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Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think

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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 by restaurants and supermarkets to get us to overeat?
• How does music or the color of the room influence how much—and how fast—we eat?
• How can we “mindlessly” lose—instead of gain—up to twenty pounds in the coming year?
Starting today, you can make more mindful, enjoyable, and healthy choices at the dinner table, in the supermarket, at the office—wherever you satisfy your appetite.

276 pages, Hardcover

First published October 17, 2006

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About the author

Brian Wansink

20 books75 followers
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 popularizing terms such as "mindless eating" and "health halos." His research has focused on how our immediate environment (supermarkets, packaging, homes, pantries, and tablescapes) influences eating habits and preferences. Wansink holds the John S. Dyson Endowed Chair in the Applied Economics and Management Department at Cornell University. He is the author of over 100 academic articles and books, including the best-selling book Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think and Marketing Nutrition (2005). He is a 2007 recipient of the humorous Ig Nobel Prize and was named ABC World News Person of the Week on January 4, 2008.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,458 reviews
Profile Image for Kinga.
476 reviews2,194 followers
April 15, 2017
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 hungry.

There is no plausible explanation for this. Yes, I did grow up in communism, but it was Poland, not North Korea, I never had to go to bed without dinner. I didn't have to fight a litter of brothers and sisters at the table; in fact, I only have a younger sister whose favourite food was cauliflower.

Oh, I do truly live in the here and now. I think every meal I eat is at the same time my first and my last one. I pay for it with those extra pounds I so desperately try to run off, jogging at 6am by the canals. I don't turn heads quite the way I used and it saddens me. But it doesn't sadden me anywhere near as much as the thought that I have to eat everything today because there will be no food tomorrow.

Brian Wansink in ‘Mindless Eating’ talks about people like me but also people like you, the normal kind. The kind who thinks they are in control of what and how much they eat it. But you lot, you’re no better than me. If someone gives you free five day old stale popcorn with a movie ticket you will eat that. You will eat that and the box size will be the only criteria of how much food you need. Give you a small plate – that’s your portion. Give you a bigger one – that’s your portion too. Give you your food in a bucket, well, that’s how much you’ll eat. We need to clean our plate. Let's not throw away food! It's a sin. And what about those starving children in Africa? Let's eat more because they can't.

Wansink maintains we make about 200 food-related decisions a day. He is a scientist with good methodology, so let’s believe him. This is a lot of decisions. Who has the time to make 200 right decisions a day? And he proves beyond doubt that even the people who think they know, or even know they know, still don’t know or fully control how much they eat. You think you’re so smart, but some Sade from the speakers in a restaurant will make you order a dessert.

Gosh, are you hungry? You weren't even hungry before but I started talking about food and now you want to eat. You want a brownie and spaghetti, and sushi, pumpkin soup and a burger. I will show you my food and then I will close the door and let the thought of that food slowly burn in your brain. When you finally break and come begging me for that food you will eat almost twice as much as you would have if I weren't such a tease and just gave it to when I first showed you.

If it says low fat it means you can eat all you want. If it says something vaguely healthy on the packaging, again you can eat as much as you want of it and also believe it will cure cancer. That’s your brain on food.

There are so many fantastic facts and experiments in this book, some you can even try at home. Read it so you can learn what a fool you are. Me, I'm fine. As long as I can somehow convince myself there will still be food tomorrow.
32 reviews
July 7, 2008
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 all the soda glasses on the table.

D. King size packages and tableware

a. Mini-size your bulk sized boxes and bags

b. Use smaller plates and glasses.

c. We eat more when there is a variety. Buffet, pot luck, reception. At these events never have more than 2 items on your plate at a time. You’ll refill your plate less often.

E. Make overeating a hassle, not a habit

a. Leave serving dishes in the kitchen or on a sideboard. Are we hungry still and enough to get up and go back in the kitchen for seconds?

b. “De-convenience” tempting foods. Take extras to basement or store in back of fridge.

c. Snack only at table and on plate. This makes it less convenient to serve, eat, and clean up after a snack. Do I really want this mess?

d. Make salad, fruits and veggies convenient. Cut up etc.

F. Create Distraction-Free Eating Scripts

a. Try to be last person to start eating when in a group

b. Pace yourself with the slowest eater at the table

c. Avoid another helping by always leaving food on plate. You must not be finished…….so you can’t get more yet.

d. Eat alone=eating less

e. No meal multi tasking.

f. Snack only in one place in your house. A place without distractions (comp, tv etc.) It makes it less alluring.

g. If you HAVE to snack, dish yourself out a ration. Don’t eat straight out of bag or box or huge serving bowl.

G. Comfort foods

a. Don’t deprive yourself. Eat smaller amounts

b. Rewire your comfort foods by substituting a less calorie item.

