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Mindless Eating

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,128 Ratings  ·  980 Reviews
This book will literally change the way you think about your next meal. Food psychologist Brian Wansink revolutionizes our awareness of how much, what, and why we’re eating—often without realizing it. His findings will astound you.

• Can the size of your plate really influence your appetite?
• Why do you eat more when you dine with friends?
• What “hidden persuaders” are used
...more
ebook, 177 pages
Published December 19th 2006 by Bantam (first published 2006)
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Kinga
May 17, 2013 Kinga rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I fear of dying from hunger. It’s a very unreasonable fear because what are my chances of dying from hunger? Yet, this is what I must fear because each time my dinner arrives I eyeball it cautiously wondering whether it is enough. All sorts of food sharing events are a particular torture because I'm a slow eater, so the food is usually gone when I'm barely starting to eat. So I stuff my face, I barely chew; because I worry that everybody will walk away full and satisfied and I will be left hungr ...more
Trevor
Feb 28, 2009 Trevor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Trevor by: Richard Wood
My friend Richard recommended this to me with this review.

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/....

It seems there are an endless supply of books coming out at the moment about how our judgement can be lead astray and what we can do about it. This one is particularly good. Simple advice on how to lose weight by explaining why we might put it on in the first place.

When I was a child my mother told me not to cheat at patience (Solitaire) because you are only cheating yourself. I had always thought
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Richard
Mar 15, 2010 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any dieter, or anyone curious about the problem of obesity in general
See an important related article in the New York Times: "In Obesity Epidemic, What’s One Cookie?" (10 March 2010) by Tara Parker-Pope.

Wansink's book combines diet instructions with lessons on the cognitive flaws in the human psyche that make dieting necessary for so many of us.

He runs a "food psychology lab" at Cornell University, where he and his colleagues study how we make out eating decisions and how they can be manipulated. That gives this book a twist, since it is as much a book on human c
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Rachael
Jul 06, 2008 Rachael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mindless Eating

By Brian Wansink, Ph.D.

The best diet is the one you don’t know you’re on.

A. Introduction

B. Mindless Margin

a. cut out 200 cal per day

b. serve 20% less on your plate at a meal

c. for fruits and veg. Think 20% more.

C. See All you eat

a. put everything you want to eat on a plate before you start eating.

b. Put snack in a bowl and leave box or bag in kitchen.

c. You’ll eat less if you see what you’ve already eaten. If you leave all the plates on your table at the chuckwagon……….leave al
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Samantha
Sep 29, 2007 Samantha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shelves: miscellaneous
I bought this book at a conference after reading just the title. Fully aware that I myself am a mindless eater (most of us are, so don't think you're immune!), I was curious to see what the book had to say about our eating habits.

This book was very interesting and laugh-out-loud funny in parts, too. (Believe me, I got a few odd looks as I was reading this during the conference's keynote address.) The experiements that the author has conducted in his lab and elsewhere to reveal the hidden cues th
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Nic
Apr 22, 2009 Nic rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I breezed through this book in just a few hours. Much of its advice is common sense, but the fact it is backed up by actual research studies gives it more weight. The studies conducted are fascinating - especially those conducted on behalf of the Army on how to get stressed out troops in combat environments to eat MORE - and Wansink's voice is fun. Nothing is belabored and he advocates making a few changes to ones habits and looking for longterm results since the body responds to "diets" by stor ...more
Tiffany
Dec 02, 2012 Tiffany rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book for work. It was one of my goals this year. I am an oncology dietitan by day since my husband seems to think that we need actual food to eat and books just won’t cut it (pah!).

I was amazing! I absolutely loved it. I have presented his information 3 different times to other dietitians and doctors. It is so interesting that I even got my doctors to engage in dialogue with me about it. It is easy enough that anyone can read it and understand it, but it is interesting enough to kee
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Elissa Washuta
I found Wansink's accounts of his research to be totally fascinating. He writes about his experiments carried out at Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab that gave his team insight into how packaging, surroundings, and other cues influence how and how much people eat. While I loved reading about the experiments, I found it unfortunate that this book seemed to pose as a diet book. Wansink gives recommendations for changing eating behaviors based on his research, which I find unnecessary--the f ...more
Sophia
Jan 06, 2016 Sophia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this supposedly weight-loss book gives more useful and interesting marketing strategies or tactics than other counterparts. :-) I am going to adopt the labeling method for my project right now!

