Why is there always room for dessert -- even when you're stuffed?

Thin people limit their options.

While everyone needs a variety of foods for optimal nutrition, professor of nutrition Barbara Rolls's research shows that the more types of food we have available, the more we tend to eat. It’s related to what’s called “sensory-specific satiety"―meaning our stomachs and appetites will cry “Uncle!” after we eat a lot of pasta, but if dessert is pie à la mode, suddenly we’ll find just enough room to partake.

“What happens during a meal of many different foods or courses is that we experience satiety for each food as we eat it,” says Rolls, who is also the author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan. “But we are still ‘hungry’ for foods we haven’t eaten yet, particularly those that have different tastes, aromas, shapes, textures, and other sensory properties.”

Still, Rolls would never recommend severely limiting the number or types of food in an effort to stay slim. “People should increase the variety of low-calorie-dense foods they eat―such as vegetables, fruit, and soup―to get the nutrients they need,” she says.


This is the seventh post in a series of habits of thin people, drawn from a Real Simple magazine story written by ih8exercise founder Lorie Parch.