Katherine’s Diet Tip #3: Eat Salmon to Lose Weight!

Photo by California Strawberry Commission

Photo by California Strawberry Commission

Recent studies show that omega-3 fatty acids can reduce body weight gain and chronic inflammation through the improvement of the bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract (the microbiota).

The authors of this new study published in the International Journal of Obesity found feeding your child salmon may prevent obesity later in life, too. But how? The authors theorize the reason is that these increased tissue levels of omega-3 fatty acids [found in abundance in salmon, herring, anchovies and sardines], may prevent antibiotic-induced alteration in gut microbiota in children, and obesity later in life.

“Elevated tissue levels of omega-3 fatty acids significantly reduce body weight gain and the severity of insulin resistance, fatty liver and dyslipidemia [high cholesterol] resulting from early life exposure to ezithromycin [an antibiotic],” said the authors.

These results makes sense to me for at least two reasons:

It’s already been established that babies who are breast fed – and breast milk is loaded with probiotics – are less likely to be overweight later in life. Also, probiotics (for instance, found in yogurt) improve the health of the microbiota. So, apparently, an improvement in the microbiota is one reason why probiotics may help manage weight in children through their lifespan. This study showed that probiotics can help undo the harm to the gastrointestinal tract caused by early antibiotic use. Learn more about probiotics and the microbiota

Omega-3 fatty acids are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. They have been hailed for decreasing heart disease risk, cancer risk, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s Disease -and now – increase of healthy gut bacteria and obesity.  Learn more about omega-3 fatty acids

So, eat your salmon – or any fatty fish – to lose weight! The American Heart Association recommends 12 ounces per week.

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Katherine’s Diet Tip #2: Download Your Calories!

 

Porridge with berries (1)

What’s one of the most effective, enjoyable, and simple changes – for weight loss and health – you can make in your eating? Simple: Add breakfast to your day. Katherine explains to Washingtonian Magazine

Also, CNN spoke with Katherine about breakfast. Here’s a part of that conversation.

What exactly is it about breakfast that makes it so beneficial? And are all are breakfasts created equal? A study from Pediatrics looked at 2,000 teenagers and found that teens who ate breakfast weighed less, exercised more and ate healthier food than their classmates who didn’t eat breakfast. More studies have confirmed this link with breakfast and adults, too.

CNN: Explain the real benefits of eating breakfast. In your experience, have you seen among your patients the same results this study showed: that people who aren’t eating breakfast actually weigh more? How is that?

Tallmadge: In one study, people who ate more in the beginning [of] the day ate fewer overall. As soon as you start eating, you start raising your metabolism; your whole body is burning calories earlier in the day. Helps control your appetite. People who skip breakfast — victims of vending machines. The pickers — they eat overall more calories, tend to eat more. In another study, people who ate larger breakfasts and lunches, with lighter dinners, were more likely to manage their weight.

CNN: What about for the people who say, “I just don’t have time to eat breakfast”? What are your tips?

Tallmadge: I know we’re all busy, but everyone has to make time to eat breakfast. In Diet Simple I have tons of ways people can fit breakfast into a busy day!

Scientific studies confirm breakfast eaters get more nutrients for the whole day, are more likely to lose and maintain healthy weights, have more energy, concentrate better, and eat fewer overall calories during the day.

I have great ideas for easy and delicious breakfasts in Diet Simple. My favorite breakfast? a warm bowl of oatmeal cooked in milk with fruit and nuts… even a peanut butter sandwich with yogurt and fruit, or eggs on whole grain toast with spicy chicken sausage… Do you like lox on a whole grain bagel? How about whole grain blueberry pecan pancakes? All excellent choices… Bon Appetit!

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Katherine’s Diet Tip #1: Minesweep for Calorie Bombs!

Cookies stacked

Are you ready for summer? I mean, is your body ready … to shed the heavy coats and sweaters, to wear lighter weight, more form-fitting clothes? If not, or if you would just like to learn some good tips, follow me here every Monday with proven strategies to lose weight, improve your health or just increase your knowledge about nutrition. Through early summer, we’ll be losing weight together, so you’ll be ready for the warmer days to come!

