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Decreasing Food Variety May Help Control How Much You Eat

>> Sunday, July 31, 2011

We all know it to be true: by day 2 or 3 of eating the same leftovers, most of us are good and tired of that meal and ready to enjoy something new.  Most of us look for different things to eat each day, to enjoy a constantly changing taste sensation.  Perhaps we should not be too quick to switch up our meals, as research suggests that eating in a more repetitive pattern may be beneficial in controlling our food intake.

A recent study tested the difference in food intake patterns in a group of women served macaroni and cheese every day for 5 days, versus once a week for 5 weeks.  They found that the women who received the meal once a week ate about the same amount each week, whereas those who received it every day had a gradual decline in the number of calories they consumed.  These results were consistent for subgroups of both obese and non obese women.

Thus, it appears that eating in a more repetitive fashion may be beneficial for prevention of weight gain and as a weight loss strategy as well.  As discussed in an accompanying editorial to the article, public health policy planners and school lunch menu planners should take this information into careful consideration - a plethora of variety on the menu may not be a virtue.

Of course, eating the same meals every day would be detrimental if there is not enough variety, as a varied food intake is crucial in ensuring that we obtain all of our necessary vitamins and minerals.  Consider a strategy such as this: If you were planning to make seven different dinner meals in a week and you were planning to repeat this menu each week for a month, consider instead eating the same meal for four days in a row, then switching to the next one (you may need to re-cook the same meal to ensure your food is fresh).  This would also simplify the grocery shopping!

I'm interested to hear what my readers think!

Dr Sue Pedersen © 2011

Follow me on Twitter for daily tips! @drsuepedersen



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