I just finished reading Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by marketing professor Brian Wansink. The book is timely because during the extended holiday season of Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year’s I find it difficult to manage my food impulses – especially when there are so many wonderful treats available. (Ditto for the time between New Year’s, the Super Bowl game & Valentine’s Day … as well as any time throughout the calendar year. And so I joke about being “upscale” instead of overweight.)
Besides being a great book – it’s thought-provoking and a fun read – Mindless Eating contains interesting insight on food marketing: like how our dining experience is influenced by our emotional expectations beyond the sensory ones of sight, smell, taste, and touch.
Wine from where?
My favorite example involves the presentation of the same wine, but with different labels (one from California and one from North Dakota) to two groups of consumers in a fine dining situation. The diners’ evaluation of their meals (both groups were given the same food) was predictable. What was surprising, however, was the difference in the amount of food consumed by each group.
The best diet isn’t one
Wansink advocates “the best diet is the one you don’t know you’re on.” So my challenge is to be more aware of my mindless consumption and actually do something about it; i.e., take steps to minimize my tendency to consume more food than is needed or wanted regardless of whether I’m hungry.
Mindless Eating, with its companion website is a good start. And it may just kick-start that number one New Year’s resolution that most of us make each year.