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Hey everyone, it's Karen here! Since we are talking about hunger and fullness this week, I thought you'd get a chuckle out of this video ;)  I suspect I am not alone in feeling like "there is always room for dessert!"  But why is that, you may wonder? The answer may be variety. Let me explain...

In addition to physical fullness, one reason we stop eating a meal is because we're tired of the food - we've optimized the stimulation and enjoyment we're going to get out of it. But if a new flavor, smell or even texture is introduced, we suddenly become interested in eating again. This phenomenon is called sensory-specific satiety. It's the experience of losing interest in a certain food because you have eaten it repeatedly, while a "new" food item becomes more appealing. But this sensation doesn't just happen with dessert - it can occur with any type of food. Maybe you eat a bowl of soup and then want something crunchy afterwards because you are tired of the mushy texture of the soup. Or maybe you are at a buffet or potluck and eat past comfortable fullness because there are so many different foods you want to taste that you don't usually have. And that brings us to the downside of sensory-specific satiety - it can prompt us to eat more than we are physically hungry for. 

So what do we do? First, be sure to regularly incorporate all the foods that you love (healthy or not) into your diet. When you know that you have permission to eat whatever foods you like at any time, the allure and excitement of them diminishes. You won't be as likely to use your access to a variety of foods as an excuse to eat past the point of fullness. Second, keep in mind that it only takes a few bites of a food to fulfill our desire for the sensory aspects of that food (taste, texture, smell). So if you do decide that you "have room for dessert," be sure to eat it slowly, savor it and pay attention to the pleasure you are getting from it with each bite!