Sunday, December 26, 2010

Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink

How cool would it be to work at a food psychology lab where you could perform experiments like making people eat soup out of bowls that keep refilling themselves? This and a host of other eye-opening experiments actually happened at the Cornell Food and Brand lab in which Brian Wansink, PhD works.

Wansink explores how details like packaging, plate size, lighting, labeling, and a host of other things affect our food choices. He details a lot of interesting and funny experiments performed at his lab, and explains how people mindlessly eat and make food choices they aren't even aware of every day.

What I like most about this book is that it has some real simple and practical tips you can start using right away to change your food habits. It also has a great chapter on kids and eating including some creative tips on how to get kids to eat vegetables!

But even if you aren't looking to change the way you think about food, the experiments themselves are worth the read. Do people eat more chicken wings if the bones are left on the table or if they're cleared away? Why would being told a wine is from California or North Dakota affect how much food a person ate or how much they enjoyed their meal? Does plate size affect how much a person eats? These and other experiments have helped Wansink consult with various players in the food industry, particularly in packaging and marketing, which Wansink discusses.

This book is not only really entertaining, it will change the way you think about food. I highly recommend it. For more information about Wansink's work, click here.

Reviewed by Cathy

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