Variety in Diet May Hinder Efforts to Shed Extra Pounds

Mix in a salad, try new herbs and spices. Experiment. After all, varying your diet not only makes eating more fun but also more nutritious, experts say.

Except that it may not be the best for people who are having trouble losing weight, according to a recent review of research on the relationship between food variety and appetite.

Psychologists at the University of Buffalo examined almost 60 studies and found that "both people and animals will eat more food when a meal or diet contains a greater variety of food." The findings square with common sense: In one study, for example, investigators found that adults ate 60% more calories when given varied four-course menu--sausage, bread and butter, chocolate dessert, bananas--than when they were served the same food for each course.

As we tire of eating the same fare, the researchers observe, we actually feel full sooner than we would grazing a buffet of different flavors. Variety may be the spice of life, they say, but don't count on it to help you lose weight.

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