Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Review: Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Then We Think by Brian Wansink, Ph.D.

Synopsis: According to Wansink, director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, the mind makes food-related decisions, more than 200 a day, and many of them without pause for actual thought. This peppy, somewhat pop-psych book argues that we don't have to change what we eat as much as how, and that by making more mindful food-related decisions we can start to eat and live better. The author's approach isn't so much a diet book as a how-to on better facilitating the interaction between the feed-me messages of our stomachs and the controls in our heads. In their particulars, the research summaries are entertaining, like an experiment that measured how people ate when their plates were literally "bottomless," but the cumulative message and even the approach feels familiar and not especially fresh. Wansink examines popular diets like the South Beach and Atkins regimes, and offers a number of his own strategies to help focus on what you eat. (From the Back of the Book)

Review: I've read several books about nutrition and eating, and this is a new favorite. Wansink's overall message is simple: We eat more then we should due to cues and habits around us. Each of us has something called a “Mindless Margin” - a range of 200-300 calories that we could do without and not miss. The key, he says, is to find small ways in our diet to eat less – use a smaller plate, use a tall glass, set the candy dish across the room, eat slower, don’t put the food on the table etc. The goal is to trick yourself into eating less in ways you won’t notice it until your pants are a bit lose. His prose is clear, concise, amusing and interesting. Each chapter ends with practical ways to incorporate what he’s telling you into your life - he even has a free website! If you are a chronic dieter, need to lose a few pounds or just want to be more aware of your eating habits, this is the book for you. It’s a quick read and highly interesting.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 2-8-2011
Pages: 284

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