Do You Really Know How Much You Eat?

man eating large bowl of cereal

by Alice Henneman, MS, RDN & Extension Educator

We make more than 200 food-related decisions daily, and aren't aware of 90 percent of them, according to Brian Wansink, Ph.D. and director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab.

Perhaps you think you just make three food decisions daily: Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Well, think again. We choose how much milk to pour on cereal, whether to have a second piece of toast, if we want to add sugar to our cereal, and if so, how much and what type, and if we'll eat that doughnut at the office, and on and on and on.

"Most of us don't overeat because we're hungry," says Dr. Wansink in his book, Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. We overeat, according to Wansink, because of such influences as family, friends, packaging, plates, labeling, shapes, distances and containers.

Wansink's studies suggest we can eat 20 percent more or 20 percent less without being aware of it. Becoming more mindful about even one eating practice can be significant. Daily eating 100 calories more than needed can result in a weight gain of 10 pounds a year!

Take this short 6-question quiz and see if you can guess the results of some of Wansink's research studies.

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