H. Nutritional Gatekeeper

a. Offer variety. New recipes, ethnic foods. Healthy foods can be more easily substituted for less-healthy foods.

b. Be a good marketer. Make the food look good. Give food inviting names and adjectives.

c. Half plate rule. ½ plate of veg and fruit and salad. ½ meat and starches

d. Make serving size official. Put into baggies. Clear counter of extra in box. Use Ice cream bars instead of bowls of icecream.
Profile Image for Trevor.
1,293 reviews21.7k followers
February 28, 2009
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 this a good maxim. Now I think that the only person you should cheat is yourself. If you want to learn how to cheat yourself out of being basketball shaped - this book is for you.

The thing I liked most about this book was the amount of time he spent convincing the reader that the reader was not quite as logical as the reader might just imagine. We are all too ready to believe that everyone else is stupid and we have somehow avoided the common affliction. This book should do much to dispell this dangerous assumption.

I'm going to try to put some of the advice in this book into practice. But before I do, I really will need to find out more about the caloric content of foods. Throughout this bookhe asked people to guess how many calories certain foods contained and, honestly, I would be guessing wildly. The advice, though, that we don't eat calories, but volume is very interesting.
Profile Image for David H..
1,998 reviews19 followers
December 25, 2020
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 Vox.com article about the situation.)

I now wish I hadn't read this book, because I don't know what I can still trust from it—anything?! Well, at least I enjoyed it when I was reading it? And at least I'm thinking about what I'm eating these days . . . But what a waste.
Profile Image for 7jane.
678 reviews256 followers
April 26, 2018
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 food choices when buying and eating, and buying and making for others, plus the outside eating (work-related and the eating out).

There's plenty of illustrations, and at the end some popular diets studied, on eliminating diet danger zones and some frequently asked questions answered (that came up after a couple of first printings of this book). The studies are listed (and author creates and uses his own). Each chapter of the main part ends with 1-3 reengineering strategies that may help us eat better.

Stuff that comes up: the mindless margin (eating 100 more or less calories than needed can change one's weight over time); the oftentimes lack of awareness of amount eaten; tablescape - the equipment and the food (sizes and amounts matter); big packages - bigger eats; where the food is placed matters - the distance to it, the visibility, etc.; how to handle wholesale food buying; our eating scripts ("when it's time for tv, I grab this snack"); influence of friends, family, and the one who controls food at home through making and buying; the "manly man" overeating; restaurant look-strategies; the influence of what the food's title is; comfort foods (where gender preferences show, plus reasons why-this-food); saving the best for first or last?; the trap within 'low-fat' etc.-titled light foods.

I learned a lot, and did mark up some eating strategies for later use. This is a easily flowing book with a great message while it entertains. It makes you ponder deeply on food, while giving you more motivation to eat better, and make helpful strategies for making others' eating experience better, healthier. Very interesting a read.
Profile Image for Ginger.
753 reviews373 followers
April 19, 2023
3/3.5 stars

Mindless Eating looks at a variety of ways in how we overeat and how the food industry also contributes to our overeating.
Surprise, surprise. 😂🤣

The book also goes into the shameless ways restaurants will give a wonderful eating experience or not.

Example: The restaurant gives all dinners the same wine for dinner. One bottle had a label from Sonoma and the other was from North Dakota. It was the same wine but the dinners that had “Sonoma” wine experienced a more pleasant and wonderful eating experience then the poor schmucks that drank wine from the North Dakota vineyards.

This type of marketing or manipulation happens in the food industry all of the time and the author Brian Wansink goes into multiple examples of this from the one above.

He also shows how people will eat more given the option of a small, medium, or large size regardless of how hungry they are. We also overeat due to visual stimulation as well.

I thought the audiobook was interesting but not necessarily groundbreaking. I realize most of the information in this book, I’ve known for some time but choose to ignore most of it because I love food and eating. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I think one of the things that I wanted more in the book was how to change the habits of mindless eating and I felt he could have given a bit more information on that.
Check out this book if you want more information in how food manipulation and cravings are a constant in our life, and you would like to be more aware of it.
Profile Image for Richard.
1,139 reviews1,027 followers
January 5, 2021
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 cognition as Dan Ariely's Predictably Irrational or Leonard Mlodinow's The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives .

Wansink has a good style for this kind of book, too. Breezy and humorous enough to keep you reading, but with enough depth and substance to provide credible guidance.

It doesn't take too much time to finish the book; a moderately quick reader will probably take most of a weekend. The chapters and sections within them also make it easy to read this in sporadic chunks.
Profile Image for Samantha.
155 reviews18 followers
September 29, 2007
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 that cause us to eat more than we need to are intriguing.

The bottom line: Americans eat using visual cues - how big is the package or plate? how much are the people around us eating? what does the label say? Believe it or not, if the label makes some sort of health claim ("helps lower your risk of heart disease," "low fat," etc.), we eat more of it because we are lured into a false sense of security.