Tina
Jul 14, 2013 Tina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book because one of its studies was cited in another book I read, and I was interested in reading about things that influence our eating habits--but I was disappointed. I wish it would have focused more on presenting the research and less on giving weight loss advice. The research itself was interesting and I'd enjoy reading more about the findings, but the advice was mostly not new. I'd heard it all before from many sources. The research could have made those points or suggesti ...more
Mike Kowalczyk
Jun 07, 2013 Mike Kowalczyk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dieters, psychologists
What an interesting book! In short, it examined our (humans') tendencies with respect to eating: what makes us eat, what makes us enjoy food, what causes our eating habits. Through psychological studies, the author demonstrates that almost all of our decisions about food and eating are psychological and even if we believe we control them, we don't. He presents many cases and analyzes many different scenarios, all of which are very interesting.
Aside from this, the overall premise of the book is t
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Leonidas Kaplan
Sep 07, 2014 Leonidas Kaplan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So here's the subjective rundown. We eat mindlessly most of the time. Why? Because we are on autopilot.

But also because it is cultural in the west. People in the east (Japan, for example), eat to 'not feel hungry'. Westerners (Canada, U.S., for example), eat until we 'feel full'. As a result, getting fat, or eating too much is much easier for us than we care to think.

A big plate will trick you into eating more. More variety, such as different coloured M&M's will make you eat more (think bu
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Charlie
Aug 15, 2010 Charlie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating book about the psychology of food and eating. It is primarily written by an American for Americans and it highlights so many differences between the US food culture and our own in the UK.

It is filled with records of sociological and psychological studies done in food labs and in resteraunts and with amusing anecdotes from the backgrounds of some of the studies too. Of all the other books I've read, the one it most reminded me of is Watching The English. It is not just about one na
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Jennifer Perry
Apr 16, 2009 Jennifer Perry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I know it sounds trite, but truly this book changed my life. Or rather it helped me immensely at a point when I was already changing my life. I had weight loss surgery two years ago and read this book during my recovery from surgery. In the first year after my surgery, not only did the surgery itself help me loose weight, but becoming aware of all the things which caused me to eat when I wasn't necessarily hungry also helped me loose weight.

Learning to NOT eat mindlessly is helping to keep the
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Tom
Apr 18, 2011 Tom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very straightforward, entertaining, and informative. I've read a lot of statistics that came from studies, and it's nice to see the studies fleshed out a bit more here.

This book made me hungry! Actually, this book made me hungry while I was reading it, but as soon as I put it down to get a snack, the hunger vanished.

I think that the main messages of controlling portion sizes (e.g. don't eat until you're full, instead eat until you're no longer hungry) and of creating a food environment at home
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Julia
Feb 13, 2015 Julia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a really valuable book. I have already recommended it to many people I know. It is NOT a diet book. Instead, it talks about that "mindless" margin that we all have - about 100+/- calories that we can add/eliminate from our diets and mindlessly gain/lose weight.

The author runs a food lab in Cornell, and it is all research based. Small things like: plate size, serving size, music, taking away bones/glasses, even saying that a wine is from California vs. North Dakota all influence how we e
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Georgina Ortiz
Feb 03, 2016 Georgina Ortiz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you for teaching me the concept of the "mindless margin."
Elaine
Dec 02, 2015 Elaine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written in 2006 (and perhaps a bit dated), "Mindless Eating" is, first, a book about food psychology and, second, a diet book. The bottom line offers some helpful Heloise-ish tips for food control. But, the fascinating part is the first 2/3 of the book, in which Brian Wansink, a food researcher, tells stories from his life work. Of course, he maligns “foods to die for:” fat, sugar, and salt. He doesn’t blame food manufacturers and restaurants: they are in business to make money, not a conspiracy ...more
Ryan Dejonghe
Jul 31, 2015 Ryan Dejonghe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
That fork in your hand—put it down, now! That bag of chips? Keep it in the back of your cupboard, or divide it into small baggies. These foods aren’t the only tempting culprits: we’re attacked from every side and angle. Within MINDLESS EATING, author Brian Wansink, through numerous examples, shows why we eat more than we think we do.

This book isn’t just talk: it is fascinating science. It is entertainment that enlightens. Page-after-page, I’m enraptured by—what I call a prank—a study on ways th
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Alex Timberman
The author, Brian Wansink, is an expert in his field. He is a professor at Cornell University in the Marketing and Nutritional Science department, or something of that sort. His expertise is on the interdisciplinary relationship of marketing, nutritional science, and economics. If you read some books on behavioral economics like Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman or Nudge by Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler, you will quickly get the psychology behind this book.

The question he tries to an
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Edwin B
Jun 12, 2015 Edwin B rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is about eating better, effortlessly and mindlessly. It's about how a mere 100 calories less of food a day everyday (that's as little as a slice of whole wheat bread removed from the daily menu) results in a lasting loss of 10 lbs of weight a year. It describes a laid-back, slow, but steady alternative to deprivation dieting. The trick is to overcome the hidden environmental persuaders that cause mindless overeating, such as cleaning up the large serving portion in a restaurant just be ...more
C M
Sep 30, 2014 C M rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The best diet is the one you don't know you're on."

