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December 22, 2004

Food Psychology

The holidays frequently bring extra pounds because of the amount of food made available in a variety of settings and because we tend to exercise less. Research by Brian Wansink, professor of business administration, is in the news as food columnists apply his results to holiday eating. Wansink has spent the past 18 years (and 150 studies) investigating how the things we don't notice have an impact on our food consumption.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Dec. 22)-- A person's comfort-food preferences are formed at an early age.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Dec. 22) -- In a study of 770 people, researchers led by Brian Wansink found that adults who prefer vegetables tend to enjoy a wider variety of tastes, spicier foods and more tannic red wines. They also might be more adventuresome about trying new recipes, eat fewer desserts and entertain more guests.

The Globe and Mail (Toronto, Dec. 22) -- Most of us don't realize we eat as much as we do. According to Wansink, there are many environmental triggers below our radar screens that make us unknowingly overeat. The size of a package, the shape of a glass, food proximity, variety, convenience, even the words on a menu can influence how much and what we eat.



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