The motives behind our eating habits were very eye-opening. While not realizing that I fall into those traps while they're happening, I find myself going, "I do that!" while I'm reading about them after the fact.

The one downfall to the book, in my opinion, is the easy-as-pie way Wansink makes changing those habits sound. At the end of each chapter he offers what he calls "Reengineering Strategies" for turning "mindless" eating into "mindful" eating. They are good suggestions, but putting them into practice in a world where we are constantly bombarded with a "more is better" attitude is more difficult than it sounds. However, at the end of the day, we are all accountable for what we choose to put into our bodies, McAdvertising be damned.

Interesting (and very quick!) read.
Profile Image for Nic.
238 reviews12 followers
April 22, 2009
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 storing more fat. Very practical and a pretty fun read. I particularly liked "what's your personality" based on soup preference. For me, it was dead on.
Profile Image for Shaun.
Author 4 books172 followers
March 24, 2019
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 satisfaction than if eating the same portion from a larger plate. Probably groundbreaking once upon a time, but not so much now.

That said, most of the book details ways in which our environment can lead to mindless overeating. From smaller plates, to smaller portion sizes, to out-of-sight-out-of-mind, he suggests that we can use what he's learned about mindless overconsumption to actually promote mindless (ie painless) calorie control.

Most of us don't eat because we are hungry, and more importantly we don't stop eating when we are full. We look to other cues to determine how much and for how long we continue to eat.

The book certainly raises awareness, though I find Wansink's assertion that cutting 100-200 calories through "mindless calorie control" might actually solve our weight problems to be somewhat naïve.

Bottom line, as a means of increasing awareness, it's a great read. We live in a day and age where the strategies we've adopted to survive, no longer serve us. Our cravings for salty, sweet, and fat, which originally kept us from starvation, are now causing us to overeat, often to the point of illness and disease. And perhaps more importantly, and less obvious, is the context in which we eat significantly impacts calorie consumption.
Profile Image for Tiffany.
259 reviews21 followers
December 2, 2012
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 keep anyone engaged. It provides practical tips to change our eating in small ways that we won’t feel like we are depriving ourselves. I have already requested that three of my patients read it for themselves and my boss can’t wait until I finish it to read it for herself. We will be ordering half a dozen copies to keep in our office for people to borrow.

In short, this book looks at why people eat and why they eat so much. It is just theories, it is backed up by studies that the author himself (and his team) have run countless times to get insight into our eating in almost every situation. This book will change how I eat and how I practice as a dietitian.
Profile Image for Sweta Gorania.
323 reviews3 followers
February 1, 2022
One of the best book you will read on eating. Everything is said and explained well with logic and possible solutions to avoid extra mindless eating in an easy way and hassle-free. Must read.
Profile Image for Paul (Life In The Slow Lane).
617 reviews31 followers
March 20, 2022
Anybody got any will-power they can lend me?

I was at the Doc's when she told me I was at the "upper limit" of correct weight-for-height - which meant, I had to lose 5 kg (11 lbs) or grow another 6 inches taller!

She then said, I should reduce my cholesterol by reducing meat intake. She held her thumb and forefinger in a "C" shape saying, "No more than a piece of meat this size (about 2 inches in dia.), 3 times a week." "Look Doc," I said, "I get that much caught in my teeth when I eat a steak." Many frowny faces ensued. I went on a diet, until my wife begged me to go back to eating fatty sausages 'cos I was grumpy and hard to live with...more than usual.

Sooooo....I ordered this book from a 2nd-hand online book store here in Australia. Mindless Eating arrived a week later. Pristine condition and in a beautiful plastic protective cover no less. An ex-library copy from the North Lincolnshire Library in the UK. Holy Shit! That book ended up 10,365 miles from home. It was shelved in the library in UK 2010 and never borrowed and withdrawn from circulation in 2018...and deported to Australia with the rest of us convicts. Apparently, the folks in North Lincolnshire are super healthy, or all morbidly obese...and don't care.

As for the book? Well it's worth a read. It doesn't take long. It has lots of common sense information and suggestions (diets DON'T work - well d'uh) and a lot of info on how food companies trick us no matter how smart we think we are. The REAL take-away (no pun intended) for me was, that you only need to reduce your caloric intake each day by about 100 to 200 calories to slowly lose weight. Any more and your body will go into efficient fat-making mode...and YOUR partner will beg you to eat a sausage (Hey! Get your mind out of the gutter) before she/he divorces you. 3 or 4 big fat stars 🍔🍟🌭🍕

NOTE: In 2018, Brian Wansink was "removed" from Cornell University because 15 (or more) of his studies were found to be invalid. Don't let that stop you from reading this helpful book.
Profile Image for Crystal Starr Light.
1,350 reviews819 followers
February 14, 2017
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 no clue how many calories I eat, give myself way too big of portions if asked to eyeball, and am a member of the "clean your plate" club. Just to name a few.

