favorite—the rowing machine. At the very least, you should take a stand and stretch break between each episode.

Read more: 15-Minute Workout: Get Total-Body Toned

Your mood

A recent study by University of Texas at Austin researchers found that binge-watching is linked with feelings of depression and loneliness. People often try to lose themselves in TV to distract themselves from their negative feelings, the authors say, but often they’re unable to stop—even when they know they are neglecting work and relationships. Spending a whole weekend watching TV may also cause feelings regret and guilt, says psychiatrist Grant Brenner, MD, adjunct assistant clinical professor at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, but those are usually temporary.

For viewers with pre-existing mental health conditions, however, a binge session may have bigger consequences. “Perhaps they’re in a vulnerable state and the material triggers a negative reaction—such as activating trauma or amplifying irrational beliefs of some sort,” Dr. Brenner says.

Speaking of trauma, House of Cards has some dark subject matter. “Being exposed to any sufficiently intense or resonant emotionally-laden experience can potentially affect a person’s disposition and outlook,” Dr. Brenner adds, at least for a few days.

Fight it: Watch with friends
You need to talk to someone about Frank and Claire, and why that thing that was so crazy was just. So. Crazy!

Read more: 12 Worst Habits For Your Mental Health

Your sleep

And not just the sleep you lose by watching straight through the night (you probably already know you shouldn’t do that); it’s possible that your shut-eye schedule in the days after your binge session could be affected as well, Dr. Higgins says. “If you watch in a dark room with a lack of sunlight it can screw up your circadian rhythm and disrupt sleep-wake cycles.” On top of that, research suggests that the blue light emitted from televisions, computers, and smartphones can impair the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps promote sleep. (Not to mention, it can cause headaches and eye strain.)

Fight it: Avoid a binge that’s too close to bedtime
You need at least an hour away from the blue light to appropriately wind down. Also: watching on a screen that’s close to your face may have the biggest impact, so be sure you really “sit back” and relax.

Read more: 10 Sleep Compatibility Problems, Solved

Your circulation

Staying in one position for too long can contribute to deep vein thrombosis and the formation of potentially fatal blood clots, even in otherwise active individuals. “I’ve seen young healthy people who have been lying around all day surfing the web or watching movies get blood clots,” Dr. Higgins says. “When you’re watching TV, you may be moving your hands a bit but usually your feet are just lying there.”

Fight it: Get up at least every 30 minutes
“It’s another important reason to get up every 30 minutes or so, even if it’s just to stand and pump the calves and keep the blood flowing,” Dr. Higgins says.

Read more: How to Prevent a Blood Clot

Your metabolism

Studies show that spending long periods of time in a chair or on a couch do slow metabolism and cause the body to store more fat, which can lead to a slow, steady weight gain. Plus, you’ve heard it before, but it’s worth repeating: prolonged sitting has been linked to certain cancers, diabetes, disability, and heart disease—and the more time people spend watching TV, the more likely they are to die prematurely. In many cases, these associations hold true even if you’re getting the recommended amount of exercise during the day.

Fight it: Don’t make it a habit
Thankfully, it’s not every week that Netflix releases an addicting show.

Read more: 6 Ways to Sit Less Every Day

The bottom line

There are ways to make the occasional marathon TV session healthier. “If you decide you’re going to watch five episodes in one day rather than one episodes every night of the week—and you use that hour each night to work out when wouldn’t otherwise—you can treat a weekend binge as a reward,” Dr. Higgins says.

Brenner agrees. “For a lot of folks, binge-watching might be a form of relaxing ‘stay-cation,’ especially if it is viewed as a valuable recreational experience and not as an excessive indulgence,” he says. “As with most things, moderation is the key to avoiding problems.”

Read more: 5 Ways To Make Your Netflix Binge A Little Healthier

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

TIME Research

One-Third of the World’s Population Suffers From Untreated Tooth Decay

Dental check-up
Echo—Cultura RF/Getty Images

Untreated tooth decay can engender cavities, infections, abscesses, oral pain and diseases

Untreated tooth decay is a problem for more than 2.4 billion people worldwide, with some 190 million new cases forecasted each year, finds a new study in the Journal of Dental Research.

Experts say this is a worryingly large number for a problem that is both well known and highly preventable.

“It is alarming to see prevention and treatment of tooth decay has been neglected at this level,” says the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Wagner Marcenes.

Scientists conducted a global survey of 378 studies looking at nearly 5 million people from 1990 to 2010. The results showed that 2.4 billion people suffer from untreated tooth decay in their permanent teeth, with 621 million children facing untreated decay in their early, temporary teeth.

Untreated tooth decay can engender cavities, infections, abscesses, oral pain and diseases. Ignored, it can impede a child’s growth and cause work absenteeism and unproductivity in adults. Dental decay is an effect of mouth acids dissolving the exterior teeth layers.

Scientists impute dental decay to high consumption of sugar, cautioning the public that children are not the only offenders.

“What is clear is that this is a major public health problem,” added global oral-health expert Professor David Williams of the Queen Mary University of London.

[BBC]

MONEY Insurance

Injured Workers Are Getting Raw Deals

People injured on the job are getting shortchanged by workers' compensation, while employers and insurance companies are benefiting.

