I recently read a list of five books that changed the author’s life, and Mindless Eating was at the top of the list. Its basic premise is that the quantity we eat is not determined by hunger, but by many environmental factors. Wansink believes our eating is influenced by the presence of family and friends, labels, lighting, plate size, smells, habits, variety, and many other factors. Until I read Mindless Eating, I would have disagreed. After all, I have a master’s degree in psychology, regularly log my food into the Lose It app and am very weight conscious. I had a change of heart after finishing the book.
What I especially like about Mindless Eating is that Wansink, a consumer behaviorist, supported his assertions with scientific studies. He also provides tips at the end of each chapter showing how to avoid overeating pitfalls, thereby reducing “mindless” calories. For example, he suggests snaking only at the table using a small, clean plate or bowl-he asserts eating out of a package, especially a large one, leads to overeating, as does eating while distracted (like while watching television). If you’re interested in learning why you eat what you do and/or how to change your approach to food, Mindless Eating is a life-changing tool.