Losing weight is not about discipline or will power. It’s about controlling your environment. Period.

We all have different strengths and weaknesses which must be considered when cutting calories or making any other healthful lifestyle changes. Let’s talk about me, Katherine Tallmadge. One of my main weaknesses is chocolate. I can’t stop with one piece. That’s simply not “normal” for me. I’ll occansionally indulge my passion with a small piece of dark chocolate, but I’ve learned never to bring home a full box of chocolate-covered caramels. It will be gone in a day or two, max.

I’m no better with chips. I have no self-control, and I know it. So I’ll occasionally buy a 1-ounce bag. But a big bag? Never!

One of my strengths (finally, something positive!) is that I love fruit. I stock up on cut-up fruit so I always have it at my fingertips.

You have to recognize your own “mines.” I advise everyone to minesweep the kitchen for those calorie bombs that can explode your weight. Have a hard time resisting ice cream? Then get rid of the half gallon. Candy bar pitfall? Toss out the leftovers from the Easter season.

Minesweeping your kitchen periodically to get rid of things you shouldn’t have in the house in the first place will save a tremendous amount of calories over time. Add the things that you like and should be eating, and you’ll do even better! Be good to yourself and make your negative behaviors hard and your good behaviors easy.

If just one candy bar is replaced by an apple every day, you’ll save 175 calories. That adds up to about 18 pounds lost in one year!

* Excerpted from “Diet Simple: 195 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits & Inspirations” (LifeLine Press) by Katherine Tallmadge

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Prenatal Fruit Intake Boosts Cognition in Infants + Springtime Strawberry Salad

Photo by Swedish Embassy

Photo by Swedish Embassy

Some of the most interesting nutrition studies I’ve read have to do with the prenatal diet and subsequent effects in children. The subject is vast and the outcomes amazing. Did you know that when pregnant moms drink high amounts of carrot juice during pregnancy, their toddlers are more likely to choose carrots over other vegetables? Or, that the more varied a pregnant mom’s diet, the more her child will choose and enjoy a wider variety of foods? All proven by science!

So it’s no surprise that a new study published in The Lancet found that prenatal fruit consumption is correlated with superior cognition in the mothers’ one-year-old infants – though there was no effect if fruit was only fed to the child during the year after birth. So, what may explain this finding?

Evolution may explain, in part, this advantage of fruit-eating. During the neolithic (stone age) period about 12,000 years ago and for thousands of years thereafter, we subsisted mainly on fruits and vegetables; which comprised about 65% of our calories, according to S. Boyd Eaton, from the department of Anthropology at Emory University in an interview and in his essay, “Evolution, Diet and Health.” That may mean that brain development is still dependent on the same high level of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other positive nutrients that kind of diet would provide. And this could help explain why, even today, a high fruit diet is correlated with so many positive health benefits: reduced incidence of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, eye disease, and other conditions. Keep in mind, too, that the health-giving Mediterranean Diet had 12 to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, and it’s known as one of the healthiest diets on the planet.

Fruit is so easy to eat every day, and the local fruit season is just beginning to get exciting. I was most fortunate to receive one of the most delicious dishes I’ve ever eaten this weekend when my friend and neighbor, Mike Gardner, brought me his salad:

Mike Gardner’s Springtime Strawberry and Goat Cheese Salad
This is a great salad for a hot day.  Let the strawberries sit long enough to absorb the balsamic vinegar flavor while you take time to catch up with friends and enjoy the summer day.
Ingredients
For the strawberries:
1 pint of ripe strawberries, if they are large, cut them in half
1/2-3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
For the salad:
Baby spinach
Baby arugula
Goat cheese crumbles
1 small red onion, sliced
For the dressing:
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Directions
Prepare the strawberries by placing them into a bowl and add the vinegar.  Let them sit for a while to absorb the flavor of the vinegar- an hour or better.  This can be done at room temperature.
In a separate bowl. make the dressing by combining the vinegar, dijon mustard, salt and pepper.  Slowly stream in the olive oil, tasting for flavor balance.  If necessary, add additional mustard to taste.
When ready to serve, combine equal parts of baby spinach and arugula.  Add in the sliced red onion, and lightly toss the salad with a small amount of dressing, adding more as necessary slowly dressing the salad as to not drench it all at once.  Add the goat cheese crumbles.  Lastly, plate the salad onto a chilled serving plate.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the strawberries from the vinegar and place them on top of the greens.  Finally, top with fresh ground pepper and serve.