By far the best line of the book is the one it ends on: "The best diet is the one you don't know you're on". It's not a bad take-away at all.

The narrator was meh. Okay, but nothing to write home about.

I also wonder if this book would be better read in dead tree version just because of the tables and charts that appear.

But in case this sounds like a big fat no to this book, I just want to clarify: It was "OK". Neither bad nor amazing.
Profile Image for Tina.
100 reviews2 followers
July 14, 2013
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 suggestions in a much more compelling way.
Profile Image for ludavi.
24 reviews55 followers
January 6, 2016
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!

Profile Image for ptagi.
20 reviews8 followers
September 7, 2019
Ez egy olyan könyv, amit nem elég kipreparálni, aláhúzogatni, hanem kell belőle egy 10 pontos kivonat a hűtőre. Csak hogy lássam és tudjam, ahányszor kinyitom a világítós szekrényt :P
Profile Image for Youssef Khouili.
61 reviews2 followers
December 22, 2022
There are many different reasons why we eat and why we like a specific type of food. Sometimes we eat much more than our body needs, basically because if we served it on big plates, big spoons, large-sized bottles, we will end up eating more, because most of the time we believe our eyes rather than our stomach, even when our stomach triggers a full state alarm, we keep eating probably because there's still food in the tablescape or what we are watching on TV still didn't finish yet.

Being in a place where food is everywhere you go will influence you to eat more. The more hassle and effort we do to get or prepare food the less we eat and vice versa, keep thinking of food and you will end up overeating.

Multi-tasking (eating while doing other things) makes us eat unconsciously without counting how much food we're eating. Eating a meal at a slow pace and focusing only on it without watching TV or thinking of something will give you the greatest reward from every aspect and you will enjoy it more.

Fast-food makers manipulate and design the odor of the food to make us under their product's spell to buy more. We rely more on taste and odor rather than nutrients.

This book talks about many factors that influence us from how much food we eat. Some parts in this book I disagree with it like "Being deprived is not a great way to enjoy life" but it's a smart way to avoid Autoimmune diseases. Eating junk food is not the only way to enjoy life.
Profile Image for Nadia Kanan.
56 reviews3 followers
November 5, 2022
The best diet is the one you don't know you're on !

Simply mind blowing, was there anything in the book that I didnt know already? NO!
But, did I ever sit and thought about the ideas, strategies to eliminate and reasons of mindless eating? Again NO!

Simple yet an eye opener on how and why we consume food while not being hungry or even love what we are consuming.
Profile Image for Leonidas.
184 reviews38 followers
September 7, 2014
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 buffet, you just 'need' to try everything). Even a bowl that fills itself, without you knowing, will make you eat more.

But to really show how dumb we are, do this. Take 2 bottles of the exact same wine, same age, same everything. But switch out the labels. One from California, and one from Detroit. Suddenly, the California wine 'tastes' better, in all tests with real people. As well, the drinkers believe their food tastes better, and they even stay longer to enjoy their meal. Rinse repeat with name brands from shoes, ketchup, and everything else on the market.

Now for fast-food, such as a bowl of chips, place it next to you, and you will pig out. Place it just a meter away, and you will eat a less. Place it 2 meters away, and suddenly it's too much effort to eat. We don't want to consume energy to get energy. This goes as deep as Risk vs reward, when a field mouse needs to run across a field to get a berry, while the watchful hawk preys on the mouse.

Oh, and manliness vs. being a woman. Men believe it's manly to eat a lot, especially on a first date, while women believe they should eat only a little, to be perceived as feminine. Not to mention, eating meats is more manly as well (despite the huge negative health issues with eating beef).

Then we have scientifically manufactured colours, tastes, and smells, which culminates into McDonalds and any other fast-food on the market. Each food is engineered to have the scientifically 'optimal' amount of the trifecta: salts, fats, and sugars. The trifecta feeds back into our primitive monkey selves, when food was scarce and dangerous to consume. Salts help us store water, fats help us store energy, and sugars told us that a food was safe for consumption... as opposed to a sour poisonous berry.

Food inheritance was interesting as well. Why do you hate that food? Why do you love it? Can you trace it back? Dig deep. Dig into your childhood when you first fell in love with that taste, or the process of getting to that food. Does it remind you of your parents, your friends, relatives, that special occasion? We associate our emotions to certain foods, plain and simple.

Finally, Subway sandwiches has been lying to you. Sure it might seem healthy, but is it really? How many calories are you actually consuming? Not too many less than a McDonalds big mac. Add all that sauce, meat, veggies, bread, a drink, chips, and a cookie, and you are eating maybe 1000 calories? Om nom nom, no thank you weight-loss Jared.

