How Our Eyes Deceive Our Appetites

Your Gut Is All in Your Head (Sort of)

One of this year’s Ig Nobel awards goes to a researcher who has gotten to the bottom, if you will, of insatiable appetites. (The Ig Nobel awards go to science that is entertaining or odd, though typically the research is still of value.) Brian Wansik, a nutrition professor and the author of “Mindless Eating”, won the award for his explorations into the murky world of soup. Though diet guides often recommend starting a meal with a light soup to help reduce overall calorie consumption while still feeling sated, Dr. Wansik has found that this is not always the case. As it turns out, size matters: it all comes down to the dish in which the soup is served.

Dr. Wansik found that people who were given a secret “bottomless bowl” ate 75% more soup than those eating from standard bowls. Our appetites are dependent upon visual cues, such as how much food is left in the dish, rather than on how full we actually feel.

Moral of the story? Throw out those bottomless bowls, obviously.

We’re kidding! To cut calories, try the following:

– Simply practice being mindful of how much and how fast you are eating.

– Replace all your large bowls with small cup-portioned bowls.

– Replace large pasta bowls and big dishes with small salad bowls and plates. Use those for all your entrees.

– When dining out, immediately split your entree in half and put one portion in a to-go container for tomorrow’s lunch. Or share the dish with your friend or spouse.

– When ordering soups (a smart idea), go for the smallest size and stick to vegetable soups or broth-based soups instead of heavy cream soups like clam chowder.

– Always eat a small salad with dinner before starting in on the main course.

– Always eat a large salad filled with veggies and delicious toppings (but not fried ones!) for lunch.

Further reading:

How to Cheat

8 ‘Health’ Foods That Contain High Fructose Corn Syrup

Sani Eliza Flickr Photo (CC)

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