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Something to Chew On: Food Texture Can Make You Overeat

Just like people prefer certain tastes over others, we all tend to have texture preferences when it comes to food. Take for example the chocolate chip cookie. Some will insist the best cookies are thin and crisp, while others will argue soft and chewy is the way to go.

food texture

Texture can influence a lot more than food preference. A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research revealed texture can also affect how people perceive the number of calories in food.

Study authors Dipayan Biswas, Courtney Szocs (both of University of South Florida), Aradhna Krishmna (University of Michigan), and Donald R. Lehmann (Columbia University) wrote, “We studied the link between how a food feels in your mouth and the amount we eat, the types of food we choose, and how many calories we think we are consuming.”


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Work it Off: 3 Ways to Burn Off the 272 Calories in a Slice of Cheese Pizza

As a former New Yorker, I used to live on pizza. (Or, “slices”, as we said in Brooklyn.) I had a handful of go-to spots, places with thin crust that’s been tossed to perfection, savory sauce, and just enough cheese. But when I moved I largely gave up my pizza habit. It’s not as easy to come by restaurants selling slices to go, and the consistency is just different. Or so I thought.

pizza

A few days ago I stopped into one of the few local pizza chains that do offer individual slices. Most were piled with artisanal toppings—things like roasted squash and apples—but on that particular day I spied what looked like a classic slice. Fresh mozzarella, a little red sauce peeking thorough, and not much else.  I ordered one, sprinkled on a few fresh pepper flakes, and was immediately transported. It tasted like home.

Still, my waistline has been happy to not have to deal with regular stops for slices. Just how many calories had that pitstop cost? Around 272, by my math (and Self.com).
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Work it Off: Burn Through a 600-Calorie Plate of Nachos

There are certain weeks when my “TGIF” attitude carries over to what I eat. This past Friday was a good example of this. I’d worked hard for the past 5 days and when Friday rolled around I was ready to unwind. I met up with some friends and ordered one of my favorite comfort foods—nachos.

burn nachos

To me, few things feel as good—or bad—as a heaping plate of nachos. You’ve got the crunchy pile of corn chips. The warm black beans and melted cheese. The salsa and, if you’re really lucky, guacamole. On last night’s order there was even a healthy helping of pulled pork. Delish!

Luckily I shared the snack—which actually served as dinner—but the calorie count of this one was a real doozy: Somewhere around 1,200 calories for the gooey plate. That means I ate around 600 calories worth of nachos in one sitting. Ouch!


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Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band Tracks Activity, Sleep, Calories, and Challenges with Friends

garmin-vivofit-fitness-tracker

You see fitness and activity tracking gadgets everywhere these days. Whether it be something you clip on your clothes or something you wear on your wrist, more companies are creating solutions that help you keep track of your progress and stay motivated day by day. Garmin is the latest company to launch their own such product: the Garmin Vivofit fitness band. It comes in five colors (black, gray, green, blue, and purple) and will be available within the next month. The Vivofit is available for pre-order at $129.

Like other contenders for a spot on your wrist, the Vivofit’s pedometer function tracks the number of steps you walk (or run) in a day, the number of calories you burn, the distance you go, and patterns in your sleep. You’re able to visualize this data on the small display on the band itself, or via the accompanying free Garmin Connect iPhone and Android app on your smartphone. (iPhone app | Android app)


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Work it Off: Burn Away the 250 Calories from 2 Glasses of Red Wine

This year my family skipped the holiday get-together, opting instead to gather for a mid-January weekend in Sonoma, California. Sonoma, which is about an hour and a half north of San Francisco, is in the heart of California wine country. My parents, sister, and I all agreed this was the perfect destination for a getaway because we’re all oenophiles. (Oenophile? I know. It’s a pretentious word that’s impossible to pronounce, but it sounds so much more dignified than, “we all really enjoy a good glass of Pinot”.)

  REd wine

It probably goes without say that there was a lot of wine on the menu this weekend. There were wine tastings at a few vineyards and then large dinners which were, of course, accompanied by more vino. The food was spectacular—that’s another given in NorCal—but it’s the wine I’m most worried about throwing off my resolutions.


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