Common sense? Not when you eat with your stomach, and not with your head. Also, those low-fat variety foods are only fractionally low fat. But you also end up eating more of the low fat variety... you just tricked yourself.

Nonetheless, be MINDFUL of what you eat, but before you are, read this book. And if you are a fat shit, hit the gym ;) True story.
Profile Image for Youghourta.
129 reviews205 followers
April 25, 2017
كتاب مُمتع. يشرح الأسباب التي تؤدّي إلى فشل أغلب الحِميات الغذائية وما يجب فعله لبناء حِمية غذائية ناجحة.
يُمكن تلخيص الكتاب في "أفضل حِمية هل التي لا تدري بأنّك تتبعها".

الكتاب يلقي الضّوء على حقيقة نغفل عنها: نأكل من دون وعي، وهناك عشرات العوامل التي تؤثّر على ما نأكله، كيف ومتى نُحسّ بالشّبع وكيف ترتفع أوزاننا "فجأة" دون أن نشعر.

الكاتب أستاذ مُحاضر في علم "سلوك المُستهلك"* وأجرى التجارب التي بنى عليه الكتاب بنفسه. بعبارة أخرى، الكتاب ليس "مجرد كتاب حِمية آخر" وإنما هو كتاب مُبني على نتائج تجارب علمية.

من بين أطرف التّجارب التي تحدّث عنها الكاتب التّالي: لدى رغبته في معرفة ما إذا كنا نُحس بالشّبع داخليًا (يعني المعدة تُخبرك متى تشبع) أو نعتمد على ما نراه (هل لا يزال هناك أكل على طبقي)، أجرى الكاتب تجربة حيث استخدم وعاء حساء مربوط بأنبوب يقوم بتزويد مُحتواه بشكل مُتواصل. والغريب في الأمر أن الأشخاص الذين تمت تجربة الأمر عليهم لم ينتبهوا للأمر وواصلوا الأكل، وأكلوا أكثر من أقرانهم الذين استخدموا أوعية عادية، كل هذا دون أن يحسّوا بأنّهم أكلوا أكثر من اللازم.
كما استعرض الكاتب تجارب تؤكّد بأن عوامل خارجية كثيرة تؤثّر حتى في ذوق ما نأكله. حيث يُمكن أن تأكل شيئًا وتعتقد بأنك تأكل شيئا آخر كليًا (الإيحاء بطرق مُختلفة) أو تعتقد بأن ما تأكله ألذّ بسبب عوامل أخرى.

الكتاب يهدف إلى إيصال فكرة أساسية، بما أننا نأكل بشكل لا واعي، وهو ما قد يدفعنا إلى الأكل بشكل غير صحي وارتفاع أوزنتنا، فلماذا لا نستغل هذه الفرصة لنجعل أكلنا صحيًا أكثر (ركّز على "أكثر" هنا والتي يُقصد بها التحسين المُستمر) ولنفقد تلك الكيلوغرامات الزائدة.
فعلى سبيل المثال، بدل اتّباع حمية قاسية ما تلبث أن تتخلى عنها، يُمكنك التّخلص من 100 حريرة في اليوم فقط، عبر التّخلص من أشياء بسيطة، كإنقاص السكر الذي تستهلكه، أو أكل قطعة حلوى أقل يوميا أو ما شابه، وهو أمر لن يلحظه جسمك، ولن يعرف بأنكّ تتبع حِمية، لكن سينتج عن ذلك فقدان بعض الكيلوغرامات الزائدة على المدى البعيد.

إن كنت مُهتمًا بالأكل بشكل عام وبالطّريقة التي يؤثر فيها غداؤك على حياتك بشكل خاص، فهذا الكتاب مُوجّه خصيصًا لك.

*: consumer behavior : سلوك المُستهلك
Profile Image for Mike Kowalczyk.
17 reviews
June 7, 2013
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 to present a common-sense approach to dieting, which he calls the Mindless Diet. Unlike fad diets, which are either difficult or futile, in each chapter he presents several tips based on his psychological research that ought to help people slowly but steadily lose weight with only a small change of lifestyle. I recommend this book to anyone who knows he or she will want to lose a little weight before the summer (even though it is still winter).
Profile Image for Diane.
1,080 reviews2,654 followers
October 21, 2012
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 Freakonomics books.

Profile Image for Mohammad Ali Abedi.
433 reviews33 followers
April 20, 2020
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). The energy drink on my desk while I’m writing this has 96 calorie. Usually, I get zero sugar versions (wasn’t available) knowing that those little calories can add up. There was a time where I would mock people with their Zero Coca Cola while eating two burgers and a side of fries. Now that I think, so what? 1500 calorie is still less than 1600 calorie.

