Hidden reasons for your overeating

Story highlights

  • Branding and "skinny" labels may cause people to eat more of something
  • Snacking as a meal replacement can result in the same amount of weight gain
Cynthia Sass is a registered dietitian and Health's contributing nutrition editor. She privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance, and is the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers NHL team and the New York Yankees MLB team.

Overeating is tricky. First, you may not even realize you're doing it. Second, you may not know why you're eating too much, because some triggers are downright counterintuitive. Here are four sneaky reasons you may be taking in too many surplus calories, and what you can do to stop it.

Fitness food marketing

I think we all know that simply eating a food won't make us more fit, but a recent study published in the Journal of Marketing Research found that when foods are fitness-branded, some of us may unknowingly eat more and exercise less.
    In the Penn State study "restrained" eaters (people constantly concerned about their weight) were given identical snacks, one labeled "Trail Mix" and the other labeled "Fitness," which had a picture of running shoes on the packaging.
    The study volunteers were asked to