Do you know the dietary danger zones that can make you inadvertently accumulate pounds?
A recent study showed that we underestimate how fatty foods squeezed from someone else’s plate can be.
A study by the Journal of Consumer Psychology found that nosh seemed less fattening when shared because you did not feel you owned it.
So when you help a friend or partner with their chips, you consider it 18 percent less fattening than if you put in your own.
But this is far from the only dietary delusion to be aware of.
Here we reveal more, and nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert tells Katy Docherty and Amy Jones how to avoid them.
MANY of us took on during the shutdowns when our plans were canceled and the food became even more important.
By May 2020, the country’s total calorie consumption was 15 percent above normal levels, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
During the second half of that year, it was still ten per cent.
RHIANNON says: “Temptations at home are only limited to whatever you’ve gotten into at the time – so make sure you have healthy snacks such as nuts and fruit on hand.”
GRASSING on chips, candy, chocolate and cake while sitting at your desk during the work day rises quietly.
The damage comes up to an average of 2,240 calories extra per week.
RHIANNON says: “It can be really good for you to have that weird pampering, but try to make sure it’s not all the time.
“Work on a food and mood diary, and make sure you eat balanced meals three times a day, with a few snacks if necessary.”
WE all like a snack or three at hand while watching a movie – especially when the action gets tense.
But we end up consuming an average of 13,000 calories a year in the cinema, a recent study showed.
RHIANNON says: Replace chips with lightly salted or plain popcorn. Popcorn is high in fiber and contains much less salt than chips.
“Dark chocolate is another good option. It contains iron, magnesium and a whole lot more minerals than milk chocolate.”
AFTER just a few drinks, we are more likely to be hungry for high-fat foods.
So even moderate drinking before eating increases calorie intake by 11 percent, according to a 2015 study in the journal Appetite.
RHIANNON says: “Try to avoid takeaway food after drinking – you will be tempted by the most unhealthy foods.
“It’s also best to stop drinking after a drink.
“But if you can not do that, then try to drink alcohol and water alternately – and do not drink on an empty stomach.”
Eating out is always a pleasure – especially now that we’re allowed to do it again.
But doing this for lunch instead of eating at home typically adds 158 calories to your daily intake, a study by the Economic Research Service found.
Dining out can mean 144 extra calories.
RHIANNON says: “If you eat out, consider going for grilled or steamed options – and replace chips with new potatoes, extra vegetables or salad.
“Also ask to be served dressings and sauces next to your plate.”
WITH a selection of tempting food on offer, it’s easy to fill up.
We can spot up to a third more, studies have found, while U.S. research showed that you are likely to choose fatty foods on a buffet.
RHIANNON says: “Try these healthy hand portions”
1 palm protein, e.g. chicken and fish.
1 handful of carbohydrate, e.g. rice, oats, starchy vegetables and fruits.
2 handfuls of non-starchy vegetables, e.g. broccoli, spinach, peppers.
1 thumb healthy fat e.g. olive oil, butter, coconut oil and nut butter.
The full moon
THE more spiritual among us believe that a full moon can affect our appetite – and science backs this up.
This is because brighter evenings can ruin sleep and disrupt the production of the hormone melatonin – both of which nourish hunger.
RHIANNON says: “Studies show that sleep deprived people have a greater appetite and tend to eat more calories.
“But a high-carbohydrate meal eaten a few hours before bedtime can help you fall asleep faster and improve sleep quality.”
WE all love to hunger for a TV dinner – to enjoy a big, fat meal in front of our favorite show.
After a hard day’s work, we feel that we do not deserve less – and want to feel much better about it.
But be careful. Research from the University of Liverpool showed that eating while distracted can increase the amount consumed by up to 25 percent.
RHIANNON says: “Consider making the meals family time by eating together at the dinner table and in an electronics-free zone.”
– Rhiannon is the author of the Sunday Times bestseller The Science Of Nutrition.
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