Understand that your eyes sees the food, not your stomach. I always try to finish whatever there is on my plate. Maybe a part of it is due to upbringing and parents telling us to wipe the plate clean. So, solution today is to have less food on my plate. I have been doing this for a while now. If I have rice, I use smaller plates, and less servings. If I want to, I can refill plate, but usually, it’s easier to resist a second serving than leave rice on my plate.

Related to above, always use smaller plates, bowls, glasses, etc. Why use a tall glass to fill my soda, when I can use a smaller one? Even prepackaged items. If I have to have chips, I should use a smaller bag, rather than a better value larger one, even though I might initially assume I’d just eat half of it. Gratefully, we don’t (yet) have a super-size culture in Iranian fast foods yet, so I don’t have to battle temptation of larger servings of fries and soda.

Hide unhealthy food, and keep healthy food in view. It would be great if I have to pass through the veggies and yogurts and nuts to reach my bar of Snickers.

Understand that we have certain Eating Scripts. We eat more in larger gatherings, men feel that it is manly to have big appetites, the effects of restaurants on how long we stay eating, and so on. To battle against these scripts, we need to practice more self-awareness and understand they exist. Personally, I know I get a certain satisfaction of having a big appetite in gatherings. Given that I am not fat, I always have a certain perverse satisfaction when I eat more than my friends in gatherings. There is a competition aspect of it for me. I need to be more aware of the effect of such scripts in my diet.

Names can affect how we feel about food. By being aware of this, I should restructure my own healthy home-cooked foods to sound better for myself and guests. Companies & restaurants practice this a lot, and instead of them controlling the narrative on my diet, I should do it myself.
Comfort food are generally unhealthy, but that’s not due to their specific characteristics, it’s because they have positive associations from our childhood. So, find out my comfort foods, and replace them with healthier alternatives, by creating positive associations. What if I serve them repeatedly in friendly gatherings, so I can associate positive feelings with them? I realize now that I enjoy fast food at night. To me, it is like a ritual after a hard day. Wait until the kid is asleep, finish all my responsibilities for the day, put on a movie, and enjoy some takeout. Recently, with the coronavirus outbreak, it is almost ten days when I haven’t had any takeouts, and writing this has made me realize that a large part of my love for them is due to the positive associations I have built for them over the years. These comfort food has been a “reward” that I give myself for the end of the day. Could I not instead slowly create a new reward?

The main takeaway (heh) lesson from this book comes from the title “Mindless Eating”. As long as I can change my habit to “Mindful Eating”, than I would have already solved a big part of my diet.
Profile Image for Kovaxka.
531 reviews27 followers
November 17, 2022
Laikusoknak kiváló könyv, csak ajánlani tudom. Sok jó tippet, betartható változtatást javasol a táplálkozási problémák orvoslására, emellett olvasmányos és még humora is van. Sajnos azonban nem tudtam kibújni a szakmai bőrömből, így aztán pár dolgon fennakadtam. Főként azon, hogy táplálkozáspszichológusként a szerző el sem tudja képzelni, hogy a dietetikusok között is van olyan, aki nem újdonságként üdvözli ezeket az ismereteket, sőt alkalmazza is a tanácsadás során. Mivel fogyasztói magatartással és táplálkozásmarketinggel is foglalkoztam már életem során, sok új információval nem lettem gazdagabb, de legalább szórakoztató volt. Nem kell velem foglalkozni, olvassátok, mert hasznos és érdekes.
Profile Image for Tyler.
642 reviews11 followers
August 28, 2021
An interesting and very helpful book with a lot of information about the psychology around food and eating. This book is loaded with practical advice on specific, relatively small changes you can make that add up to a significant difference in our weights over time. This book was a really valuable addition to my self-education on weight loss, and I learned a lot of valuable, actionable advice from this book that I hadn't read about elsewhere. The author's background is in psychology and marketing so his perspective is quite different from other weight loss books I have read, but it was really helpful. I don't fully agree with the author's perspective about how we should eat to have a good life, but there is a lot of gold in the findings of his research.

I highly recommend this book (along with a few others) to people who are serious about losing weight.

