The link between mindless eating, overeating and weight gain

If you still haven’t checked out Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink, I highly recommend it.

Brian and his team are ingenious at finding ways to demonstrate how not paying attention to what we are eating gets us into trouble with overeating and weight gain.

In a recent study they examined how aware we are of the food decisions we make. They found that people underestimate the number of food related decisions they make each day by an average of over 221 decisions! Food decisions involve such things as what we eat, how much we eat, even how long we continue to eat. They also involve the conscious decision not to eat or overeat. Think about this. If we don’t even realize we are making a decision, how proactive are we likely to be in the food and eating decisions we are making?

In another study, 192 volunteers were given larger size containers, bowls and plates from which to eat. On average, 73% of those who got these larger containers believed they ate as much as they normally would. In actuality, they ate 31% more than individuals who were eating from regular sized containers. To top it off, when asked why they ate more, only 4% believed it was due to the environmental cue—the larger containers.

In a world where portion sizes and restaurant servings just keep getting larger and larger, it is so important to stay conscious of what we are eating, how hungry or full we are feeling, and what our bodies need.

Take good care,


If you’d like to read it for yourself, here’s the study: “Mindless Eating: The 200 Daily Decisions We Unknowingly Make,” Brian Wansink and Jeffrey Sobal, Environment and Behavior (2007), 39:1, 106-123.

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