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Walk into an all-you-can-eat buffet, and you know you’re in the clutches of a fat trap. Being the smart guy you are, you approach the scene with caution, or at least plan to offset any indulgences with a workout later. A more perilous scenario is when your dining experience doesn’t include steamer trays and you assume your gut is safe. Look before you eat to avoid this trio of pig-out pitfalls.
There’s a downside to having it your way: In a Duke University study, people underestimated the kilojules in a burrito —even though they saw the kilojule ranges when selecting their fillings. So before you order, visit the restaurant’s website to find the stats for your combo of ingredients. Then decide if you really want that or a stripped-down version.
Texture is tricky. At the University of South Florida, people asked to mind kilojules and given hard brownies ate more than those given soft ones. We’re trained to think soft foods like ice cream are fattening and hard foods like celery are not, says study author Dipayan Biswas, Ph.D. That bias may make you overeat foods with crunch. Always check labels before indulging.
Call it the long arm of the lard. Researchers at St. Bonaventure University found that snacks put within easy reach disappeared faster than food placed further away. At the end of a tiring day, we default to easy options, says study author Greg Privitera, Ph.D. So make good food convenient: In the morning, take some vegetables out of the crisper and put them on the fridge’s top shelf.