How do we end up consuming so much?

–>  BIG SERVINGS.  People who are given larger buckets or packages of popcorn, ice cream, candy, etc consume more than those given a smaller bucket or package.  According to Brian Wansink up to 34% more!  This adds up fast!

–>  FANCY NAMES.  Cafeteria and restaurant sales increase when foods are given descriptive names such as “Belgian Black Forest Cake” instead of “Chocolate Cake”.  Furthermore, people are apt to order more food — 2 entrees instead of 1, or get dessert when they may not have in the first place.

–>  PLATEWARE.  People rate the taste of food higher when its served on larger plate or using nicer ware such as fine china, than on a smaller dish or a paper napkin.  If people aren’t satisfied they tend to eat more.  Also, people consume more when served on larger dishes.  Someone may only consume half of their food on a large 14″ plate thinking they are consuming a very small amount; but when this is compared to consuming half of their food on a smaller 9″ plate, they are quickly mistaken!

–>  FAMILY STYLE.  When serving dishes are left on the table during a meal, as opposed to the kitchen counter, both men and women tend to consume more.

–>  PACE MATTERS.  People generally eat more if they are enjoying a meal with quick eaters, as opposed to eating with people that are slower eaters.

–>  EVIDENCE.  People eat less when they can see how much they have eaten.  In other words, people eat less chicken wings, pizza, etc. if they can see the bones or crusts from what they have already eaten than if the bones/crusts were whisked away.

–>  MARKETING IS MEAN.  People eat more of a product, such as trail mix, snack mix, chips, when they are labeled as “low-fat”, than if the label did not say that.

–>  HEALTHY EATING YES OR NO?  People underestimate the amount of calories consumed if they believe that the establishment they are eating in is healthy.  For instance, people who think Subway is healthy underestimate the calories more than they underestimate the calories when eating at Burger King.

–>  EXERCISE REWARDS.  Some “worker outers” feel that they can consume a lot more dinner or more dessert, if they workout.  This is especially common in those newer to working out, or those that are “yo yo exercisers”.  People ate more dinner/dessert after they went on a “scenic walk”, than after they went on a “exercise run”.  These extra calories can negate the benefits of the workout, so be careful with what it is you’re eating more of!

–>  IF YOUR EYES COULD EAT.  Just because something looks delicious doesn’t mean it needs to be eaten.  Covering up a clear refrigerator door, or cabinets can decrease the amount of eating.  Be aware — does something look appealing or are you truly hungry?