Mindless Eating

  • by Brian Wansink
  • Narrated by Marc Cashman
  • 6 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In this illuminating and groundbreaking new book, food psychologist Brian Wansink shows why you may not realize how much you're eating, what you're eating, or why you're even eating at all.



Does food with a brand name really taste better?
Do you hate brussels sprouts because your mother did?
Does the size of your plate determine how hungry you feel?
How much would you eat if your soup bowl secretly refilled itself?
What does your favorite comfort food really say about you?
Why do you overeat so much at healthy restaurants?
Brian Wansink is a Stanford Ph.D. and the director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab. He's spent a lifetime studying what we don't notice: the hidden cues that determine how much and why people eat. Using ingenious, fun, and sometimes downright fiendishly clever experiments, like the "bottomless soup bowl", Wansink takes us on a fascinating tour of the secret dynamics behind our dietary habits. How does packaging influence how much we eat? Which movies make us eat faster? How does music or the color of the room influence how much we eat? How can we recognize the "hidden persuaders" used by restaurants and supermarkets to get us to mindlessly eat? What are the real reasons most diets are doomed to fail? And how can we use the "mindless margin" to lose, instead of gain, 10 to 20 pounds in the coming year?
Mindless Eating will change the way you look at food, and it will give you the facts you need to easily make smarter, healthier, more mindful, and enjoyable choices at the dinner table, in the supermarket, in restaurants, at the office, and even at a vending machine - wherever you decide to satisfy your appetite.

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What the Critics Say

"Entertaining...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." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Mindless Reading

I'd hoped for insights on more deeply psychological reasons for mindless eating, and tips for overcoming mindless eating. Alas, this is mostly just a recitation of the author's numerous field and academic studies proving (or attempting to prove) that packaging, portion size, relative dish or bowl or glass sizes, and the like affect the amounts people eat and drink. Only near the very end does he address how to cope with these variables, but it's pretty obvious by then. My main gripe is the excess of needlessly detailed and repetitive study data going to prove a few not very original or helpful points about what makes people misjudge portion sizes and, as a result, overeat. Would have made an okay 4-page magazine article; maybe that's how it started? Certainly the tone of the book reflects the stale cliches and puffy and quickly dated pop culture references one expects in popular magazine writing--and the result sounds stiff and insincere. Sorry, the topic does not merit and the style does not suit a book of this length.
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- Jim

Frustrating book on a lot of levels...

I liked the premise of the book, but found actually listening to it frustrating on a lot of levels. He spends a lot of time on specific food interactions, but never really steps back to look at the question of why people are having such strong food cravings and eating so much junk food. Advice like "if you eat one fewer donuts per day that adds up to losing 20 lbs a year" doesn't really do much for me. He also doesn't really seem to examine whether the people who avoid junk food by not walking through the kitchen when they got home didn't go back later. The book also suffers from the author's conviction that pretty much all weight gain and food related issues arise from the context of people's day to day interactions with food. The obesity epidemic had a physical beginning in the early 1980s and if you were to take this book literally you'd have to assume that this was entirely due to secretaries moving their candy jars from 6 feet away to 3 feet away and more people entering their home through the kitchen rather than the garage, combined with increasing the size of dinner plates and using short wide glasses rather than tall thin ones. I'd suggest that rather than studying what makes a person eat 30 M&Ms vs 50, the author should start to work on studying how to get rid of these cravings. You can move a bowl of candy further away from you, but you're deluding yourself if you think you'll lose much weight with a bowl of candy around to begin with.
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- Ty

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-03-2006
  • Publisher: Books on Tape