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Can You Spice Up Your Life Without Adding Extra Pounds?

Can You Spice Up Your Life Without Adding Extra Pounds?

A woman we know likes to say, "There are three kinds of cheese: yellow fat, orange fat, and fat with holes."
Mmmm! Choices, choices.
When it comes to options for sweets and high-fat treats, it seems that the best choice might just be the same one you made yesterday, and the day before, and maybe last week, too.
Research shows that people who have a wide variety of sweets and high-fat treats like cookies and chips--or even cheeses--in their diets tend to be heavier in general. And when they do drop weight, they have a harder time keeping it off than people who tend to limit their choices of high-fat foods to one or two
But what's variety got to do with it? Calories are calories, right? Fat is fat. What does it matter if you've got a choice of fat in four exciting flavors as opposed to just one? It's not like you eat one serving of each.
Or do you?
As it turns out, that's not too far off. When researchers look at the way people actually eat, they find that the more different things we can eat,
the more different things we do eat, even when we've already eaten enough.
It's the buffet effect, in daily miniature. You know how it is when we go to that all-you-can-eat buffet; we just load up. It's not just that we're trying to get our money's worth. The fact is, there's lots of good stuff out there! You want to try a little of everything--or at least you try to stick with "a little."
Similarly, someone with three flavors of ice cream in the freezer may start out by having an appropriate-sized serving of butter-brickle belly-buster, but on
the way to the sink with that empty bowl, they're quite likely to get detoured back to the freezer somehow, for "only a little" of that raspberry ribbon
riot, and then after that, well, why not, "just a taste" of the fudgy sludge.
And believe it or not, people manage to convince themselves that they've only had one dessert. But those extra bites add up--they don't call it "Chunky
Monkey" for nothing!
The average American kid can absent-mindedly gnaw through half a bag of potato chips in front of the TV and then, bored, start in on the cheesy poofs, or
cookies or whatever's there, just because it is there.
Then what started out conveniently sitting on a pantry shelf, very soon ends up inconveniently hanging over that youngster's waistband. When we have it, we eat it, and we gain.
But what might be more important about having multiple high-fat temptations around is what they may predict for our waists and our weight over the
long haul.
There are plenty of ways to make the daily diet interesting with low-fat, healthy foods instead of sweets and fatty indulgences with little nutritional
value. People who have kept their weight off seem to have intuitively figured that out, and kept it simple. And they've got the results to show for it.
But that doesn't mean they're not enjoying--really enjoying--a good feast from time to time, too.

Dr. Caroline J. Cederquist is a board certified Family Physician and a board certified Bariatric Physicians (the medical specialty of weight management).

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