Is ‘Mindless Eating’ Why Weight Loss Is So Elusive?

Filed under: Review — @ November 6, 2006

Can people really be fooled into eating more food than they want?

Are you ready to go on a diet that you don’t even know you are on? Do you wanna know the secret to cutting down on the amount of calories you consume without even thinking about it? Have the diets you’ve tried felt too difficult to stay on with all their rules and counting? If so, then I’ve got some good news to share with you.

What if I told you the reason why you are fat had nothing to do with calories, carbs, or fat grams, but rather on the power of the human brain to persuade or dissuade you from eating even when you may not be hungry. Would you be interested in hearing more? Sure you would and that’s exactly why Dr. Brian Wansink wrote the book Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think.

As the Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, Dr. Wansink regularly conducts studies looking at human beings when they eat. While that sounds like a job about as exciting as watching paint dry on the wall, in actuality it is really quite fascinating work. You may think your understanding of how much you eat and why you do it are cut and dry, but Dr. Wansink causes you to give your dining habits a second look.

Through his variety of experiments, including several I recently highlighted at my blog, Dr. Wansink has uncovered some amazing behavioral traits regarding food that are absolutely astonishing:

- Did you know that removing the evidence of the actual amount of food you have eaten, such as the shells from nuts, chicken bones, or candy wrappers, subliminally tells your brain that you have eaten about one-third less than you have?

- Did you know that fancy-schmancy sounding menu item at your local upscale restaurant served on really nice dishes fools you into overindulging on it when you would likely eat less of that same piece of food at home?

- Did you know that nearly three-fourths of the food decisions made in most households is in the hands of the person why buys groceries and prepares meals?

- Did you know having an open candy dish in your home or office makes it more likely that you will snack on whatever you put in there even when you are not hungry?

- Did you know you tend to eat more food when there are guests at the table with you than if you ate by yourself or with your spouse?

- Did you know munching while watching an hour of television causes you to eat nearly one-third more food than if the program was only a half hour?

- Did you know there are five different kinds of eaters with varying solutions for breaking their mindless eating habits (check out Appendix B in the back of the book to see if you fit any or all of the categories and how to combat it)?

Click here to read more of my review of Dr. Brian Wansink’s Mindless Eating, including some criticism of his conclusions about how people should be eating and my response to his concerns about low-carb diets.


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