Here are some notes I took as I read:
1. Use smaller plates and bowls when eating and serving food. When the dish is empty, stop eating. When you serve food on a smaller plate it is perceived as being more than it actually is because of the contrast of the food with the size of the plate. People put less food on smaller dishes and misjudge how much food is actually on the plate.
2. Use smaller cups for calorie-containing beverages. Also, people automatically will pour more liquid into and drink more out of short and wide glasses than tall and skinny ones. It is an optical illusion. We perceive tall skinny glasses as containing more liquid than they actually do, and short and wide glasses as containing less.
3. See everything you will eat before you eat it. Don’t eat food out of a bag or a box. Put some in a dish and put the bag or box away. Then eat only what is in the dish. When we eat out of a box or bag we will eat more. If we graze we will tend to eat more than if we put everything we are going to eat on a plate and then eat it.
4. When possible, see the detritus of how much you have eaten so that you have a visual cue that tells you how much you have eaten (e.g. leave the bones of the chicken wings you have eaten on your plate; the crusts from the slices of pizza, etc). They did a study and found when the chicken wing bones were left where the diner could see them they ate fewer wings than if the bones were cleared away by waiters and they couldn’t “see” how much they had already eaten.
5. People tend to eat about the same amount of volume of food in a meal, regardless of what the food is. Add more filler (air, water, dark green leafies, other low calorie vegetables) to the meal and people tend to eat fewer calories in that meal.
6. Make small and simple changes in what you do that only reduce your calories by 10-20% or so, and stick with those small changes in a disciplined, persistent way over time. You will lose weight gradually over time, but your body won’t notice the change or fight it against it nearly as much as if you try to lose weight more rapidly through extreme reductions in calories. Identify the right small and simple changes to make and then apply them consistently and be patient.
7. People tend to eat 20-25% more food on average when the food comes from a large package. They pour more out, cook more, eat more, etc just because the food came out of a larger package. Big packages are a visual cue for big servings. You can still enjoy the cost savings of buying in bulk, but the author recommends repackaging food from jumbo bulk packages into smaller ziplocs or tupperware, and then get the food you actually eat out of that.
8. Serving food out of bigger bowls or off of bigger plates also tends to lead us to overeat. Serve foods (especially unhealthy foods) from small dishes to reduce this tendency. You can also do this in reverse if you want to eat more healthy foods. Serve salads, fruits, etc out of big bowls.
9. Use smaller serving spoons or scoops when serving meals. When using larger spoons we tend to scoop more food and eat more food than when using smaller utensils. You can also do this in reverse and use larger utensils to serve healthy foods that you want to eat more of (or want your family to eat more of).
10. Increase the variety (or perceived variety) of the food available to eat increases how much people eat. Put fewer foods in fewer dishes and people will eat less (even putting multiple dishes of the same food causes people to perceive that there is more variety and eat more). They tested this with M&M’s and gave one group of people some M&M’s with 7 colors and another group of people the same number of M&M’s but with 10 colors and the people with 7 colors ate fewer M&M’s than the 10 color group.
11. You can use the variety principle in reverse to get people to eat more of healthy foods. People will eat more of a variety of fruits than they would if there is just one kind of fruit. They will eat more vegetables when there is a wide variety of vegetables than if there is less variety of vegetables available.
12. To get people to eat more healthy food, serve it on big plates from a big bowl with big utensils and have a wide variety available.
13. The more you see food the more you will think about food the more you will feel hunger and the more you will eat. Put unhealthy foods or snacks out of sight. The reverse also works to get people to eat more healthy foods. To get people to eat more fruits and vegetables put them out where they will see them frequently.
14. Make unhealthy /high calorie food inconvenient to buy, cook, and eat. Don’t have it in the house at all if you can. If you do have it in the house put it somewhere far away from the kitchen, up or down stairs, on a high shelf, in a hard to open container, behind other items, or in some other way make it irritating and inconvenient to access. You will eat less. In the reverse, to eat more vegetables and fruit make it as convenient and easy to access as possible.
15. Eat with chopsticks. It makes it more inconvenient and difficult to eat, so you will eat less.
16. Put serving bowls as far away as you can from the table or wherever you are eating. People are less likely to have additional helpings if it is inconvenient to go get them. You can reverse this to get people to eat more vegetables and fruits by putting the serving bowls on the table where people can easily reach them.
17. Eat before going shopping and use a shopping list. You will buy less food.
18. Keep impulse foods out of the house entirely.
19. The longer you stay at the table (especially with other people) the more you will tend to eat. Eating relatively quickly and then leaving the table to go somewhere else will reduce how much you eat.
20. Pre-regulate your consumption by deciding before the meal instead of during the meal.
21. People tend to eat more when they eat with other people. The bigger the group the more we tend to eat. When we eat alone we generally eat less. However, the pace at which people eat and the quantity of food they eat is also affected by who they are with. Heavy eaters often eat less when eating a meal with a slower, lighter eater.
22. The less TV people watch, the skinnier they are. People eat more while watching TV.
23. The more distractions there are while you are eating (TV, radio, etc), the more you will tend to eat.
24. Appetizing aromas cause us to eat more. Unappetizing aromas cause to eat less.
25. Attractive presentation of food causes food to be perceived as better tasting than the same food not presented in an attractive way.
26. Foods with fancier names or descriptions are perceived as tasting better than foods not referred to with a fancy name or description (even when it is the same food). For example, tasters rated “Velvety Chocolate Mousse” as being tastier than identical chocolate pudding referred to as chocolate pudding.
27. People perceive foods of well-known or familiar brands as tasting better than unknown or unfamiliar brands, even if the food is exactly the same. When people taste and rate products without knowing the brand they rate that product differently than they would not knowing the brand. They expect familiar brands to taste better, and then the brain perceives them as tasting better.
28. Mood influences food choice. We are more likely to make healthy food choices when we feel happy than when we feel sad.
29. Add ice to the water you drink and you will burn a few extra calories per day (about 1 calorie per ounce of ice water you drink).
30. When we eat foods labelled as “healthy” or “low fat” etc we actually tend to eat more calories because we perceive them as being good for us, and eat more of the food than we would if it was not labelled that way. We tend to perceive these foods as being much healthier than they truly are.
Profile Image for Carol Bakker.
1,167 reviews78 followers
April 14, 2021
I am certain I didn't give the book/author proper attention. Life's demands (a terminally ill in-law) and other distractions got in the way.

