Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think

Brian Wansink, Ph.D.
Bantam Books
2006, $33.00


For most of us, our world is set up with “invisible”  factors such as smells or even colours that invite us to eat more  than we really need to satisfy our appetites. By uncovering these  factors behind what and how much we eat, Mindless Eating provides  practical everyday “re-engineering strategies” that  may help you to eat less and better.

For example,  if you stop eating when you are about 80% full, you won’t  likely miss that extra 20% of food. Meal after meal and month  after month that can really add up.

This easy “re-engineering strategy” can help you to  eat better. Move your veggies out of the crisper, front and centre  in a clear container in the fridge so you can easily spot them  and you’ll likely eat more of them.

Concepts such  as these and more are presented in this easy –to- read and  understand book that does a good job of balancing research findings  with entertaining and practical examples. As an affiliate member  of the American Dietetic Association and a practicing food psychologist,  the author is a credible source of information on this topic.

This book  has a broad appeal and while not intended to be a “diet”  book the tips and information are suitable for people who struggle  with portion control or want to achieve a healthy body weight.  Health professionals may find the insights into food marketing  interesting as well.


While the “re-engineering strategies” are insightful  and practical, they seemed to get lost in the book. Listing them  in an index or providing a summary of the strategies would be  helpful. At one point, the author assumes that childrens’  favourite foods are empty-calorie foods. We felt that was an overgeneralization.

Bottom Line

We highly recommend this book. Healthy eating is about  more than knowing what and how much to eat and this book helps  to fill that gap. Being aware of the various cues from package  and plate size to clever marketing tactics that influence our  food choices is a powerful tool for anyone that wants to eat healthy.

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