Can Nutritionists Control Their Intake of Sweets?

img_0078_2.JPGMany clients come into my office confiding in me that they can’t control their intake of certain foods, often times sweets. Frequently they are embarrassed with their lack of control.  They are seeking my guidance in learning how to control their intake of these foods. While I can give some behavior modification tips, I am not a poster child for controlling intake of sweets!

I have a really difficult time controlling my intake of certain foods,  especially sweets. If they are in my apartment, I will likely polish off the box. One year, a friend gave me a box of really good chocolates for img_0073.JPGChristmas (kind of a weird gift to give a nutritionist… but it was the thought that counts!). A little voice inside me said to immediately give the unopened box to my doorman. The other little voice said – no just have one or two and then give the doorman the box. Well, as you can imagine, once the box was opened, it did not make it out of my apartment (unless you count the empty box being thrown into the garbage). I have just admitted that I have no control over certain foods. End of story.

I was curious as to whether other “food experts” (aka registered dietitians) have the same issues. So I decided to poll the nutritionists Dietitiansat the hospital where I work – New York Presbyterian Hospital in NYC – to see how they would handle a box of chocolates or cookies being in their apartment. These are the women in the photos. I was curious to see whether nutritionists would be able to control their intake of these foods.

Here are some of the responses:

Nutritionists who WOULD have a problem controlling their intake said:
– I would likely polish off the box
– This would be really tough to control, especially if they were
– Initially, I could eat 1-2 a day, but then I would lose control and eat
   most of the box
– The box would be gone in a few days, especially if I were stressed
– I would eat the whole box if it were in my apartment
– I would polish a box of chocolates off right away — that is why I
   never buy them.   (I eat when I am tired and I am tired a lot of the
– I will not be able to control my intake of sweets – that is why I leave
   them out of the house. I eat them only as needed when I’m out of
   the house.
– I can not control my intake of anything
– Can control intake using certain “tactics”: I keep my problem foods
   in the freezer – chocolate, cookies, nuts. You are less likely to eat
   foods from the freezer quickly. This helps me to control my intake
– I would freeze them and eat 1-2 a day
– Can usually control intake, unless very stressed/PMS
– I can generally control my intake of sweets – however if I were
   having a bad day or having PMS, I would have a hard time
   controlling what I eat
– I can definitely control myself most of the times…but it really is
   sometimes depends on the mood… (after a long stressful
   day…hoi…)    Also, some sweets are harder to control than
   others…when it comes to ice cream…now that’s a different story…

Nutritionists who WOULD NOT have a problem controlling their intake said:
– I definitely could have 1-2 a day
– I could have just one little piece a day
– I am not really a sweets person, so I would be able to control my
– In response to your question, I definitely can eat just one or two
   chocolates a day. That’s what I do currently. I don’t feel deprived
   that way and it’s just enough for a daily treat.
– I could eat 1-2 then stop
– I would have 3-4, but not the whole box
– I can control my intake of sweets. I keep boxes of dark chocolate in
   my apartment. My medical condition (IBS) actually helps me  
   control my intake. If I overindulge, “it is not a pretty sight”.
– I hate chocolate and cookies
– I can have just one or two; a bar of chocolate lasts me about 5 days
   to one week 🙂 I’m actually never tempted to eat the whole box/bar,
   it would make me sick.

So as you can see, we nutritionists are human too! Just because we know we “should” consume sweets in moderation, doesn’t mean that we always do it. Morale of the story, if you have a problem controlling your intake of certain foods, you are not alone! Just come up with a plan as to how you will deal with them. Check out my post on trigger foods to see more suggestions.


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I especially love problem-solving, whether it’s helping women defeat issues plaguing them for years, helping a busy executive find practical ways to get heart healthy, or providing tips to help you reverse diabetes. That’s why I’m on a constant quest to expand my knowledge by staying on top of the latest research.

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