Mindless Eating Book Summary - Mindless Eating Book explained in key points
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Mindless Eating summary

Brian Wansink

Why We Eat More Than We Think

4.3 (92 ratings)
16 mins

Brief summary

'Mindless Eating' by Brian Wansink is a guide to understanding why we overeat and how to make healthier choices. It shares practical tips for changing our eating habits and creating a healthier relationship with food.

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    Mindless Eating
    Summary of 9 key ideas

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    Restaurants and marketers can use all kinds of tricks to influence what we eat.

    Do you believe that marketing and advertising have no effect on you? Say, when you’re choosing which groceries to buy? “Sure, other people may be swayed by good marketing,” you might think, “but not me!”

    And although you wouldn’t be alone in this belief – almost everyone thinks they’re impervious to marketing – it turns out that, when it comes to food, there are some marketing tricks that work on everyone.

    First of all, good marketing can make foods seem more appealing.

    For example, it has been found that plopping positive descriptive adjectives in front of the names of dishes on restaurant menus generates more sales and greater customer satisfaction than using “boring” names.

    In one experiment, a restaurant served the same menu twice, one week apart, but used different names for the same dishes, for example, “Seafood Filet” was transformed into “Succulent Italian Seafood Filet.” Patrons who’d seen the more descriptive name found the dish tastier, and felt better about the restaurant in general, despite the dish being made the exact same way.

    Second, brand marketing can also influence our perception of food. For example, we often presume that recognized brands like Coca-Cola or Ben & Jerry’s will taste better than “generic” alternatives. This impression is so powerful that, although blind taste tests indicate we perceive no difference between the brand-name and generic products, we’re still willing to pay more for the brand.

    Finally, we’re also affected by things like lighting, music, temperature and decor when we eat – the things we would say comprise the “atmosphere” of the meal. When lights are bright and the music has a quick tempo, we tend to eat more quickly than with slow music and dim or natural light.

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    What is Mindless Eating about?

    Mindless Eating explores the diverse messages and influences that constitute our eating habits, which we tend to follow “mindlessly.” It also offers practical solutions on how to exploit these subconscious influences in order help meet our health or weight-loss goals. Please note that the validity of some of the research underlying the author’s work have since been called into question.

    Mindless Eating Review

    Mindless Eating (2006) explores the unconscious patterns and habits that drive our eating behavior. Here's what sets this book apart:

    • Offers practical strategies to regain control over our eating choices, helping us make healthier decisions without feeling deprived or restricted.
    • Backed by scientific research and experiments, it reveals fascinating insights into the many factors that influence our eating habits, from portion sizes to environmental cues.
    • Through relatable stories and anecdotes, the book keeps readers engaged, shedding light on the hidden aspects of our eating habits and offering realistic solutions for a more mindful approach.

    Who should read Mindless Eating?

    • Anyone who can’t manage to stick to their diet
    • Anyone who wants to make positive, healthy changes to their life
    • Anyone interested in psychology

    About the Author

    Brian Wansink was the Professor of Consumer Behavior and Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University, and Executive Director of the USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. He has been accused of academic misconduct in his research, which led to his resignation from Cornell. Several of his research papers have since been retracted.

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    Mindless Eating FAQs 

    What is the main message of Mindless Eating?

    The main message of Mindless Eating is that our eating habits are influenced by subtle external cues, and by understanding these cues we can make healthier choices.

    How long does it take to read Mindless Eating?

    The reading time for Mindless Eating varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Mindless Eating a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Mindless Eating is a valuable read as it sheds light on the unconscious factors that affect our eating habits, helping us make more mindful choices. It is definitely worth reading.

    Who is the author of Mindless Eating?

    The author of Mindless Eating is Brian Wansink.

    What to read after Mindless Eating?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Mindless Eating, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Feeding You Lies by Vani Hari
    • Why Diets Make Us Fat by Sandra Aamodt
    • The Hunger Habit by Judson Brewer
    • Chasing Excellence by Ben Bergeron
    • Good Energy by Casey Means
    • Moore’s Law by Arnold Thackray
    • Hyperfocus by Chris Bailey