Mindless Eating: The 200 Daily Food Decisions We Overlook

Environment and Behavior, 39:1 (January 2007), 106-23

21 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2016

See all articles by Brian Wansink

Brian Wansink

Cornell University

Jeffery Sobal

Cornell University - Division of Nutritional Sciences

Date Written: May 1, 2006

Abstract

How aware are people of the number of food-related decisions they make in a day and how the environment influences these decisions? Study 1 surveyed 139 people showed they grossly underestimated the number of food-related decisions they made – by an averaged of over 220 decisions – particularly in initiation and cessation of eating. Study 2 content analyzed 749 debriefing comments of controlled field studies. Although the people in these studies overserved and overate 31% more food as a result of having been given an exaggerated environmental cue (large bowl, large spoon, etc.), 52% denied having eaten more, and 45% attributed it to other reasons (such as hunger). These studies underscore two key points: First, we are aware of only a fraction of the food decisions we make. econd, we are either unaware of how our environment influences these decisions or we are unwilling to acknowledge it.

Keywords: Mindless eating, Food-related decisions, estimation, Obesity, Meal Cessation

Suggested Citation

Wansink, Brian and Sobal, Jeffery, Mindless Eating: The 200 Daily Food Decisions We Overlook (May 1, 2006). Environment and Behavior, 39:1 (January 2007), 106-23. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2710887

Brian Wansink (Contact Author)

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Jeffery Sobal

Cornell University - Division of Nutritional Sciences ( email )

Savage Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

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