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Does size have anything to do with how you eat at a buffet?

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We’ve all been there, all you can eat buffet and a total binge fest. We see a food we like, and without hesitation, we dig in. A new study was conducted that may explain why we overeat at buffets. According to research by Cornell University, eating fresh fruit before eating the main course in a buffet, may cause you to eat much less food than digging right in to the main course, first.

Researchers set up two buffet lines: One with fresh fruits, yogurt, granola, followed by the more unhealthy choices bacon, cheesy eggs and waffles. The second line was reversed with the unhealthy ingredients first and healthy fruits and yogurt on the far end. After over 120 participants the trend was clear: they preferred the first items they saw on the buffet. In fact, the research found they piled their plates with the first item they saw in the buffet line. They found over 85% of those buffet goers chose fruits when it was placed first in the buffet line oppose to only half chose it when the first was placed last on the buffet table. They also found that 75% of those who ate the cheesy eggs when offered first vs. only 1/3 when offered last in line.

The main reason this is a concern is eating the fatty foods seemed to trigger a chain reaction of bad eating. The people who ate cheesy eggs were 25% more likely to eat potatoes and bacon. They found those who chose fruits first, ate way less of cheesy eggs, bacon, and potatoes.

Another very interesting point they found in the research was obese people acts very different than thinner people at the buffet. An obese person typically reacted to the buffet by getting a plate and looking at foods and asking themselves do I want the food, yes, or no. However, the thinner person had a different approach. They grabbed plate, but before getting any food, they looked through the food on buffet BEFORE they put any food on their plate. They were also more likely to add fruit o their plate first. They also did not have the mentality of eating their money’s worth as the obese people did. They also noticed the thinner person would sit further away from the buffet, where as the obese person typically would sit almost right by the food line. The researchers noted these were habits that were unconsciously reinforced by repeat behavior over time.

The bottom line- There is no need to avoid all you can eat buffets, just load up on healthy foods first. That way after eating the health fruits and items, you will have much less room for the fatty unhealthy foods.

How do you manage to eat at an all you can eat buffets? Do you eat fruits first or as a dessert? Do you limit yourself or treat it as a cheat meal?

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