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Surprisingly, Only Certain Fruits & Vegetables May Cause Weight Loss

Apples by USAPPLE.ORG

For the first time, scientists have discovered certain fruits and vegetables – and not others – are associated with preventing weight gain over the course of many years regardless of calories, according to a recent Harvard study published in the British Medical Journal. These fruits and vegetables contain a class of phytonutrients called flavonoids, a plant compound with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, among other benefits.

“The particular fruits and vegetables associated with less weight gain are rich sources of several flavonoid subclasses, particularly flavonols, anthocyanins, and flavones. Animal models and short term human studies provide evidence for underlying mechanisms that relate flavonoids to weight: several flavonoid subclasses have been shown to decrease calorie intake, increase blood sugar uptake in muscle in humans, and decrease blood sugar uptake in fat tissue in test tube studies. Other studies, predominantly focusing on green tea, a rich source of the flavan-3-ol subclass of flavonoids, provide evidence to suggest that flavonoids may decrease fat absorption, increase energy expenditure, and inhibit body fat synthesis,” according to the study.

In the study, anthocyaninins, the blue pigment in many fruits and vegetables, were mainly found in blueberries and strawberries, among others. Flavan-3-ols were mainly from tea, apples, pears, and peppers.

So, while it’s important for your health and weight management to eat at least 5 cups of fruits and vegetables daily, you may want to consider adding these very specific fruits and vegetables to your routine. “An Apple A Day…”

Read more about tea’s weight loss benefits…

Yogurt has also been found to be associated with lower body fat, and increased muscle mass. Find out more…

Discover some amazing benefits of berries…

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Can Daily Grape Juice Reduce Stress?

Food Photo- Grape Bunch

Concord Grapes

Can anything relieve stress in today’s high stress world? This is an important question to answer as studies show high stress can reduce your ability to think straight and increase your blood pressure; conditions which could be dangerous in certain complex, every-day tasks, such as driving. A University of Leeds study of one of the most harried population groups – working moms – found just 12 ounces of concord grape juice daily improved their ability to think by increasing their spatial memory in a driving performance test. And the effect lasted over time.

Concord grapes are high in a class of phytochemicals (beneficial plant chemicals) called polyphenols, antioxidants which are concentrated in many fruits, some vegetables and in wine, tea and cocoa. They protect against heart disease by reducing blood clot formation. They also prevent cellular and organ damage caused by oxygen radicals, molecules which are believed to be a primary cause of many diseases including cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Certain polyphenols, such as anthocyanins, which give grapes and blueberries their purple pigment, have been found to reverse both physical and mental deficits in aging rats. Preliminary studies in humans, including this study, are showing similar promising results.

Learn more about the health benefits of concord grapes, concord grape juice and wine…

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Kale! Kale! Everywhere!

Leafy greens are everywhere this time of year! (photo by wikipedia.org)

Leafy greens are everywhere this time of year! (photo by wikipedia.org)

Kale and Spinach Gratin with Garlic, Rosemary, and Thyme
(excerpted from Diet Simple Farm to Table Recipes)

Serves 6

1 pound Kale, cleaned and stems removed
2 pounds Spinach, cleaned and stems removed
1 Tablespoon Olive or Canola Oil
1 Large Garlic Clove, minced
2 teaspoons fresh Rosemary, chopped (or 1 tsp dry)
1 teaspoon fresh Thyme leaves, chopped (or ½ tsp dry)
1 recipe Olive Oil Bechamel Sauce (see recipe)
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste
¼ Cup Parmesan or Gruyere Cheese, freshly grated

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Wash the Kale and Spinach and remove the tough stems. Chop roughly. Heat the oil in a large iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook until it just begins to color. Add the greens, the rosemary, and thyme to the pan, and let cook a couple of more minutes while stirring until the greens are wilted.

