Why We Eat More Than We Think

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Brian Wansink's book Why We Eat More Than We Think is about food habits. The book is a 300-page classic with ten chapters packed with detail on eating habits. It's amusing how little attention people pay to what they eat. Most people know they need to eat less and do more before it is too late. They are oblivious to the connection between the mind and the mouth. The majority of people are unable to link the dots. Nobody is bred to be overweight. The majority of obesity cases are solely the product of fast food consumption. Ironically, healthy food is not all that tasty to the tongue. Most people prefer the food that tastes good as opposed to the one that’s nutritious. They are more concerned about eating at that moment and hence throw caution to the wind. If only they knew what awaits them in future, they would throw that piece of meat away and run for some vegetables.

Wansink outlines simple yet practical ways through which people who indulge in bad eating habits can obtain help (249). He shows that eating is more psychological than physical. This is a fact unknown to many. The book does not require one to be a nutritional scientist to understand it. The author has made an extra effort to make sure the reader fully understands the points he is trying to put across. Brian Wansink is a nutritional scientist who has spent a great deal of time studying and researching on nutrition. He has however gone a step further to understand the psychology of eating. This is what sets this book apart from others. This is unique way to look at eating habits. Most people think eating is physical. However, by reading this book, one cannot help but agree with Wansink that eating is more psychological than it is physical.

It is all in the mind

From the title of the book itself, one look will tell any reader that the book is more concerned on the mid of the eater. This is an eye-catcher which draws the attention of the reader. Apparently, branded food seems to taste better! This is an amazing fact which most consumers aren’t even aware of! Most marketers are aware of this and hence they play around with the minds of consumers by using attractive brand names. This in turn attracts the consumers who mindlessly consume these products just because their names are yummy! Wansink even claims he has conducted research on students who turned out to be guilty of mindless eating. The truth is that no one is exempt from mindless eating. All of us have at one time or another eaten mindlessly.

According to a research conducted, people taste what they think they taste. The research showed people who were given something to taste and majority of them said they tasted what they were told it was as opposed to what it actually was!This is the power of suggestion. It shows how the mind can be tricked to the extent of influencing the tongue. This is a big eye-opener for most people who struggle with bad eating habits as they are able to see that they are their own worst enemy as far as eating habits are concerned. This concept tries to shift the blame from circumstances as well as from other people. With this information, it can be shown that poor eating habits can be overcome and that its causes are more subtle than we thought. If one can harness the power of the mind, then issues like obesity can become a thing of the past. This is a crucial piece of information in the book.


According to Wansink, people are not accountable for they eat. Many just eat without keeping a good account of the much or what they have consumed. It’s a shocking reality that our clothes are what we use to tell whether we are becoming fat or not. It’s interesting that our appetites don’t know when to stop. The more we eat, the more we want to eat. It’s more like bottomless pit. Actually, Wansink notes that there are people who keep on eating as long as the food is availed to them. These people have no self-control. The size of the stomach determines the amount of food to be consumed. This kind of eating habit is very detrimental to anyone who has any hope of overcoming the challenge of obesity or any other diet-related problem. Watching what you eat by keeping a record of the things one has eaten or what one ought to eat will ensure discipline. This is good insight from the book as it helps people to create some sort of eating budget or even timetable which if strictly adhered to can go a long way in promoting good eating habits.

Wansink advises that one should serve food that is twenty percent less while eating. While this may appear a hard decision for some, Wansink encourages that there is no cause for alarm because studies do show that people can actually do it without even noticing. This is one of the practical ideas outlined in the book that a person can apply to their daily lives. This will also make the eater more accountable to his or her own eating practices. Another method that will increase accountability of the eater is eating from smaller plates. It’s an amazing trick that one can play on the mind which will work wonders. A person only needs to reduce the size since the mind won’t notice that much of a difference. This is an amazing truth which again is very practical and realistic.

If it is to be, it is up to you

Wansink puts across this point in a number of ways. He points out that in as much as we can point an accusing finger at other people as being responsible for our bad eating habits; we also have a personal responsibility to check on our eating. He gives one idea that is quite fascinating. He encourages people to make overeating a hassle. Most people overeat whenever they feel like it. Junk food is always within reach and hence very easy to access anytime. Wansink advises that one should take personal responsibility and keep junk food as far away as possible. He says this will make it increasingly hard for a person to want to get because they know the many obstacles they need to overcome to get it. This will create a healthy laziness and eventually the desire will cease. Ease of access is seen here as a major contributor to food related issues. This is a personal responsibility of the affected person.

