Professor Brian Wansink, PhD, is the author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think and director of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University. He has conducted more than 250 experiments proving that people have no idea how much they're putting in their mouths or for what reason.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 32.2 percent of American adults are obese. Wansink wants to help. "If we knew why we ate the way we do, we could eat a little less, eat a little healthier, and enjoy it a lot more," he says.
Here are seven essential tidbits from Wansink:
1. People who stock up at discount stores eat up to 48 percent more. If you buy in bulk, put pretzels and other snacks in portion-size Baggies. Never, never, ever eat out of the box.
2. The longer you sit at the table, the more you'll eat. Dine with one friend, you'll eat about 35 percent more. With a group of seven, you'll eat 96 percent more. if you're trying to lose weight, eat alone or with the smallest group possible, and pace yourself with the lightest eater.
3. If you pre-plate your food in the kitchen, you'll eat 14 percent less than if you serve yourself a smaller portion at the table and then take seconds.
4. Brian's rule of two: When eating at a buffet, put only two items at a time on your plate. Even if you make repeated trips, you'll eat a lot less.
5. Always eat in the same room of your house (but not in front of a TV or computer). You won't snack as much.
6. Don't leave serving dieshes on the table unless they're filled with vegetables.
7. A Butterfinger or a hug? What do you really want? Physical hunger builds gradually. Emotional hunger develops suddenly.
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From the November 2006 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
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