Mindless eating is no fun

Mindless eating is no fun

I see that the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab are keeping up the good work of studying the psychology behind the way we eat. Their latest research suggests that we think that expensive food tastes better than less expensive food, even if it’s exactly the same.

I find all of this stuff fascinating. I have long been a fan of Brian Wansink, the director of the Cornell Lab, and often quote his book Mindless Eating.

Here’s what I say in my book Staying well for life.

“Mindless eating is the eating we do without being conscious of it. And, if this is contributing to weight gain you’d rather avoid, you’re in luck because the process is relatively easy to change.

The opposite, mindful eating, means being aware of what you eat and also that you’re eating it. One of the easiest ways to start the process is by deciding not eat when you’re doing something else. For instance, if you’re doing nothing but eating chocolate biscuits you’re far less likely to work your way through a whole packet than if you have them beside you while you’re watching TV.

Another is to be aware of what you’re doing while you’re preparing food. Yes, it’s important to taste what you’re cooking – but are you unconsciously ‘tasting’ an entire portion before you sit down to eat? When you’re grating cheese or adding wine, does as much go into your mouth as into the food?

Then what about when you’re clearing away plates – are you a human vacuum cleaner for leftovers?

The real tragedy is that unconscious eating can pile on the pounds without bringing any pleasure. If you’re not aware that you’re eating how can you be enjoying the experience?”