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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink

Mindless Eating is a great book. In very broad terms, it's a diet book. Practically speaking, it's a lifestyle change. It's not about depriving yourself of any one category of food, or about cutting hundreds of calories out of your diet. It's a slow weight loss, perhaps 10 or 12 pounds a year. It's about eating very slightly less every time you eat.

The author did tons of research and experiements about how people eat, and time after time they eat more than they want because of external clues like packaging. For example, he says that most of the reason why people eat as much as they do is that they rely on visual cues, rather than "do they still feel hungry?". We all know this- you don't have to finish everything on your plate- but he takes it further, and did tons of studies to back it up. If you start with a smaller plate, you'll fill it to the same proportion as the big one but obviously the smaller plate has less food. If you artifically create a serving size out of something you'll eat exactly that serving. So- snack size bag of m&ms= 1 serving. Regular size bag of m&ms =1 serving. 1/2lb bag of m&ms= 1 serving. You'll keep eating without thinking. Same for movie theater popcorn. His studies showed that people ate roughly the same percentage of the container at the theater, but were always just as content with what they ate. So why not buy the small size?

It was a very interesting and enlightening look at food and eating, I highly recommend it.

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