Researchers gave students at two colleges tubes of Lay’s Stackable potato chips to munch on while they watched a movie. While half the students got tubes of regular chips, the other half ate out of tubes with a red (tomato-basil flavored) chip inserted randomly between the  regular chips. “Students who ate from tubes with the red chip dividers cut their consumption by more than 50%,” says co-author Brian Wansink of Cornell University. “That means that they consumed about 250 fewer calories.” Wansink believes the red chip dividers allowed students to be much better at estimating how many chips they ate.  He wrote the book Mindless Eating, and believes there are all sorts of understated signals that influence how much we eat.  He suggests repackaging food into small containers, bowls or baggies, as we tend to eat more from larger plates and bowls.  We are also inclined to consume more food when it is visible, and within reach.  Wansink adds, “Don’t say ‘Now that I know, it won’t influence me.’  Set up your environment so that you mindlessly eat less.”    Nutrition Action   June 2012

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