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       Volume I - June 19, 2009

Can Condiments Make You Fat?
by Alice Osborne and Patty Osborne

Put down the ketchup. Set aside that pickled relish. And leave the sauces and salsas in the fridge. New research suggests that by leaving your condiments in the cupboard, you could end up eating drastically less, overall.

Can the Condiments

In a small study of college students, dressing up fries with ketchup and brownies with a topping caused the nibblers to eat from 25 to 40 percent more of these waist-padding foods. But the theory behind the additional bites isn’t just that a few extras make food taste better. The extras actually increase the amount of time it takes for your palate to get tired of the taste of a particular food. So you end up eating more, regardless of whether you’re hungry or full. Eat foods with unsaturated fat, instead.

Eating a small amount of healthy unsaturated fat -- think olive oil, nuts, avocado, and fish -- before a meal triggers a chain reaction in your digestive system that slows the rate at which your stomach empties, which means you feel fuller faster. It also helps keep your blood sugar levels from spiking after your meal and makes it easier for your body to absorb fat-soluble nutrients, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as lycopene and lutein.

It doesn't take much: Just 70 calories worth will do the trick. That’s about 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil, 6 walnuts, 10 almonds, 1/4 of a medium avocado, or 2 ounces of smoked salmon. So ditch the chips and instead try some of these delicious healthy-fat appetizers:

Spicy Almonds
Makes 2 cups

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups dry-roasted, unsalted almonds
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet until hot but not smoking, then add the almonds and stir to combine. Add the Worcestershire sauce, sugar, chili powder, and salt and stir until the almonds are evenly coated. Remove from heat and spread the almonds in an even layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle them evenly with cayenne pepper and allow to cool.

Serving size: 12 almonds
Calories per serving: 89

  Download this recipe.

Savory Olive Tapenade
Makes 10 servings

1 teaspoon capers
3/4 cup green olives, pitted
3/4 cup black olives, pitted
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
Pepper, to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the olives are finely chopped. Serve with baked whole-wheat pita chips or thinly sliced and toasted whole-wheat bread.

Serving size: 2 tablespoons
Calories per serving: 74

  Download this recipe.

Zesty Pesto Spread
Makes 14 servings

1 1/2 cups fresh spinach leaves
1/2 cup fresh basil
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Pepper, to taste

Combine all the ingredients, except the olive oil, in a food processor until the mixture is finely chopped. Then, with the food processor running, slowly pour in the olive oil until it’s all incorporated. Spread onto whole-wheat crackers.

Serving size: 2 tablespoons
Calories per serving: 70

  Download this recipe.

Keep It Simple

In fact, a good strategy for curbing overeating is to minimize variety in meals. Focus on a few fresh flavors, not every side dish under the sun. Even consider eating the same thing for lunch every day. And try these additional appetite-busting strategies:

  • Keep your mind on your food. Paying attention to your food -- and only your food -- will help you eat less of it.

  • Diversify your workout. Do BOTH cardio and strength training. This combination revs up the metabolism!

  • Overindulge in fiber. The low-cal, low-fat, and highly nutritious veggie, jicama (pronounced HICK-a-ma), can tame your appetite. It’s full of fiber (a plant substance that helps you feel fuller longer). One medium-sized tuber has a whopping 32 grams of the stuff.

    Here’s a great recipe using jicama:

    Jicama, Papaya and Avocada Salad
    Serves 4, 2/3 cup ea

    1 medium papaya, diced
    1 medium avocado, diced
    3/4 cup diced jicama
    2 tablespoons chopped toasted walnuts
    2 tablespoons low-fat raspberry vinaigrette

    Toss papaya, avocado, jicama, walnuts and raspberry vinaigrette in a medium bowl.

    (Per serving: 116 calories; 8 g fat (1 g sat, 4 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 11 g carbohydrate; 2 protein; 5 g fiber; 23 mg sodium; 325 mg potassium. What you get: Vitamin C, fiber, folate, potassium, magnesium. 12 Carbohydrate Serving)

      Download this recipe.

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