I ping-pong between yearning to be a normal person who eats "normally" and miraculously stays slim ::and:: accepting that food/eating/weight will always be an issue in my life, that I need to use every. single. means. to fight the battle of ounces and pounds.


While I listened, the studies and statistics seemed clinical, even sterile. I must be on the Eat to Nurture Relationships with a Grateful Heart side of the pendulum.

There is much good in this book. Much common sense. I *know* that if I take my granddaughter to the movies and buy a tub of buttered popcorn the size of a VW Bug, that at the end of the movie the tub will be empty and it wasn't Aria who ate it all.

I'm willing to revisit this at some later date, and perhaps revise my reaction.
Profile Image for Ana.
5 reviews9 followers
November 26, 2021
I really enjoyed this book. Contrary to the typical calorie counting diets, the advice found in this book is easier to apply and maintain mindlessly long-term. Although it often mentions tips on how to eat less, similar rules can be applied to eating more or simply healthier.
January 19, 2018
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 this book... today I read that you burn about one calorie for every ice-cold ounce you drink. So if you drink eight 8-oz (64 oz) glasses of water with ice, you will burn an extra 70 cals! Too bad I don't have better access to ice while at work since that is where I drink a lot of water! Although I do start my day with an ice water and end it with ice water...

Finally finished this book. It was interesting and I think I got some takeaways from it. Mostly to be more mindful about my eating habits and if some of them are not healthy, I can do some things to change them and make healthier habits. Most of it is common sense and it's not super shocking how marketing and restaurants manipulate us.

I've always found that serving sizes are way too large. I could be perfectly happy with HALF of a serving most of the time and most of the time, they don't allow you to order a half order... and leftovers are never as good... so yeah, I tend to overeat those meals so I can enjoy them while they are fresh... but I'm getting better at stopping before I feel full and just taking it go and if it's a loss (I don't eat it later) at least my waistline isn't suffering.
July 22, 2020
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 being aware we’re making them.

Sound unbelievable? Most of us think we’re pretty aware of what we eat, but research says otherwise. The studies in the book are both fascinating and hilarious—everything from rigging restaurant soup bowls so they never empty, to feeding movie-goers popcorn that is five days old (but free), to slapping a “North Dakota Vineyard” label on a bottle of wine and seeing how much worse the diners rate the entire dinner because of it.

The food industry pays millions of dollars to figure out how to get us to buy and eat more. The scary thing is that these mindless choices easily add up to gaining 10-20 pounds A YEAR without us having any idea where the weight came from. The good thing is that we can turn this mindless eating on its head—to actually lose 10-20 pounds in a year without noticing we’ve made a change.

The author maintains (as we’ve often heard), that diets don’t work because when we cut back 800 calories a day, both our bodies and our minds feel deprived. However, there is a “mindless margin” of 100-200 calories that we can cut out without noticing or feeling deprived. This doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up to 10-20 pounds LOST in a year, without us even noticing we’re eating less. The book takes the millions of dollars worth of research the food industry has paid for and gives many suggestions of how we can trick our minds and stomachs into mindlessly eating less, while avoiding the tricks restaurants, grocery stores, and food packages use to try to get us to mindlessly eat more.

Wansink has a Ph.D. from Stanford University, is director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, and has been featured on National Public Radio and in the New York Times. The book is part psychology, part marketing, and part nutrition, and written in an easy-to-read format with lots of humor but zero guilt or pressure. It teaches not only how to avoid mindless eating (and weight gain) but how to use mindless eating for your benefit to eat healthier, lose weight, make your dinner guests think dinner is better than it is, and get your kids to enjoy eating “dinosaur trees.”

Recommended for: Anyone interested in psychology, healthy eating, marketing, or getting dinner guests to love your dinners and kids to eat their broccoli. Especially for anyone who hates restrictive, pressure-filled diets but wants to eat better.
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