Another personal responsibility for the eater is to avoid eating ‘temptations.’ These temptations may be as subtle as going to watch a movie with a friend. This leads to people eating popcorn excessively. Since the mind is too preoccupied with what they are watching, they barely recognize that they are overeating. This is common practice among many people and has some degree of truth in it. Avoiding friends who influence you to eat is another personal responsibility outlined in this book. The author also advises on tactics that I believe can really help if applied. He advises that one can do a food trade-off. For example one can decide if they happen to overeat, they will do twenty push-ups. This is a personal discipline that can help a great deal if applied. Personal responsibility is vital in developing healthy eating habits

Author’s goal

The major goal of the author is to use his expertise as well as experience to show people that it is possible to overcome bad eating habits. The author extensively conducted research on this matter before putting it into writing. He has made sure that the wisdom he is outlining here is tested and proven. The research is evident in the quality of information given. Another very important goal of the author is to teach complex things in a simple manner. Mostly, people want simplicity and convenience. They don’t really care so much an author who is trying to prove his masterly of vocabulary or writing prowess. Most readers just want something that is easy to understand. The writer knows all too well that he is not writing primarily to other elites like himself but he is writing to people who don’t have an education background like himself. He therefore uses simplicity in his writing which makes it very easy for anybody to follow and understand.

The author also sincerely wants to give valuable advice to people. It is clear that he is passionate about his career field since he has spent much time doing extensive research as well as conducting experiments. His goal is to influence people’s thinking. He wants to show the people that by altering their minds, they can avoid many problems which are associated with bad eating habits. The author also intends to show the influence of the environment on people’s choice of food. He wishes to bring to light some of the things that people do consciously or subconsciously that may be detrimental to them in the long run. He shows that being around people who are eating can create a desire for you to eat. He warns that one must be careful to avoid such scenarios at all costs (Wansink 269).

Author’s achievements

The author achieves quite a number of goals in this book. One of them is that he is able to reach his intended target effectively. The main target of this book I believe is everyone and not primarily those who struggle with bad eating habits. I believe everyone is a candidate of eating junk food. Everybody at one time or another has also been a victim. Therefore, in writing this book, the author effectively reaches a large target audience with his insight and profound wisdom on the matter of eating. The author opens the eyes of many to the need to watch what they eat. Prior to reading this book, one had been taking for granted the need to have a disciplined eating habit. Nobody really saw the need to take care of what they eat. Everyone was throwing caution to the wind and eating virtually anything that was not moving! After reading this book however, it sends chills down one’s spine. This causes one to think twice before bringing anything to their mouth to eat.

The author has not left the readers with more questions than answers as he has elaborated and illustrated simple and practical ways of following a healthy eating habit. The author however did not give much depth on the health problems associated with bad eating habits. I feel the author could have given more information on this matter since he is an expert after all. People I believe would appreciate the need for a healthy eating habit if they were aware of the dangers of bad ones. I feel the author could have spent some more time explaining on the hazards associated with bad eating habits.


Obesity is a major problem that affects many people. Each one of us is as much a candidate of obesity as anyone. Obesity doesn’t discriminate based on gender or race. It can come upon anybody. Not only obesity, there are also other problems brought about by bad eating habits. This book is a masterpiece for everyone and especially those who want to develop and keep good and healthy eating habits. I would recommend that everybody reads this book. Not only can it be used as a personal guide, but it can also be used to teach. Parents have problems with children who like to eat candy and other junk food all the time. This causes a major issue in the health of children and most end up developing obesity. This problem can be effectively tackled if parents can read this book and apply the knowledge gained in bringing up their children. This book is also very usable in the health sector and nutritionists can apply it as a training manual. It is a must read for everyone. I would certainly recommend it.

Works Cited

Wansick, Brian. Mindless eating: Why we eat more than we think. New York: Bantam Dell, 2006. Print

January 18, 2023

Food Health


Medicine Illness

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Expertise Obesity
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