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January 26, 2018
Q. How is it that folks can devour, say, a bag of potato chips without noticing the calories they're eating, but the same can't be said for an apple?
A. It's all too familiar. You sit down with a can of Pringles potato chips and the next thing you know, you've eaten all five servings worth, at 750 calories, which is to say, “about one and a half times the calories of a Big Mac,” writes Dan Lewis on his website nowiknow.com. (A medium-sized apple, by the way, has about 85 calories.) Welcome to the magic of something called “vanishing caloric density.” When food scientist Steve Witherly studied why we like salty snacks and other junk food so much, he eventually focused on the one reason among many that stood out to him: these foods dissolve easily when they enter our mouths. With vanishing caloric density, “If something melts down quickly, your brain thinks that there are no calories in it … you can just keep eating it forever.”
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