Thursday, May 03, 2007

Is There a Conspiracy to Make Us Fat?

Thanks to some very frustrating airport delays yesterday, I managed to finish off "Mindless Eating" by Brian Wansink.


This book did not disappoint me. Almost every page had great facts about the way food is marketed and the factors that make us decide to eat. This book is definitely in my list of top-ten must-read nutrition books.


I've been racking my brains trying to figure out the top lesson I learnt from this book so that I could share it with you, and I think I have it.


You know how everybody these days seems to be blaming the food companies for our obesity problem? - As if it's some giant conspiracy?


Well the number one thing I learnt from "Mindless Eating" is that there is no "fat conspiracy".
Food companies do not care if you EAT their foods. They only care if you BUY their foods and continue to BUY their foods.


The people at McDonalds don't care if you buy a happy meal, turn around and throw it in the garbage, just as long as you buy the happy meal.


Also, food isn't designed to be "fattening" (Whatever that means). Food is designed to be inexpensive for the companies to make and desirable enough for you to repeatedly purchase.


This is the great conspiracy. Yes food companies, restaurants and shopping centers go to great lengths to figure out how to make us BUY there food, but we are the ones making the decision to EAT the food.


And this is where some of the great ideas from "Mindless Eating" come into play.
Do you remember the picture of the four glasss I posted on my blog on Monday (look below)? Every glass in the picture contains 1 and a half cups of fluid, except for the small squat one, it has 2 cups.


This is reffered to as the "horizontal-vertical illusion". If you picture an upside-down capital "T" where both the horizontal line and the vertical line are the same length, we will always see the vertical line as being longer.






So if you were to fill the small cup to almost the top, like most of us do, it would contain a little over 2 and a half cups of fluid.


So a morning cup of orange juice could actually be a morning 2-and-a-half cups of orange juice. This could account for an extra 33 grams of sugar and 165 Calories!


This is just one great example of how our assumptions combined with some excellent marketing get us to buy more and consume more. If we can become more aware of these "overeating ques" that are around us every day, then we can be more aware of ways to avoid them.


BP

Fasting Diet, Circuit Training

Stumble Upon Toolbar

3 comments:

Shane said...

I think i'll be checking out "Mindless Eating" myself. Out of curiosity, what would be your top 10 nutrition books, brad?

Brad Pilon said...

Hi Shane.

You know I really don't have a top Ten yet. It's not that I haven't read that many books, its that most of them just aren't that good.

My recommendation would be to start with Mindless Eating, and then move to Omnivore's Dilemma.

Hopefully by the time you've finished those I'll have some more recommendations for you.

(I'm currently reading "What to Eat" by Marion Nestle..hopefully this will hit my top ten list)

BP

Brad Pilon said...

Hi Shane.

You know I really don't have a top Ten yet. It's not that I haven't read that many books, its that most of them just aren't that good.

My recommendation would be to start with Mindless Eating, and then move to Omnivore's Dilemma.

Hopefully by the time you've finished those I'll have some more recommendations for you.

(I'm currently reading "What to Eat" by Marion Nestle..hopefully this will hit my top ten list)

BP