Entries in Mindless Eating (2)


Are You a Mindless Eater?

Todd Warnock/Lifesize/Thinkstock(ITHACA, N.Y.) -- When it comes to eating, your eyes are truly bigger than your stomach, according to new study from Cornell University.

Brian Wansink, a food psychologist at the university, told WebMD that many people are victims of what he calls "mindless eating," or subconscious eating habits that can cause weight gain.  These habits include eating off large plates which, the study finds, results in more food consumption.

For instance, in one test the researchers conducted of 168 moviegoers, they found that the participants ate 34 to 45 percent more popcorn if it was served in a larger bucket as opposed to a regular container, regardless of whether the popcorn was fresh or stale.

Another test, WebMD reports, found that people poured 37 percent more liquid into shorter and wider glasses compared to their taller and skinnier counterparts.

These associations between consumption and the size of dinnerware were also evident in a survey that compared the eating habits of the French and Americans.

Wansink told WebMD, "We asked 150 Parisians how they knew they were through with dinner and they said, 'When we're full.'  When we asked 150 Chicagoans the same question, they said, 'When the plate is empty.'"

One way to stave off mindless eating, Wansink suggests, is to eat off smaller plates.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'Mindless Eating' Suggests Eyes are Bigger than Stomach

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(ITHACA, N.Y.) -- Loading your plate with more food than you can possibly eat can suggest that the eyes are sometimes larger than the stomach, so the saying goes.

But chances are you'll be able to wipe that plate clean without even realizing it.

The phenomenon is called mindless eating, coined by psychologist and Cornell University consumer behavior professor Brian Wansink, whose research suggests that our eyes, rather than our stomachs, really do dictate how much we end up eating.

In Wansink's experiment, one group of participants ate from a "bottomless bowl," one that was mechanically refilled from the bottom unknowing to the participant. The second group ate from a regular bowl of food that was not refilled once finished.

Those who ate out of the "bottomless bowls," ate 73 percent more before claiming to be full than those who ate from bowls that emptied.

Many gauge their level of fullness by an empty plate, rather than a full stomach, said Wansink, author of the book, "Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think." The more they saw, the more they ate. Wansink suggests that this type of mindless eating contributes to unhealthier eating habits and unnecessary weight gain.

In 2007, Wansink's work earned him the Ig Nobel prize, a humorous spinoff of the Nobel Prize.

Since plate size can influence how much a person eats, Wansink recommends using salad plates instead of dinner plates for any meal. Wansink also recommends keeping unhealthy foods out of immediate view, and eating in a dining room rather than in front of the TV, which can help you lose track of how much you've eaten.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio