FROM OUR EXPERTS
Brian Wansink loaned me the title for this article. I borrowed it from his forthcoming book, Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More That We Think.
The book, which I read in galley proofs, is not only great research but also great writing. I hope that it will be a best-seller, and I have every expectation that it will be. Bantam Books will publish it as a hardcover on October 17 for $25, ISBN 978-0-553-80434-8. You can pre-order it now from Amazon.com .
Professor Wansink, the director of Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab, has spent 20 years studying the hidden cues that determine how we eat. He has worked on more that 250 studies and has written more than 100 journal articles about our eating behavior.
He told me about his new book when I corresponded with him about one of those studies. I reported on that study, “Size Matters,” here .
The book is every bit as useful and interesting as that study of the cues that we get from the size of the bowls and silverware that we use. That ...
How much we eat matters. It determines our size, which in turn is the most important part of controlling our diabetes.
But what determines how much we eat? It can’t be just because we are hungry, since almost everyone overeats sometimes. We get cues from our environment.
The good news is that we can control one of these cues, which gives us a simple way to guide ourselves to eating less. For a long time some dieters have assumed that this cue works. Now we have the scientific proof that it does.
The size of the bowls that we eat out of and the size of the spoons that we use to serve ourselves matters. Most of us can use smaller bowls and spoons to help ourselves better control how much we eat. On the other hand, people who need to put on weight can use bigger bowls and spoons.
It’s just an illusion. But even when we know that it is an illusion it can help us. After learning about this research, I have shifted from serving myself in big bowls to small bowls and on dinner plates...
The huge amounts of food on our tables during these holidays and the stress that often goes with these big family meals don’t have to destroy our diabetes management. Even when we eat too much, we have a way to make up for it and at the same time relieve the stress of these gatherings. Not overeating in the first place would, of course, be better. But just like nobody has a perfect body, none of us has perfect discipline. And we have no better time than the holidays for making exceptions.
Don’t ever tell me that you cheat on your diet. If you ever cheat, it’s when you take something from someone else or from all of us that you don’t have a right to have. On the other hand, when we make an exception to what we know is good management of our diabetes, we do it for our immediate gratification at the expense of our long-term benefit. W all do this sometimes: we would have to be a saint or enlightened to manage our impulses perfectly all the time. Any overeatin...
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