Eat Smart! Finding Hidden Food Traps

Eat Smart! Finding Hidden Food Traps

Unless you take time to measure everything you eat, you may be falling into “hidden food traps”.

People don’t realize how much they are eating, according to Brian Wansink, PhD, whose research has focused on perceived consumption vs. actual consumption.

One study Wansink conducted found that something as simple as the shape of a glass increased the serving size. Even though both glasses had the same volume, people poured about 37 percent more liquid in short, wide glasses than in tall, skinny glasses.

“Most of us have too much chaos going on in our lives to consciously focus on every bite we eat . . . The secret is to change your environment so it works for you rather than against you,” said Wansink during a presentation at the American Psychological Association’s 119th Annual Convention.

So how do you make this work for you? By making these few changes, participants in a Wansink study lost up to two pounds a month.

  • Eat off of salad plates instead of dinner plates
  • Keep healthier food at eye-level in the fridge and cupboards, and keep unhealthy food s out of sight
  • Eat in a dining area and not in front of the TV

Discussion4 Comments

  • LaTonya Jan 31, 2012 

    I can attest these work. My family has been doing it awhile. For me, it’s more about strategy not willpower.

  • Pingback: Visual ‘stoppers’ help slow mindless eating | Walkingspree

  • KATHY Oct 04, 2012 

    HELLO, I BELIEVE THE ARTICLE BELOW WAS NOT WRITTEN VERY WELL. I’M NOT UNDERSTANDING HOW SLIGHTLY REARRANGED RED CHIPS W/I 2 GROUPS IS SIGNIFICANT. MR. WANSINK, CAN YOU MORE FULLY EXPLAIN THE EXPERIMENT?
    THANK YOU.

    “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.”

    • Walkingspree Team Oct 09, 2012 

      Hi Kathy -

      Thank you for your question, it’s great to hear from a member.

      The article was meant to highlight the value of mindful eating and to be aware of serving sizes and portion control which can be a challenge especially when food packages contain more than one serving.

      In a news release, Dr. Wansink states:

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

      By eating directly out of a container the research subjects were “mindlessly” eating the food. Those who had a visual marker, the red chips, subconsciously chose to stop eating when they reached the red chip.

      I hope this answers your question. The following link is a link to the Cornell news release. http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/May12/WansinkChips.html