TIME Research

New Hormone Discovered That Curbs Weight Gain, Diabetes Just Like Exercise

“This represents a major advance in the identification of new treatments for age-related diseases such as diabetes”

Scientists have discovered a new hormone that mimics the health benefits of exercise by normalizing the metabolism and slowing the weight gain caused by fatty diets.

Appearing in the scientific journal Cell Metabolism on Tuesday, the study found the newly discovered MOTS-c hormone increases insulin sensitivity, allowing the body to more effectively process glucose sugars, according to a press release from the University of Southern California.

Insulin is a hormone that is used to move glucose sugars from food into the blood stream; resistance occurs when levels are high for a long period of time — commonly from a poor diet — which increases the body’s tolerance to the hormone and can lead to type 2 diabetes.

The new MOTS-c hormone targets muscle tissue and reverses age-dependent and diet-related insulin resistance.

“This represents a major advance in the identification of new treatments for age-related diseases such as diabetes,” said Dr. Pinchas Cohen, senior author of the study.

Researchers injected the new hormone into lab mice eating high-fat foods that usually lead them to become obese. The injection suppressed the weight gain and also reversed the insulin resistance caused by their diet.

While tests were only administered on mice, the necessary mechanisms are present in all mammals, humans included.

Read next: 5 Non-Diet Factors That Can Affect Your Weight

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TIME Exercise/Fitness

How to Get Kids to Exercise More

Getting children to encourage their peers to exercise may be the best way to inspire kids to stay more active, according to new research presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association. The finding introduces a wrinkle in current recommendations that parents play a key role in encouraging children to exercise.

“For a child to be active, they have to really enjoy the activity,” says Stephen Daniels, a professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “We have to find activities they like and settings that promote activity, so this really helps us understand how to do that and emphasizes the fact that having friends involved can be a big motivator.”

The study, which relied on interviews of more than 100 children of various ages, found that kids enjoyed working out more when they did it with friends. Children also got over typical excuses, like not having the right equipment or not being good at, when accompanied by their friends. Though children clearly like exercising with friends, less than half of kids actually do it, according to the study.

Of course, encouragement to exercise by peers only worked if the peers were, in fact, encouraging. If you’re not picking the right peer group, it could backfire in a way,” Daniels says. “I think finding kids and friends who will be non-judgmental who really are there for the fun of the activity and not there to criticize, etc. is an important part of this.”

Overall, the study found that feeling self-conscious, low enjoyment, health concerns, a lack of self-discipline and a lack of energy were the most common impediments to children’s exercise.

TIME Know Right Now

Know Right Now: Human Waste on Mount Everest Creates an Environmental Issue

Nature's call maybe not be good for nature

Climbers are leaving more than just their footprints when they traverse Mount Everest, especially when they need to “use the bathroom.” People leave behind large amounts of fecal matter and urine every year.

Watch the Know Right Now above to find out more, and read more here.

TIME europe

Huge Numbers of Europeans Will Die From Air Pollution in the Next 20 Years

Eiffel Tower in a thick smog in Paris, France on January 6, 2015.
Apaydin Alain—Sipa USA/AP Eiffel Tower in a thick smog in Paris, France on January 6, 2015.

Europe is failing on a range of environmental indicators from air to water and biodiversity

Hundreds of thousands of people in the E.U. — perhaps millions, if present trends continue — will suffer premature death in the next two decades because of toxic air, a new report says.

Tuesday’s State of the Environment Report for 2015, from the European Environment Agency (EEA) blames governments for inaction and says that in 2011 alone — the most recent year for which there is a reliable tally — over 400,000 Europeans died prematurely from air pollution.

Europe’s environmental performance also lags behind in areas like urbanization, biodiversity loss, intensive farming and maintenance of inland freshwater systems, the Guardian reports.

“Our analysis shows that European policies have successfully tackled many environmental challenges over the years. But it also shows that we continue to harm the natural systems that sustain our prosperity,” EEA’s executive director Hans Bruyninckx told the Guardian.

[The Guardian]

TIME Heart Disease

Moderate Amounts of Coffee May Help Keep Arteries Clear, Study Says

Man on desk holding cup of coffee, close up
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Coffee in your veins may actually be healthy

Drinking three to five cups of coffee per day may help to reduce signs of blocked arteries, says a new study out of South Korea.

Published Monday in the medical journal Heart, the study involved more than 25,000 male and female workers, who previously showed no signs of heart disease, looking for calcium buildups indicating plaque growth that can cause heart attacks and strokes.

The results showed that those who drank the least amount of coffee, and the most, had a larger amount of calcium in their arteries than those who consumed a moderate amount.

Interestingly, researchers also discovered that the findings were consistent through different subsectors, such as smokers, drinkers and those with obesity issues.

“While this study does highlight a potential link between coffee consumption and lower risk of developing clogged arteries, more research is needed to confirm these findings and understand what the reason is for the association,” Victoria Taylor of the British Heart Foundation told the BBC.

Taylor also noted that the results should not be generalized because different cultures have distinct lifestyle and dietary customs that may also contribute to cardiovascular health.

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