UW nutritionist suggests stopping after three bites of holiday dessert

Dec 23, 2021, 12:23 PM
cookies, dessert...
Cut cookies are pictured on a tray. (File photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)
(File photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

If you’re worried about overindulging on delicious, but perhaps unhealthy, foods this holiday season, a University of Washington nutritionist has some advice about when to put the fork down and limit our sugar intake during dessert.

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When you start eating a dessert, pay attention to the first three bites and enjoy how they feel. After the third bite, nutritionist Dori Khakpoor with the UW Medicine Diabetes Institute says your taste buds get worn down and you don’t enjoy the food as much.

“The third bite, you start to wear down those taste buds that are now giving you that pleasurable taste sensation,” Khakpoor explained. “After the third bite, you’re really not tasting much, you’re kind of just eating those calories.”

“Whatever is there is not being enjoyed by your brain, by your taste buds. So you might as well go on to something else as opposed to finishing an entire piece of pie,” she added.

In a clip sent to KIRO Radio from UW Medicine, she adds that having some protein for breakfast and drinking plenty of water all day will help you feel full so that you’re less tempted to overdo it on sweets. Eggs, light cheese, and low-fat meats are good breakfast options.

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A lot of people also fast all day and indulge in a big dinner, but Khakpoor says eating every two or three hours is better — especially if you’re diabetic. If you eat throughout the day it will keep you from feeling too hungry and then losing control.

“Eating throughout the day — every two, three hours — is really valuable,” she said. “Most people think, ‘I’m going to have a big dinner, so I’m going to starve myself all day long,’ and then we tend to overeat and not be able to be mindful and controlled.”

Find more tips from Khakpoor on how to navigate holiday dinners here.

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UW nutritionist suggests stopping after three bites of holiday dessert