Stir the Bechamel sauce into the greens. Add salt and pepper. Pour into an oiled 2-quart soufflé or heat resistant glass dish and sprinkle the cheese on top. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the top is just beginning to brown. 

Olive Oil Bechamel Sauce

This is a classic French white sauce, but using healthy olive oil instead of butter.

Makes 2.5 cups

3 Cups 1% Milk
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Flour
Salt and Ground Pepper to taste
Pinch of grated nutmeg (optional)

Simmer the milk in a saucepan on medium-low heat. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet. Add a bit of flour, and when it sizzles, add the rest. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon or whisk over medium heat. Do not brown. Whisk in the hot milk. Return the mixture to the heat, stirring until the sauce thickens. Reduce to low making sure it does not burn. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.

Deep Green Leafy Vegetables have the highest antioxidant content of all vegetables. High in fiber, they are rich in minerals, B-vitamins, beta-carotene, and lutein, a compound which may help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (the leading cause of preventable blindness) and other eye diseases such as cataracts. Absorption of carotenoids, such as lutein, in your body is increased by cooking and by the presence of fat (so cook in a little healthy olive or canola oil!).

 

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New Study: The Glycemic Index of Foods Varies From Person to Person

glycemic index

The “Glycemic Index” may not be so cut-and-dry. What’s healthy for other people may not be healthy for you!

We all have friends who, no matter what they eat, stay skinny. But the opposite is more common: most of us are incredibly frustrated because, it seems, no matter how hard we try, we just cannot lose weight. Now we may understand at least one reason why.

A study published in the journal, Cell, in November, analyzed people’s glycemic (blood glucose) response, or blood sugar’s rise and fall after a meal. Controlling blood sugar is important for preventing and controlling diabetes, maintaining a healthy weight, and general all-around health. What you eat affects your blood sugar, insulin, and health levels, so a healthy diet containing mostly low glycemic index foods has been thought to be one way to control your health.

Some of the study’s results were typical and expected; glucose levels correlated with weight and age. The more overweight or older we are, the higher our blood sugar rises after meals – that is, we become more diabetic-like.

But the scientists also found important differences between individuals. First, and this was predictable: if the same person ate the same meal at different times, their blood sugar level responses remained relatively the same. But – and this was the unpredictable result of the study – different people eating the same meal at the same time produced highly variable results.

Researchers believe the differences might be explained by the quality of the gut microbiome, the understanding of which may revolutionize nutrition and health. It turns out that the bacterial organisms in the digestive tract — about 100 million of them (10 times the number of human cells), collectively called the microbiome — are akin to a fully functioning organ, and can have a positive or negative effect on human health. For instance, a healthy microbiome improves insulin sensitivity – reducing your chances of getting diabetes – and enhances your ability to lose body fat.

This  – the quality of your microbiome, for instance – calls into question things like the glycemic index (GI), which assigns a food’s value based on peoples’ average glycemic response to a food. That’s because, if each person’s blood sugar responds differently at different times with different foods, then the GI index would be incorrect for people with different-than-average blood sugar responses, even for foods generally believed to be healthy.

There is some good news, though! The researchers used the data to create an algorithm that predicted the glycemic response of the participants. When they used this data to tailor diets for people, they saw improved blood sugar responses. These findings could be used to develop personalized and individual diets that don’t rely on averages. This just may crack the case for those having difficulty getting fit.

This is why I find it so important to PERSONALIZE your diet. One size doesn’t fit all!

glycemic Index graph and foods

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Supplement Manufacturers Sued and Arrested for False Claims

The United States Department of Justice brings criminal charges against popular supplement manufacturer

The United States Department of Justice brings criminal charges against popular supplement manufacturers

There are a LOT of dietary supplements on the market. They all make lots of claims about what they can do for your body and health – many in particular tend to trumpet their ingredients, especially if they’re “all natural.”

