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According to a scientific advisory statement
from the American Heart Association, having more food options available at a single meal can delay feelings of fullness and make you more likely to eat processed rather than whole foods. This is true even for people of healthy weight.
“People ate significantly more when served a wider variety of foods as opposed to a limited number of items,” says Marcia Otto, Ph.D., lead author of the statement and assistant professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.
The authors aren’t positive why this happens, but it might be because tasting several flavors and textures at once can prolong the desire to eat. And eating for longer ultimately means consuming more.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Additional research needs to be done before the authors can give precise recommendations, but in the meantime, focus on quality over variety. For example, order two servings of one appetizer for the table instead of two different menu items and make a cheese plate with just one type of cracker instead of three.