In an effort to lose weight, you pass on the steak sizzler at your favorite family restaurant and settle, instead, for a healthy salad. But you might be in for a dieting double whammy. First off, the salad probably has more calories than you realize. For example, Applebee’s Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad packs a whopping 800 calories (a full 170 calories more than a Whopper). When you order that salad thinking you’re cutting calories, you’re wrong.
As if underestimating calories wasn’t bad enough, there’s a second problem with that salad–your body is about to play a sinister trick on you. As you engorge on all 800 calories of the salad, your brain, convinced the salad is healthy, convinces your stomach that it is not full. When people believe food is healthy, they experience that food as being less filling .
Not convinced? Consider this: A team of researchers gave college students a cookie to eat, telling half of them the cookie was “healthy” with “high levels of proteins, fibers and vitamins” and telling the other half it was “unhealthy” with “high levels of sugars, fats and carbohydrates.” Immediately after eating the cookie, and 45 minutes later, the researchers asked people how hungry they were. They found out that people who ate what they thought was a “healthy cookie” were hungrier.
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