Buffet meals are an integral part of our lives. A wedding ceremony would be incomplete without rows and rows of lavish food served buffet-style. Even when we go on vacation, most hotels offer free breakfast for guests with several different cuisines to offer. The temptation is to try and sample as much food as possible; this is why we often end up indulging or overeating more than our usual appetite. A new study by academicians and researchers at University of Kansas has shown that the food that people heap their plates at ‘all-you-can-eat’ buffets may predict chances of having higher weight gain.
The study published in the journal ‘Appetite’ analysed people’s choices when confronted with food at a buffet spread. The focus was on foods which are ‘hyper palatable’, which lead author of the study Tera Fazzino explained. “Hyper palatable foods have combinations of ingredients that can enhance a food’s palatability and make a food’s rewarding properties artificially strong. Common examples would be various chocolates, hot dogs, pretzels or brownies — foods that can be difficult to stop eating,” said Fazzino.
Thus, Fazzino and her co-authors found that participants who consumed greater proportion of hyper-palatable foods had significantly greater weight change and percent body fat change at the assessment a year later. This includes foods rich in carbohydrates and sodium, such as popcorn or pretzels. The researchers concluded that eating more hyper-palatable foods may indicate a tendency towards hedonic eating, which may increase the risk of weight gain in early adulthood.
“Hedonic eating‘ is a general term that’s used in the literature to refer to eating that’s more focused on the rewarding characteristics of a food, as opposed to strictly satisfying physiological hunger,” Fazzino said. “The take-home point is really that people who tended to consume more carbohydrate and sodium foods — when they were freely available — were at greater risk for weight and body fat gain.”
So, next time you are at a buffet meal – make sure to choose wisely and avoid overeating and indulging. It’ll go a long way in keeping your body fit and healthy!