Heavy Influence

Remember this when you’re in charge of the takeout order: the person you’re also ordering for affects your own meal choice, new Duke University research suggests. When asked to select a snack for themselves and an overweight companion, people were most likely to pick identical foods, even if both choices were high in kilojoules. “We worry about offending others,” says study author Professor Peggy Liu. If you give your portly pal slap chips while you take a salad, then you might convey that chips are for fat folks. Do the opposite, and you may seem judgemental. The fix? Pick something low in kilojoules for both of you.

Is This Hero a Villain?

Some food messes with your mind before your waistline: people tend to underestimate the kilojoules in pizza and subs more than in other fast food, a study in the Journal of Consumer Affairs reveals. Study participants thought subs and pizza contained about a third fewer kilojoules than they actually did, but gave somewhat more accurate counts for hamburgers, fried chicken and Mexican meals. The reason? People misjudge pizza portion sizes and perceive subs as healthy food, says study author Professor Scot Burton. Order a low-kilojoule side, like an apple, and eat less of the takeaway kilojoule bombs, he advises.

48 Hour Larger

A cheat day won’t sink your diet – but a cheat weekend might. A study from Pennington Biomedical Research Center shows that two days of bad eating can hinder your slim-down effort for days to come. When people ate 40% more food than they needed over 48 hours, the indulgence set them up for four more days of overeating and cravings. Your body doesn’t signal for less food to compensate for short-term upticks in energy intake, says study author Professor John W. Apolzan. So watch your kilojoules on weekends, and amp up your workouts: a study from the UK found that daily vigorous exercise helps blunt the effects of short-term pig-outs.

Go For A Beer Run

If you crack open a cold one after a half marathon or adventure race, choose carefully: Australian research suggests that low-alcohol beer with a pinch of salt added can help you rehydrate better than a boozier brew would. Only snag? This only works if the beer is 3.5% alcohol by volume (ABV) or less; otherwise the benefit vanishes, says study author Professor Ben Desbrow. Play it smart and mix your favourite with a non-alcoholic beer. And don’t forget the salty pretzels!

Peel Away the Fat

The outer layers of onions could be more treasure than trash: research from Korea shows that an extract from onion peels may help prevent fat formation. Rats that ate the extract gained less body fat than those that didn’t, even though their diets were otherwise identical. Onion peels contain quercetin, which the researchers say suppresses the formation of fat cells in their early stages, blunting weight gain. But don’t gnaw on onion peels just yet: more research is needed to confirm the effect.