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Fried Chicken Oreos

Do you have a particular food you can’t have “just a little bit” of? Some foods are easy to keep eating — not only do they leave you hungry, they may even leave you thinking you want (“need”) more of the same. Candy and chips often have this effect — people will eat as much as is in front of them.

The funny thing about these foods is that they don’t even have to be a personal favorite — they might just tickle something in the brain that likes sweet or salty. And that kind of overeating can leave you feeling frustrated or angry with yourself later.

So ask yourself if you’re really enjoying it. Your brain might surprise you with its honesty — and you might be low on something you really do need. There are lots of suggestions out there that this or that craving is because of some deficiency or another, but the answer is usually simple: people generally feel full or satiated when they eat fiber-rich foods, protein-rich foods, or fats. (Beware, though: fats can be “undermined” by sweet or salty ingredients.)

OK, It’s True, I’m Not Enjoying This — Just Eating It Anyway. Now What?

Switch gears: Have a glass of water, a stick of gum, or even a quick break to brush your teeth. These palate cleansers can help you stop.

Take inventory of what you’ve eaten that day: Chances are good it wasn’t a lot of fresh fruit, vegetables, or protein-rich foods. Try a snack from one of those groups.

Even when we need to eat less food overall, most of us could stand to eat more good stuff — particularly fiber-rich foods like vegetables, beans, or whole grains. And eating some extra protein can help keep you satisfied with less total calories. If you know you’ll be near a danger zone — like a string of fast-food joints or a snack cabinet at the office — pack some good stuff to bring with you.

Image: an Oreo lover photoshopped this packaging idea for a new Oreo flavor. Nabisco says it has no plans to offer it!

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