Don’t let this common pre-dinner fare catch you off guard

It may be tempting to dip that piece of bread in olive oil at your favorite Denver or Houston eatery.

While we've documented the health benefits of olive oil as a part of the Mediterranean diet, it's important to note that this substance – like all foods – is best enjoyed in moderation. But, due to its waistline-friendly reputation, Health.com recently noted that olive oil may lull many Denver and Houston restaurant-goers into a false sense of security, especially when it is served in a bowl alongside a pre-meal basket of freshly baked bread.

As the source points out, if you are watching your weight, you may think twice about slathering a slab of butter onto this common – and often complimentary – appetizer. However, would you show the same reluctance about dipping a piece of bread into a dish of olive oil? Probably not.

"It's still all fat and it's calorie-dense, and bread soaks it up like a sponge," Wendy Bazilian, a journalist, researcher, educator and author, told the national news outlet. She explains that some diners – particularly females – may obviously be consuming as much as "75 to 90 percent of [the calories]  most women should have for the whole meal," just by coating two slices of bread a bit too liberally.

So what is the takeaway here? Just that, the next time you stop by for a bite at your favorite eatery, make sure you pay as much attention to your appetizers and amuse-bouches as you do your entree. In this case, rather than an overzealous dunking, consider a light-handed drizzle instead.

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