TFS Wednesday: It’s All in Your Mind, or Not

“Mindless Eating” by Brian Wansink, PhD.,  is one of the few ‘diet’ books that I would recommend; and I do recommend it, to everyone.  Because it really isn’t a book about which foods to eat when in order to reach some food nirvana, thus producing a weight nirvana.  

Two Covers for the same book.


“Mindless Eating” is about the psychology and sociology of eating.  It is about all the factors that go into influencing how much we eat, what we eat and most importantly, how satisfied we are with our food.  Overeating is often the result of under satisfaction with our food.

Dr. Wansink is a professor at Cornell University where he directs the Cornell Food and Brand Lab.  He studies food (what a dream job!).  In this lab they have conducted surprising and fun studies about the way we eat.  For example, they created a soup bowl for a study that had a hidden tube in the bottom of the bowl.  As the subjects were eating soup, the bowl was very slowly refilling so that it never emptied.  The researchers questioned the soup eaters about when they felt full.  For most, it took a long time.  They massively over-ate, because they were using their eyes as cues to when they should be full and finished eating.

By using the lab they can control so many elements:  lighting, air temperature, plate size, presentation of food (making it pretty), serving utensil size, names of food, etc.

The findings are presented in the book in a way that is easy to read and fascinating.  It can truly change the way you eat, even if you don’t change what you eat.  Whether your goal is weight loss or just better eating habits, the insights from this book can help you see your blind spots (and it is also makes for great cocktail party conversation!)  

Check your local library, mine has a copy that I’ll be picking up later today.  I first read it a few years ago, and in researching for this post, I realized how much I had forgotten.  It merits a reread.  It is also available electronically (Kindle) and there is a website:  mindlesseating.org with videos and resources.  

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