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For some people, an all-you-can-eat buffet isn’t a meal, it’s a challenge. But filling plate after plate to get the most for your dollar could compromise your health. “That competitive mentality and going in overly hungry sets you up for overeating and that awful feeling you get 20 minutes after you’re done,” says Dr Lauri Wright, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and chairperson of the department of nutrition and dietetics at the University of North Florida.

Not only can all-you-can-eat buffets derail your diet, but they could also put you at higher risk for getting sick. Almost any food can put you at risk for food-borne illness if it hasn’t been handled correctly, notes Shelley Feist, executive director of the Partnership for Food Safety Education. And it’s tough to tell from eyeballing a buffet if the cream of mushroom soup or the sushi is being kept hot or cold enough.

“The zone between 4 and 60 degrees Celsius is what we call the danger zone because at those temperatures, bacteria love to grow,” Feist says. To minimise your risk, here are some things to avoid next time you hit the buffet line.

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