Health & Wellness

Fool your brain into fewer Thanksgiving calories: Here's how

Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time to indulge — but what if there were a way to enjoy all your favorite foods yet consume a lot fewer calories?

Experts insist it can be done, so TODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen and the Rossen Reports team threw an early holiday feast for the Clendenny family to put them to the test. They told the Clendennys they were doing a general story about Thanksgiving — but not that they were secretly keeping track of everything they ate with the help of nutritionist Keri Glassman.

The family was split into two groups. One group had all the food within easy reach on the table where they sat, but the second group had to serve themselves from a buffet table, with several differences:

  • The healthy foods such as green vegetables and salad were placed as the first course on the second group's buffet table. The first group piled carbs and fatty foods onto their plates, but the second group, having gotten full on healthy foods, took less from the main course of meats and starches.
  • The first group had only white wine on their table; the second group had only red wine on the buffet table. "When you pour white wine you often pour more because there is no contrast with the glass," Glassman explained. "So if you want to cut back this Thanksgiving, go for the red over the white."
  • The first group ate from white plates; the second group from blue plates. "Blue is traditionally an unappetizing color," Glassman said.

When the meal was over, Rossen revealed how many calories each group had consumed. The first group had consumed 14,632 calories; the second group, the buffet group, only 9,218. The first group ate 59 percent more food than the buffet group. In addition, the first group drank almost six bottles of wine, while the buffet group had less than two bottles of wine.

Glassman said that if you use these tricks year-round, you could lose several pounds a month, adding up to serious weight loss over the course of a year.

To suggest a topic for an upcoming investigation, visit the Rossen Reports Facebook page.

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