Well, the Department of Justice thinks we can’t trust what the supplements tell us. DOJ brought civil and criminal actions against 117 – yes, you read that correctly, 117 – individuals and entities. Of those, 89 have so far been the subject of cases.

Some are accused of mislabeling because the product has ingredients not listed on the label. Others are charged with making claims about what the supplement can do without adequate supporting scientific evidence. An Assistant Attorney with DOJ said they brought these actions “so consumers know the serious health risks of untested products.”

One particularly bad case is USPlabs LLC, which made both workout and weight loss supplements. DOJ alleges that USPlabs used synthetic stimulants instead of natural plant extracts that they advertised. Further, USPlabs is charged with knowing that one supplement, OxyElite Pro, might cause liver toxicity and secretly selling OxyElite despite telling the FDA it would stop. Because of this, 6 employees have been arrested, and company assets have been seized.

You can read more information about UPSlabs and other companies in their press release. But use this as a warning, and be careful what supplements you buy! You should always do your research on supplements before you add them to your routine – talk to a health professional if you can! At the very least, though, be glad that someone is working toward your best interest.

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Just Say No! Handling Holiday Food Pushers & Proselytizers

Just Say NO!

Just Say NO!

One of my clients, who came to me to lose about thirty pounds, had a real problem. He loves to eat and he loves to please people. In fact, he said pleasing people is the main reason he overeats. This tendency becomes especially troublesome over the holidays when friends, family and colleagues invite him for meals. My kind client literally cannot say no to anything.

As a result, he says holidays are a time of joy, but also frustration, because his need to be polite is in stark conflict with his goal of trimming down. Many of us can appreciate his dilemma. Holiday delicacies can be difficult to navigate, especially if you’re trying to avoid gaining a pound per week from Thanksgiving to the New Year. And that can bring out the best and the worst in people, hosts and guests alike.

We all know hosts who aren’t satisfied until they convince us, beg us, to eat more, more, more. Their misguided entreaties are hard to resist, if only because we want to be polite.

To be fair, food pushers aren’t bad people at heart. Your mom, your spouse, your friends – they just want to please you. They’re people who think they have your best interests at heart and know more about what and how much food (and drink) you should be consuming than you do. It seems these people aren’t happy until they’ve stuffed you as if you’d just ended a hunger strike.

My clients and I have tried various tactics through the years, most of them utter failures. For instance, I’ve found the worst thing you can say to a food pusher is, “No thanks, I’m on a diet”… or “Thanks, I’m watching it.”

You might as well say, “Talk me into it!” Your excuse is giving the food pusher a double signal – that you really want it, but have to refuse. It’s also insulting, as though you’re saying the food isn’t good enough for your refined tastes. And, finally, it may bring up guilty feelings in the pusher, that they should be “watching it” too. All of which challenge the pusher to seduce you.

No excuse seemed to work as I tried to fight back the food pushers’ advances, including explaining that I wasn’t hungry. I even went through a phase of telling people I’m allergic to this or that. Sadly, that didn’t work, either.

I didn’t start sensing positive results from my refusals until I learned the most basic rule of all: never give excuses. And I’m delighted to say that one of the foremost authorities on etiquette told me that this approach is both appropriate and wise.

“The best answer is a simple but firm ‘No thank you,’” declared Judith Martin, syndicated columnist who writes as Miss Manners. “Once you give an excuse, you open yourself to argument.”

Miss Manners also offered clear advice in her column to food pushers, and their “endless patter of coercion – ‘Oh, come on, one won’t hurt you, I made this especially for you, it doesn’t have any calories, you’re too thin anyway, it’s good for you, you’re not going to make me eat leftovers tomorrow.’ Miss Manners asks them to cut it out.”

“To offer and provide food is lovely, but to badger people into eating it isn’t pleasant,” Martin told me. “Politeness consists of offering food and drink without cajoling or embarrassing people into taking it.”

