Visual ‘Stoppers’ Help Slow Mindless Eating

Visual ‘Stoppers’ Help Slow Mindless Eating

Do you remember the potato chip commercial tag line “betcha can’t eat just one”? Well, researchers from Cornell University may have a clever way to help us with this mindless eating problem.

In a recent research project, Cornell Food and Brand Lab Director Brian Wansink found that visual “stoppers” helped curb overeating.
(Photo by Robin Wishna)

The study involved 98 students who were given a tubes of stacked potato chips to eat while watching videos in class. In the first study, one set of tubes contained red chips that were placed in the stack at the suggested serving size of seven chips. In the second, the red chips were stacked at five chip intervals.

These visual “stoppers” produced some impressive results. Students eating from the red chip tubes ate 50 percent less than the control group.

“People generally eat what is put in front of them if it is palatable,” said Cornell Food and Brand Lab director Brian Wansink in a news release. “An increasing amount of research suggests that some people use visual indications such as a clean plate or bottom of a bowl to tell them when to stop eating.”

Putting a visual “stopper” to remind you when to stop eating could be something you may want to add to your healthy eating arsenal.

For other tips on portion control, check out our post on “Finding food traps“.

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