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MyFitnessPal’s 2016 Holiday Gift Guide for the Techie

techie-hero-image-cropIt’s the most wonderful time of the year, and your favorite techie is dreaming of the latest and hottest gadgets. But with all the options out there (and your busy schedule), how are you to know what’s worth the money and what’ll need a gift receipt?

Don’t worry, we took care of the research for you. We compiled a list of the coolest devices we could find to help your tech-obsessed friend or family member live an easier, healthier, safer and all-around more fun life.

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Beddi Smart Alarm Clock

$ 99

Waking up is hard. Getting out of bed is even harder. Luckily, Beddi can help.

This app-enabled smart alarm clock’s sunrise simulator gradually brightens the room to gently rouse her from sleep and plays her favorite Spotify playlist instead of that blaring beep beep from a traditional alarm. The clock also informs her of the local weather forecast and traffic conditions, so she knows exactly what she’s in for when she leaves the house.

But waking her up isn’t the only thing this smart alarm can do. Your techie can connect the clock to multiple devices around the home, such as lights or the coffee maker, adjusting them by either pushing a button or setting a timer. It can even hail an Uber and alert her when the driver has arrived. Smart alarm? More like genius alarm.

Buy

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Banana Nut Pancakes

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Fluffy, healthy and tasty, these banana nut pancakes from Cook Smarts leave no room for disappointment. They’re packed with bananas inside and out — and topped with crunchy walnuts and tangy, honey-sweetened yogurt. Celebrate your morning with a plate of these hot flapjacks!

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MyFitnessPal’s 2016 Holiday Gift Guide for the Fit Fan

fitfan-hero-image-cropFrom the hottest apparel to the latest workout trends, your jock’s wish list is likely a mile long this holiday season. But how are you to know what’s worth the money and what will end up in the back of the closet? Lucky for you, we’re here to help.

Make the holidays more active for your favorite athlete or outdoors enthusiast this year. These gifts are sure to help the recipient live healthier, sweat more often and enjoy each active moment more.

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Polk Boom Bit Wearable Bluetooth Speaker

$ 29.99

Keep your fit fan safe and connected with this compact and lightweight wearable Bluetooth speaker. A spring steel clip securely attaches to clothing or a backpack, allowing her to run, bike or commute while still hearing traffic, people and other hazards around her.

Available in five colors, the speaker also includes the ability to talk hands-free when a call comes in and is made of a tough, rubberized material to withstand the elements — and an unfortunate fall every now and then. A USB connection lets her easily charge the device by plugging it into a computer or wall charger.

Buy

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Does Caffeine Actually Boost Your Metabolism?

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I am a creature of habit. When my alarm goes off, I get out of bed (after at least one snooze sesh) and head out the door for my morning workout. What gets me through those early morning workouts? The promise of a hot cup of joe when I get back home. It’s part of my daily ritual that starts at home and trickles into my morning work routine. Whether it’s a cup of black coffee, a soy latte or a fancy cup of French press, I am a coffee lover through and through. Not only is coffee a delicious start to my mornings, but it also give my day a jump-start — all thanks to the magical molecule known as caffeine.

Caffeine is found naturally in the leaves, seeds and/or fruits of more than 60 plants, and it is one of the most studied food ingredients. Since its in widely prevalent foods like coffee, chocolate, tea and soda, you can probably imagine that the average American consumes at least some amount of caffeine each day. In fact, a recent study found that the average American’s caffeine intake hovers around 165 milligrams per day.

Is there such thing as too much caffeine?

Just like most things, there is a limit to how much caffeine you should consume each day. The Food and Drug Administration has found that up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day is not linked to negative health effects in adults.

What does 400 milligrams of caffeine look like?

Sometimes it can get confusing how much caffeine we can safely include in our diet, so see the table below to give you a sense of how many ounces it takes to reach the 400 milligram limit.

Can caffeine impact my weight?

As it turns out, there is a good bit of evidence that shows that caffeine helps with weight management by boosting your metabolism.

Before we dive into the science, let’s quickly go over basic human metabolism. Your metabolism is what keeps your body going. It includes every single chemical reaction that occurs to keep your body functioning, including replicating your cells, making hormones, breaking down food and producing energy for the body. At rest, your metabolism is called your basal metabolic rate, which is your baseline metabolism needed to support your body’s basic functions. The BMR takes your height, weight and age into account. While you can burn additional calories through exercise, your BMR usually accounts for the majority of calories burned throughout the day.

Decades of scientific research have investigated the impact of caffeine on metabolism and weight management. This comprehensive study involving a series of four trials found that both caffeine and coffee stimulated the metabolic rate in healthy and overweight participants. Interestingly, these findings were linked to greater oxidation (think: “breakdown”) of fat in healthy participants.

Similarly, additional research has shown that 100 milligrams of caffeine  increased BMR by 3-4%. Breaking this down into real-world numbers, if your daily calorie needs hover around 2,000 calories, then ingesting 100 milligrams of caffeine may increase your daily calorie needs by 60–80 calories. Even though I do not need another reason to love my daily caffeine habit, I can always get behind a food or drink that adds to my calorie budget rather than takes away from it.

Do caffeine-containing beverages such as coffee improve other health outcomes?

Yes! In fact, this was a question that the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee investigated. This report found strong observational evidence that moderate coffee consumption (up to 400 milligrams caffeine per day) is not associated with increased risk of chronic disease such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and premature death. So it seems that your daily coffee habit can pay off in more ways than just affecting your waistline.

Final caffeinated thoughts

While coffee does have perky benefits, try to cap caffeine at 400 milligrams per day. And with that, I’m off to brew another cup of joe!

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