Every single day you make more than 200 food decisions–yes 200!

But do you have any idea what drives your food choices? Why you crave certain foods and dread eating others? Why some diets fail and some diets succeed?

We are unaware of 90% of our food decisions. Here at the Science of People, I like to explore the hidden forces that drive our behavior. For May, I have decided to focus on the behavior behind food…or rather, the science of eating. Enter our May Book club book:

Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think

By Brian Wansink, Ph.D.

Read our summary of the book here: Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think

I know this is not our typical kind of people science book. But I just started reading it and realized it is a gold-mine of interesting human behavior research. How we eat speaks to some of the larger emotional issues of who we are. Eating is also a fundamental part of being human. The Science of People is about studying and optimizing all kinds of human behavior, even snacking! I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have–and I am only in the first 3 chapters. Let’s read together! Here is more about the book:

Book Description:

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.

Questions this book answers:

• 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–ten to twenty 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–even at a vending machine–wherever you decide to satisfy your appetite.

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Book Reviews:

From Publishers Weekly

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: at a dinner party, “try to be the last person to start eating.” Whether readers take time to weigh their decisions and their fruits and vegetables remains to be seen. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Anyone who’s tried to follow a strict eating regimen knows how futile it sometimes seems. Nutritional science and marketing professor Wansink explores some of the psychological aspects of overeating to explain why we in fact consume more than we believe we do. He advocates weight-loss diets that cut calories by cutting overall consumption, instead of draconian elimination of intake. Wansink finds the greatest value in retraining one’s mind and its perceptions by devices such as making sure one’s plate contains at least half vegetables or salad. He suggests that a dieter will automatically eat less in social situations by being the last to start eating and the first to finish. He assesses the dangers of food shopping in bulk-portion stores, where customers are virtually begged to overconsume. Wansink’s dual approach emphasizing food knowledge and self-knowledge offers a sensible route to permanent weight loss. A useful appendix arranges different popular diets in tables along with their advantages and disadvantages. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Reading Questions:

Answer in our book club forum!

    1. Do you enjoy eating?
    2. What’s your eating script? Where does it come from?
    3. Who’s your nutritional gatekeeper?

Read our summary of the book here: Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think

Here is a little more about Science of People book club:

My Challenge:

If I dedicate myself to this book club I have to read regularly and avidly. I have to be engaged in my reading instead of passively skimming. I am hoping you can help keep me accountable. My challenge is to read right, learn new skills and share the knowledge with you.

Your Challenge:

I am not sure if you have done your Goal-Setting yet, but I have a challenge for you:

Read with us. Learn with us. Grow with us.

Goal: Read 12 books this year and supercharge your people skills.

Challenge accepted! I’m reading with @vvanedwardsclick to tweet

How Often?

We will read one book per month. I will post discussion questions, ideas and challenges as we read. I hope you will too! We might even do a google hangout video call to discuss in addition to the forums.

What Kind of Books?

I hope you will help me pick the books! My hope is that we pick books that help improve our people skills in some way, shape or form. This is most likely non-fiction, but I am very open to fiction that looks at people skills through stories. You suggest the book and we vote on it!

And, of course you can get the books as library books, audio books, Kindle books or whatever you want! All of our discussions and post will be public.

Can’t wait to read with you.


All Rights Reserved + COPYRIGHT 2015 Science of People, LLC

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