We are constantly being tempted with food – at home, work, and all points in between. “Every time we see food, we have to decide, ‘Do I want to eat that or not?’ We can say ‘No’ to the candy dish 27 times, but if it’s visible, by the 28th or 29th time, we’re saying ‘Maybe.’ And by the 30th, we’re saying ‘What the heck…I deserve it,” says Brian Wansink, professor of consumer behavior at Cornell University. Dr. Wansink was the executive director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion from 2007 to 2009, and is the author of Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life. The following are some “pearls” Dr. Wansink shared with Nutrition Action Newsletter regarding the eating habits of people…..

BIG SERVINGS – People who were given a big bucket of (stale) popcorn ate 34% more than people who got a smaller bucket.

HEALTH HALO – If a bag of M&M’s or trail mix was labeled “low-fat”, people ate more than if the label didn’t say “low-fat.”

PLATEWARE MANNERS – When people were served a brownie on a Wedgewood china plate, they rated its taste higher than when the brownie was served on a paper plate or napkin.

WHO SETS THE PACE – People ate more when they sat at a table with someone who ate quickly than with someone who ate slowly.

EXERCISE REWARDS – People ate more at dinner – and especially more dessert – after they went on a “scenic walk” than after they went on an (identical) “exercise” walk.

MORE VARIETY, MORE CALORIES – People ate about 40% more if they had a choice of candy that came in six different colors than if the candy came in four colors.

FANCY NAMES – Cafeteria sales jumped by 27% when foods were given descriptive names like “Succulent Italian Seafood Filet” (instead of seafood filet) or “Belgian Black Forest Cake” (instead of “Chocolate Cake”).

While it’s often been said that we buy more at the grocery store when we are hungry, Dr. Wansink’s research found that people don’t buy more at the store – they tend to buy fewer healthy foods. He points out that hunger motivates people to buy more convenient, highly processed foods, rather than buying a chicken and vegetables, to take home and stir-fry…….. Nutrition Action   April 2013




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