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Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  10,910 ratings  ·  1,371 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 use
Hardcover, 276 pages
Published December 19th 2006 by Bantam (first published 2006)
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 ·  10,910 ratings  ·  1,371 reviews

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Sep 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pub-2006
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
Jul 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This author is familiar to me through being quoted in other food-eating books I've read, including the stale popcorn study, and the plate size study, at least.

This book is about raising awareness of how much, what, and why we're eating certain ways (there's both healthy and harmful types - and we can never completely get rid of the mindlessness), sometimes without realising it, or being able to admit it (to say: "I wasn't influenced - others might've"). This book is meant to help us make better
Feb 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Trevor by: Richard Wood
My friend Richard recommended this to me with this review.

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
Oct 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
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 our eating decisions and how they can be manipulated. That gives this book a twist, since it is as much a book on human c
Sep 29, 2007 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
Apr 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Brian Wansink is a food psychologist, an American professor, and a former Executive Director of the USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. His book Mindless Eating summarizes some of his research, much of which is focused on how external cues like packaging, portion sizes, and presentation can influence how much we eat.

Published back in 2006, some of the information feels dated. For example, his work showed that eating a designated portion from a smaller plate would lead to more satis
Dec 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 ke
David H.
Jul 08, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, audiobook
An absolutely fascinating book to read that was just marred retroactively for me by reading about all of Wansink's papers that have been retracted due to a variety of scientific errors, to the point that Wansink was removed from research and teaching by Cornell University last fall, and he just resigned a week ago. Sooo that's something. Skimming the list of 17 (!) papers that have been retracted, not every paper's results was included in the book, but several were. (Here's a article abo ...more
Crystal Starr Light
Bullet Review:

This was okay. I wouldn't say I learned anything particularly ground-breaking, but what I think the book does best is try to make small changes instead of overhauling your entire meal plan and eating only raw vegetables or switching to a paleo diet. I did find the various studies interesting, but again, I've read a couple of psychology books, so I get that we think we're way smarter than we are. (But we aren't.) Hell, I can just tell you from my own personal experiences that I have
Jul 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Dec 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
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!

Sep 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 buff
Mike Kowalczyk
Dec 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Interesting market research about the various things that affect how much we eat, such as the size of a dinner plate and how quickly items are cleared away from a restaurant table. It's not a diet book, but at the end of each chapter Wansink does give tips on ways to easily cut out the 100-200 calories of mindless eating each day that make us gain weight over time.

I would recommend the book to those who liked "Fast Food Nation" and other pop sociology, such as Malcolm Gladwell or the Freakonomi
Mohammad Ali Abedi
Apr 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
An important aspect of this book is to be more self-aware of all the hidden aspects of our daily nutrition. Some of it is tricks from food companies that we need to be careful about, so that we don’t fall into their traps, but a lot of them is just that our evolutionary mind, regarding calories in and out, isn’t really built for contemporary living.

Here is quick lessons from the book.

Be aware of the small daily calories, that can add up. 100 calories a day can add up to 10 pounds a year (4.5 kgs
Dec 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, health
I'm at 42% and find this book to be rather interesting, although no shocking. The one thing that did surprise me is the possibility of scent-infused (or impregnated) bowls etc. to encourage people to eat more. Wow. So many cues out there that encourage over-eating or eating things that are not healthy. And even though most of the stuff is not so shocking and makes sense, it's still a good reminder to think about before and while you are eating, and when you are shopping.

Still getting through thi
Watermarked Pages
May 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
First off, this is not a diet book.

Okay, now that we have that clarified, let’s talk about what it is!

Each of us makes approximately 200 food-related decisions daily, on everything from whether to have a sandwich or salad for lunch, whether or not to eat a candy (or 10) from the dish on the desk, and what to say to the carton of double fudge oreo chocolate ice cream that has been screaming at us from inside the freezer all afternoon. The problem is, we make 90% of those decisions without even be
Aug 2016 book club pick.
(library e-book)

Brian Wansink is a food psychologist who runs a lab focused primarily on determining why people make the food choices they do and what influences those decisions. As it turns out, we often don't consciously make food decisions; we eat primarily in response to to learned behaviors, peer influences, and our immediate environments (lighting, plate/package size, wrappers, company, music, etc.). In other words, most of us--at least those of us fortunate enoug
Jennifer Perry
Apr 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Sep 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: foodie, read2011
The basic premise is that by setting yourself up for success in various areas where you eat mindlessly, you can shave off calorie consumption, improving your health long-term. I dunno. If I intentionally do things to trick myself, does that defeat the purpose? Some of the ideas were interesting, and heck, they can't hurt, but I'm not sure it is exactly revolutionary. ...more
Ann L.
Jan 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone looking to be more mindful of their eating habits
This book talks about how certain environments, social engagements, personal habits and marketing ploys effect how much we eat. I thought the author researched this subject quite thoroughly, as that is how he makes his living, and he has a lab to do his experiments with on a day to day basis. He says we can lose up to 20 lbs just by shaving off 100-200 calories a day (by watching and being mindful of how much food we eat). His belief is that half our plate should be veggies, a quarter of our pla ...more
Kate Schwarz
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks, health
Easy reading health book--written by an informative and kinda funny guy, which made his delivery of information you might not want to hear go a little more smoothly. I eat pretty well already and our family's only fast food stop is Chic-Fil-A, and I can't remember when we went. We eat at home a lot. Still, there was a lot to tweak about my own diet to lose those stubborn pounds or to just eat more healthfully.

Here are the lessons I learned from this book:

- The French are taught to stop eating w
Sarah Bodaly
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was pretty interesting. I can't say that for me, having studied nutrition and such, there were a lot of new, enlightening facts, but it was really interesting to have "all" the information put together in one book. It delves into the psychological aspect of eating (how we've customized ourselves to eat until X, or when doing X, etc.), and then gives a good bit of helpful advice on how to rewire your brain, per se, to stop mindlessly eating. He mentioned the "mindless margin,"of 100-200 calo ...more
Roopesh Kesavaraju
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink

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

• The author doesn't teach what to eat he explains why we eat,how we eat,how marketers make us to eat more.
• 100 calories extra per day adds to 4.5kg/year & 100 calories less a day less 4.5kgs/year.
• Our stomach can't measure how much we are eating our brains measure,but it 20 minutes to send signals.
• In this 20 minutes we eat more than what we required.
• We measure food with our eyes,if eyes can't see what we eat
George Florin
Sep 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
""I don't eat until I'm full, I eat until I hate myself!" - Louis CK

Now, even though Louis CK made a point that really describes many people when it comes to eating until you can't anymore, stuffing ourselves with food is what caused the global gain in weight and obesity in many developed countries.

As someone who's weight fluctuated tremendously over the past years, from losing 15 kg, to gaining 20, then losing an extra 10 and so on, it was interesting to see what are the invisible habits that m
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Play Book Tag: Mindless Eating / Brian Wansink. 3.5 stars 1 12 Feb 25, 2017 02:42PM  
No need to buy another book 4 19 May 28, 2014 02:04PM  
Reading Herbies: Mindless Eating Week 5 Q1 2 19 Apr 30, 2012 09:56AM  
Reading Herbies: Mindless Eating Week 5 Q2 2 10 Apr 29, 2012 09:25AM  
Reading Herbies: Mindless Eating Week 4 Q1 2 24 Apr 22, 2012 10:36AM  
Reading Herbies: Mindless Eating Week 4 Q2 1 13 Apr 22, 2012 07:46AM  
Reading Herbies: Week 1 Q1 4 17 Apr 17, 2012 03:27AM  

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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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