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iVillage.com: Indulging in Guilty Pleasures

Giving In to Food Cravings

Why it’s OK: A study in the "International Journal of Obesity" found that people who allowed themselves to indulge once in a while lost more weight than those who tried to suppress their cravings. The reason: Putting your favorite foods on the do-not-eat list only makes you want them more, until finally you cave in the form of a big-time binge.

When to indulge: Don’t reach for forbidden foods when you’re starving, says Susan Roberts, Ph.D., professor of nutrition and psychiatry at Tufts University in Boston. It can lead to overeating. Instead, schedule your splurges at mealtime, after your main course. You’ll get a taste of the flavor you crave, but you’ll be too full to overindulge, she explains. Keep it light by sticking to a 100-calorie portion (or less).

Don’t overdo it: Giving into every food whim leads to an ineffective (read: nonexistent) diet. Plus, constant nibbling on a French fry here and a doughnut there keeps your taste buds hankering for rich, sugary flavors. After all, it’s hard to think of strawberries as sweet if you’re used to buttercream frosting.

(Credit: Tim Platt/Iconica/Getty Images)
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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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