Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink PhD
I am reading a book about over eating. Because behaviorism fascinates me.
Particularly when it's about how easily humans are influenced - and will swear they aren't.
It's called Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink PhD.
I believe, generally speaking, that some of our obesity problem results from rational choice.
When faced with the choice of swapping a Big Mac for an apple or climbing the stairs instead
of riding, some people buy a larger pair of pants instead.
But I also totally believe in the success of hidden persuaders though many will deny it with their
dying breath. :laugh:
Many diets lack the one special ingredient that could make them work: motivation.
We count calories or fret over carbs, but few of us grapple with the real dynamics behind our dietary habits. Why can the sight of a particular label cause us to forfeit weeks of belt-tightening moderation?
In this illuminating and groundbreaking new book, food psychologist Brian Wansink shows why you may not realize how much you’re eating, what you’re eating–or why you’re even eating at all.
• Does food with a brand name really taste better?
The phrase "mindless eating" refers to the empirical finding that people make nearly 20 times more daily decisions about food than they are aware of (an average of around 250 each day). As a result, they can be easily influenced by small cues around them such as “family and friends, packages and plates, names and numbers, labels and lights, colors and candles, shapes and smells, distractions and distances, cupboards and containers.”
In contrast to a physiological understanding of hunger, Mindless Eating argues that much of one’s hunger is psychologically-determined. People are not well-enough calibrated to know when they are full and even when they are necessarily hungry. As a result, they are subtly and unknowingly influenced by their environment when determining when to eat and how much to eat.
In contrast to viewpoints that are critical of the food industry (see Supersize Me and Fast Food Nation), Mindless Eating emphasizes the most immediate and effective changes that can be made to our obesigenic society are the changes people can make at home.
Although the food industry, government, and even school lunch program has made food convenient and inexpensive, the Nutritional Gatekeeper in the home is still shown to influence an estimated 72% of what a family eats inside and outside the home.
The encouraging premise behind Mindless Eating is that the obesigenic environment that people have set up for themselves in their homes and at work can be reversed. Just as this environment has led many people to slowly gain weight, it can be re-engineered to help them mindlessly lose weight. Consuming 200 fewer calories a day would lead a person to weigh approximately 9 kilograms (20 lbs) less in a year than they otherwise would.
Instead of deprivation dieting, Mindless Eating recommends a person choose three small changes in their environment that would lead them to eat 200-300 fewer calories a day. These changes are best directed toward one the five “diet danger zones” that a person finds most problematic at that time.
In addition to suggesting research-based changes that have been effective in these five areas, Mindless Eating also explains how individualized changes based on food trade-offs and food rules can be useful in helping a person mindlessly eat less, without feeling either psychologically or physiologically deprived.
I just finished this book this afternoon.
I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in not only
the why of overeating - but also the influence of marketing.
The first sentence and the last sentence of this book are,
“The best diet is the one you don’t know you’re on.”
Some principles inspired by Mindless Eating:
• Feed it protein for breakfast. You'll be less hungry later on and end up eating 267 fewer calories during the day.
• Make it climb a flight of stairs. At home, store the most tempting foods way out of reach. For instance, Cornell University food psychologist Brian Wansink, PhD, keeps his favorite soda in a basement fridge. "Half the time I'm too lazy to run down there to get it, so I drink the water in the kitchen."
• Sleep on it. People who don't get their 8 hours of ZZZs experience hormonal fluctuations that increase appetite, report researchers. Learn more about how sleep affects your diet.
• Give it something else to think about. When scientists scanned the brains of people eating different foods, they found that the brain reacts to fat in the mouth in much the same way that it responds to a pleasant aroma. So if you feel a craving coming on, apply your favorite scent.
• Never let it see a heaping plate. The more food that's in front of you, the more you'll eat. So at a restaurant, ask your waiter to pack up half of your meal before serving it to you, then eat the extras for lunch the next day.
• Put it under the lights. You consume fewer calories at a well-lit restaurant table than you do dining in a dark corner. "In the light, you're more self-conscious and worry that other patrons are watching what you eat," explains Wansink.
• Talk it down. Entertaining friends with a great story doesn't give you much time to eat up, so you'll probably still have food on your plate when they're done. Once they're finished, call it quits, too.
• Offer it a seat. If you sit down to snack -- and use utensils and a plate -- you'll eat fewer calories at subsequent meals.
• Satisfy it with soup. Start lunch with about 130 calories worth of vegetable soup and you'll eat 20% fewer calories overall during lunch, say Penn State experts.
• Give it little choice. Packages that contain assorted varieties of cookies, candy, dips, cheese, etc., make you want to try all the flavors. The effect is so powerful, says Wansink, that when people are given 10 colors of M&Ms to munch on, not 7, they eat 30% more!
I own it. I have to admit that I was hungry the whole time I read it. it is helpful and eye opening, but it has not made the kind of life impact that DANDR made even tho Atkins is clearly selling his diet and Mindless Eating points out all the ways we are being sold. I would recommend it.
I'm re-reading it now.
My SO borrowed and read it last week.
He brought up some points that I had forgotten about that are pertinent to us.
So ... I decided to refresh my memory.
.(yes, I think it's that good)
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