Influenced to Eat

Did you know on the average we make well over 200 hundred food decisions everyday? I would have thought no more than ten. Not so according to Prof. Brian Wansink director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab. His elaborate research has shown people are seduced by food more than you might think. Kim Severson of The New York Times reports:
“We don’t have any idea what the normal amount to eat is, so we look around for clues or signals,” he said. “When all you see is that big portions of food cost less than small ones, it can be confusing.”

Although people think they make 15 food decisions a day on average, his research shows the number is well over 200. Some are obvious, some are subtle. The bigger the plate, the larger the spoon, the deeper the bag, the more we eat. But sometimes we decide how much to eat based on how much the person next to us is eating, sometimes moderating our intake by more than 20 percent up or down to match our dining companion.
It kind of makes sense when you consider that eating for many people is also a social event. I know, I grew up in an Italian family—“You full? You no full? Eat’a more! You skinny.” Wansink’s research, which has included a bottomless bowl of soup and tubs of five-day-old popcorn, really illustrates that many people just don’t know much to eat.

This concept sound familiar? It does to me. Dr. Fuhrman refers to this phenomenon as people’s inability to recognize true hunger. A common problem discussed in his book Disease-Proof Your Child:
We teach our children to eat when not hungry. We encourage it. Many parents actually think it looks health for their kids to be plump and bigger than average. They continually encourage them to ignore their bodies and eat when not hungry. The children learn to eat for a taste thrill; it is recreational eating, akin to recreational drug use. They do it for a thrill and pay a price for it later. These children and adults have overeaten their whole lives, so that they have no recollection of what true hunger feels like.
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anet - October 15, 2006 5:22 PM

Yeah, our cues to eat should be internal (hunger) not external (environmental stimuli). But that way BurgerKing doesn't make so much money!!

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