But families may present a more complex and challenging case. I somehow doubt my family would have heeded Miss Manners’ advice when I was growing up. I was so hounded to eat more, more, more! It seemed almost every dinner became a power struggle, even though I kept asserting that I was simply not hungry. The holidays were the worst. With all that food around, what I was eating seemed impossibly meager to my family.

Scientists have now concluded that pushing food on children is a big mistake. It ruins their ability to self-regulate food intake based on their natural hunger signals. Infants know naturally when to eat and when to stop. But, by around age four or five, if children are pushed or rewarded to eat more than they naturally want, they’ll start overeating regularly.

When I became an adult, I again tried to assert myself, but to no avail. During visits to my grandparents in Sweden, for instance, every day I felt overstuffed from too many fattening (and, yes, delicious) Swedish meatballs, cheeses and cakes. Inevitably with each visit, I came home several pounds heavier. While “no thank you” was fine for hosts, I had to use a different tactic with my family. They just didn’t take “no” for an answer!

I decided the solution was to take a more positive approach. There was no changing the fact that my family wanted to please me with food. So I decided I’d drop subtle hints and compliments to guide them into serving me food that wasn’t going to make me look and feel like a Swedish meatball.

This technique of continued positive reinforcement took several years (in psychology, it’s called “shaping”), but it eventually worked beautifully. When they served seafood, salads, fruits – food I wanted more of – I complimented lavishly. “Sweden has the best fish in the world!” “I just love your salads!” (which was all true, by the way). You get the idea. Over time, whenever I’d visit, they’d lavish me with what they learned that I especially loved: seafood, salads and fruits. (Yes, I also loved the fattening stuff, but that was easily obtained and I wanted to limit my indulgences without announcing it).

The same technique can work with your coworkers, friends and family, and it doesn’t have to take years. At Thanksgiving or over the holidays, instead of focusing on what you don’t want or can’t have, and using turn-off words such as “healthy” or “diet,” simply compliment your hosts and stay positive so they’ll know what pleases you. Instead of, “Oh, I can’t have that,” when offered the 1600 calorie prime rib, say: “I’m really in the mood for a crunchy, delicious salad!” Instead of saying: “fried calamari is so fattening,” say: “Steamed shrimp sounds yummy!” Instead of: “I can’t have dessert, I’m watching it,” say: “The meal was so satisfying, I can’t have another bite!” or “I’m really craving fresh raspberries!”

My client was thrilled when he tried this tactic with his family and friends, and has been successfully losing weight ever since. He was surprised at how a simple compliment could stop food pushers in their tracks and is looking forward to using the techniques over the holidays.

Even Miss Manners agrees that using simple compliments is okay as long as you don’t go into too much detail. In the end, no food pusher can resist a happy guest.

Of course, as a guest, you have obligations too. While issuing compliments and saying “no thank you” is perfectly acceptable, forcing your likes, dislikes and opinions about food on the host or other guests can be downright unappetizing.

Today, it seems almost impossible to escape people on this diet or that, freely espousing their strident views and suspect theories. My clients regularly complain that their guests expect them to cater to their particular dietary requirements – no carbohydrates, no fat, no white flour, no sugar, ad nauseum. While it may be fine to be following a diet, expecting the host to be a short order cook is unfair. And discussing dietary views at the table is a no-no. It can make people feel uncomfortable, guilty, and even angry. Today, food is political. It’s also very personal. Everyone has their own strongly held views.

“This attitude that other people haven’t seen the light and you have to make them see the light makes the experience of eating unpleasant,” says Martin. “Cooking has improved enormously over the decades, but the experience of eating has gone downhill because people are so self righteous and willing to boss other people around.”

What I’ve come to realize is that when we visit family or friends for holiday parties or meals, there is a joint obligation at work, a sort of unspoken agreement. We should visit friends and loved ones with a generous spirit, grateful for the meal provided. We’re there to have fun and enjoy. On the other hand, hosts have an obligation not to force their hospitality on guests, compelling them to eat more than they wish. It’s not polite, is counter-productive and feels uncomfortable to notice or comment on what or how much a person is eating.

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