That's the last line of the book. This isn't really a diet book, but more of an culmination of behavioral research when it comes to eating. Not only do we drastically underestimate the amount of food decisions we make daily, we underestimate our caloric intake. This little book is chock full of fun food and eating experiments. I thought this book was going to be similar to The End of Overeating but I was wrong. That book is more about the sweet
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Ashley
May 09, 2015 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It did, as promised, absolutely change the way I think about eating. Highly recommend. Use mindless eating in your favor by not having to think about healthy eating so much.

Some notes I want to remember:
- PAUSE POINTS are important - gives you a chance to decide if you want to keep eating. Buy a bag of fun size m&ms instead of 1 lb bag. Costs more, but you'll eat less

- Add air or water to reduce calories and not notice taste difference. People feel more full when something is bigger, even i
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Akshay
Dec 21, 2015 Akshay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We are taught in India "अनन हे पूरण बरमह". Eat mindfully.
But with the new age of industrialization, food has become a commodity that is being sold more and more for profit with help of careful marketing.
Well, that's taking a toll on us. This book will be an eye opener for many of us, to know in how many ways we are wrong. What are our eating patterns that we never paid attention to, how things are seeped into our lives without us noticing, how a positive approach to healthy food can be very he
...more
Beth Peninger
May 06, 2015 Beth Peninger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Whoa. Each one of us is required to make 200 or more choices about food (and beverage) each day. At least that is what Wansink has discovered in his years of research. He says that number may seem high because we aren't aware of 90% of them! We are mindless when it comes to eating, to food choices, to knowing what we are actually digesting. Wansink spends the length of the book proving that and giving solutions to combat that mindless eating and become more mindful. This isn't a diet or restrict ...more
Holly B
Jul 27, 2014 Holly B rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food
I ran clinical trials for a couple of drugs being developed for obesity and used this book as a teaching tool. When you do randomized placebo controlled trials there has to be something in it for everyone. In the case of our studies it was the counseling part. What is most interesting about the author’s approach to mindless eating is the political angle. He presents study after study demonstrating how manipulated we are in the current food environment. Much of the research is conducted by the mi ...more
Els Dehaen
Key Takeaways:

- Half-plate rule: 50% of your plate should be vegetables
- Enjoy comfort food in small doses. If you deprive yourself of everything, you'll give up at some point.
- You can't trust your stomach, it can't count and it only feels full because of external cues.
- See it BEFORE and WHILE you eat it: if you're doing other things, and you've not carefully chosen a portion, you'll end op eating everything
- Optical illusion: buy smaller plates
- Variety makes us eat more, don't offer a wide
...more
Kirsti
Feb 09, 2009 Kirsti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, science, food
"The best diet is the one you don't know you're on."

Wansink is a Ph.D. who has run food labs at different universities and independently. His book is a friendly, rather chatty account of his findings, which include:

* Your stomach can't count. It doesn't know how many spoonfuls of soup (or whatever) you had, so it will encourage you to keep eating until the plate is clean, the bag or box is empty, or the TV show is over. That's evolution, baby.

* It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach let your
...more
Elizabeth
Apr 29, 2008 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How do we determine how much we eat? Surely it depends on how hungry we are and how tasty the food is, but Brian Wansink argues that it depends just as much on external cues, like how much is on our plate, the shape of our drinking glasses, how fast other people at the table are eating, and so forth.

The best parts of this book are when he describes his experiments: the famous bottomless soup bowl, for example, or the chicken wing Super Bowl party experiment. (In the former he finds that if your
...more
Julie Reade
Jan 19, 2009 Julie Reade rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is perhaps the best book I have read in a long time. Here's why. I enjoyed reading all the experiments done and the results. I enjoyed the "re-engineering strategies" at the end of each chapter. I appreciated the authors no non-sense approach and also his realization that one size does not fit all when it comes to diet. He clearly put the responsibility on our shoulder to figure our the best strategies. By claiming the responsibility, we also claim the success! I saw so much of myself and o ...more
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Reading Herbies: Mindless Eating Week 3 Q1 3 12 Apr 17, 2012 03:25AM  
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  • Slow Food Nation: Why Our Food Should Be Good, Clean, and Fair
  • Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works
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Brian Wansink is an American professor in the fields of consumer behavior and nutritional science and is currently serving as the Executive Director of the USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP), which is charged with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines and with promoting the Food Guide Pyramid (MyPyramid).

Wansink is best known for his work on consumer behavior and food and for popularizi
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“The best diet is the one you don't know you're on.” 16 likes
“There's only one thing that's strong enough to defeat the tyranny of the moment. Habit.” 2 likes
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