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Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  8,666 Ratings  ·  1,142 Reviews
In this illuminating and groundbreaking new book, food psychologist Brian Wansink shows why you may not realize how much you're eating, what you're eating-or why you're even eating at all.

- Does food with a brand name really taste better?
- Do you hate brussels sprouts because your mother did?
- Does the size of your plate determine how hungry you feel?
- How much would you e
Paperback, 292 pages
Published August 28th 2007 by Bantam (first published 2006)
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Sep 16, 2010 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
Feb 13, 2009 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.

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
Jul 06, 2008 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
Oct 27, 2008 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
Sep 29, 2007 rated it liked it
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
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
Apr 22, 2009 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
Dec 02, 2012 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
Jul 03, 2013 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
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
Sophia 여정화
Dec 30, 2015 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!

Mike Kowalczyk
Dec 26, 2007 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
Leonidas Kaplan
Sep 07, 2014 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
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
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  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
Jul 26, 2010 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
Apr 06, 2011 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
Feb 07, 2015 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
Dec 08, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
Baví mě ten psychologický přesah, jako "proč si nechávají něktěří lidé to nejlepší na konec a jiní to sní hned", působení reklam a tak, ale téma diet a hubnutí jinak nic pro mě.
Bojana Duke
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Top takeaways:
- most diets fail spectacularly because they rely on deprivation for quick results
- alternately, small changes add up over time
- take advantage of psychological quirks to adjust your patterns so you don't even notice a reduction in food
- pick a single goal and three things you will work on per month towards the goal. track how you do each day for accountability. move on when it becomes mindless habit
- some tips:
* reduce default portion sizes by 20%
* see all the food you plan on eat
Laura Kneeland
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am a veteran dieter. I've tried them all, yet I still peruse the diet section of libraries and bookstores, which tells you how much success I've had keeping weight off. Dr. Wansink gave me a plan to tackle some of my worst habits. The psychological studies were fascinating. I found myself saying, "I would never do that," only to find myself doing exactly THAT the next day. I am more aware of my psychological eating and am now highly motivated to put some of these ideas to the test. I highly re ...more
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a fun book. Learn about the subconscious signals that tell us to eat more or less. You can use this book to help yourself figure out healthy eating strategies, or just use it as a book about human behavior. Lots of studies presented.
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This could land in my top 5 books for 2017.

Finally someone who gets it and has the science to back it up.
Rif Saurous
If you don't live under a rock, you're probably familiar with Brian Wansink's work. He does lots of crazy food studies, like demonstrating how people consume more soup if you give them a bowl that's secretly refilling itself from the bottom, or how if you put folks in a dark room and ask them to evaluate your new strawberry yogurt but give them chocolate yogurt instead they'll think it has a good strawberry flavor. The book's kinda all over the place: overlong, poorly written, chock full of irre ...more
Feb 09, 2009 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
Ryan Dejonghe
Jul 31, 2015 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
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
Beth Peninger
Jul 17, 2014 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
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Play Book Tag: Mindless Eating / Brian Wansink. 3.5 stars 1 11 Feb 25, 2017 02:42PM  
No need to buy another book 4 17 May 28, 2014 02:04PM  
Reading Herbies: Mindless Eating Week 5 Q1 2 17 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
More about Brian Wansink...
“The best diet is the one you don't know you're on.” 27 likes
“There's only one thing that's strong enough to defeat the tyranny of the moment. Habit.” 5 likes
More quotes…