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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Dining Out Discourse


I read the news every day, starting with the health section, and a few days ago the headline, “Eating Out May Encourage Binge Eating” hooked me. I was planning to dine out that very night with two friends in Chicago and we had already decided we were definitely ordering dessert! Nutrition and food-related research that affects both my personal and professional life really catches my eye, so I read on.

In a nutshell, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing followed two groups of women for two weeks. One group was categorized as binge-eaters, the other dieters. Now, I don’t fall into either of those groups but many of my clients do, so I inquisitively kept reading. Here’s what they found:

Both groups consumed between 200 and 300 extra calories by dining out (a lot less than I expected). Now that’s no biggie if it happens once in a blue moon, but both groups of women dined out frequently. On average, they ate at a restaurant or picked up take-out 7 of the 14 days they were followed, and that adds up. At that frequency, if the extra calories aren’t burned off by increased physical activity, the scales would tip by 10-15 pounds by the end of one year (that’s a weight gain equivalent to 40-60 sticks of butter).

I wish they had looked at a third group of non-dieting, non-binge eating women, but if you fall into one of these two groups, please don’t be discouraged and don’t give up!

-To the dieters – dieting leads to feelings of deprivation which causes rebound overeating. That’s why (among other reasons) I’m not a fan. Check out my previous post about giving up on diets for good. It’s at the bottom of the August archive: Moderation Isn’t a 4 Letter Word.

-To the binge eaters - at the core, bingeing isn’t really about food, and the cycle can be broken. Please see my previous post Eating Your Feelings in the September archive.

And regardless of which group you fall into if any, click here to find out what it takes to burn off those extra bites with this handy dandy calorie calculator.

P.S. This photo is of a Thai meal I recently enjoyed out with a friend.
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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