Daily Archives: November 1, 2016

Puppy Love


Here’s my dog. Her name is Dot, she’s about seven years old in that picture, and I love her very much. Having been away from her during this semester, I grow more and more excited to see her again, and so I started to remember all of her little quirks. Dot eats when my family eats, and will whine if we don’t put food in her bowl even if she ate right before we did. When my mom goes to bed, and I stay up to finish up any class work, Dot will stay with mom until she falls asleep and come back to the room I’m working in. She’ll stay with me until I finish and sees me go to bed. She would normally sleep with my mother or father, but about a month before I went to college she would sleep with me as if she knew I was leaving soon. Despite all of this, I began to wonder: Does she actually love me? So today I want to explore: Do dogs love their owners?

According to this article, scientists say dogs view us as family, which would explain Dot eating when we eat and waiting until everyone is safe in bed until she sleeps. Dogs depend on us now more than their own species for affection and protection.

This article outlines a study which shows dogs recognize their owners. When dogs were presented with the scent their owner, a stranger, a dog they knew, a dog they never met, and their own scent, the only scent that activated the caudate nucleus was that of their owner. The caudate nucleus is the part of the brain that reacts to familiar stimulants. I deduce the reason why dogs were able to recognize their owners but not a dog they met before is most likely due to the fact that dogs are around their owners far more often than the neighbor’s dog or a dog they met at the park, and so the dog would react more strongly to their owners than that dog. Think of it like eating a food you grew up on and a food you had for the first time last week. Despite having ate both foods before, you would be able to recognize the food you ate throughout childhood due to repeated exposure.

So dogs rely on us and recognize our scent, but I feel like that may not be enough to prove they love us.

Dr. Paul Zak references a few studies that show dogs and their owners release oxytocin when interacting, which he also states a way to measure love in mammals is to measure the oxytocin released during different interactions.



This article outlines the functionality of ocytocin, and defines the hormone as a neurotransmitter often associated with love, and is released during physical activities such as hugging, cuddling, sex, and breastfeeding. The hormone allows us to trust others and form bonds, as well as relax and reduce anxiety.

So by this, we can deduce that we have a mutual relationship of trust and relaxation when cuddling with our puppies. That peaceful feeling I get when Dot gives me kisses and falls asleep with her chin resting on my knee as she waits for me to finish work, I can now confidently say Dot most likely feels the same way when I pet and hold her.

Why is Breakfast the Most Important Meal of the Day?

I have heard the phrase “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” countless times throughout my life. My parents have said it to me, I have read it in various blogs about how to lose weight, I have seen it on TV shows, and I even tell myself that when I wake up really hungry (aka every morning). But despite the many times that I have heard this phrase, I have never questioned why it’s true. Why is breakfast the most important meal of the day?183_-_joeys_shirt

John Ivy, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, states that breakfast is what sets us up to take on the day. Not only does it give us the energy to perform physically, such as getting up and making it through the walk to class, but it also allows us to wake up our brain and function intellectually (1). During the day, most people eat meals every 4-5 hours and usually snack in between. At night however, people go much longer without eating anything because they are sleeping, causing carbohydrate levels to decrease dramatically. Both the muscular system and the nervous system benefit from higher levels of carbohydrates, creating more susceptibility to drowsiness and lack of motivation. Breakfast restocks the body with the necessary carbohydrates to have a productive and energetic day.

In addition to supplying your body with strength, breakfast has the ability to lower stress. Stress is a major concern for college students, so any remedy big or small can make a big difference. Like I said before, we don’t eat anything while we sleep, so our carbohydrate and glucose levels continue to lower as time passes. At a certain point in the night, the body needs to prevent the glucose levels from dropping too intensely, so cortisol (the stress hormone) is released in order to alert your body to start breaking down muscle and fat. In order to reduce the cortisol levels, glucose needs to be added to the body to replace it. The best way to do this is when you first wake up, so that way you don’t start off your day stressed out!


The International Journal of Obesity performed a study to understand more about missing breakfast and weight gain. The longitudinal, observational study included providing just under 14,000 boys and girls ages 9-14 with questionnaires asking about their breakfast habits, their BMIs, physical activity, inactivity, energy intake, ethnicity, and school work (2).The questionnaire was mailed to the children once every year for three years. The null hypothesis in the study is that skipping breakfast does not cause weight gain, and the alternative hypothesis is that skipping breakfast does cause weight gain.

The results surprised me because the overweight children that participated actually lowered their BMI by not eating breakfast compared to those who did eat breakfast. However, the children with an average weight for their age had their BMI increased when skipping breakfast regularly compared to those who do eat breakfast. Reverse causation could not be provided as an explanation due to time passed. However, there could be some third variables such as family history and income. Overall, there was a positive correlation between breakfast consumption and weight loss in children with average BMIs. Despite overweight children losing fat by skipping breakfast, there were still many positive results from breakfast consumption. They reported more energy and better quality of school work. I think that the benefits outweigh the costs for children with all body types.

Even though the study was only relevant to children ages 9-14, John Ivy also reported many potential gains from eating breakfast daily for all ages. I am going to be sure to continue eating my oatmeal with fruit, and I am going to encourage you to eat your favorite breakfast too!

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Source 1: Ivy, John L. “Why Breakfast Is the Most Important Meal of the Day | EAS Academy.” EAS Academy. Abbot, n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2016.

Source 2: Berkey, C. S. “Longitudinal Study of Skipping Breakfast and Weight Change in Adolescents.” Nature. Nature Publishing Group, 10 May 2003. Web. 26 Nov. 2016.