When you think a certain food is healthy, you eat more of it, right? Sadly, that can make you gain weight, as found by researchers at the University of Texas.
Why? Because you think you're eating something that isn't filling when the food is said to be healthy. So when you eat it, you'll end up consuming more to the point that you overeat.
Researchers did a series of tests that support their conclusion. In one, they had participants eat a cookie and describe their hunger afterward. One group of cookies was labeled healthy (high in protein, fiber, and vitamins), and the other was unhealthy (high in sugars, fats, and carbohydrates). The catch was that the cookies were the same. Still, participants who were eating the "healthy" cookie were reported to be hungrier than those who ate the "unhealthy" cookie.
Another test was with popcorn. The study participants who thought they were eating diet popcorn ate twice as much as those who thought the popcorn was fattening—2.33 cups compared to 1 cup.
So it seems that we think words like "healthy," "natural," even "gluten-free" give us license to eat as much as we want because we think they won't affect our bodies. We forget that overeating is overeating, so that also applies to healthy food. The calories will still add up, and if we don't burn them, we will gain weight.
So before you indulge in another serving, ask yourself if you're physically hungry or just trying to satisfy an emotional hunger or craving. Nutritionist Marci Clow suggests asking yourself "Would I want this food if it were an apple or a handful of carrots?" If the answer is no, "there's a good chance your body is full." Time to walk away from the kitchen.
This story originally appeared on Cosmo.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Femalenetwork.com editors.