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Whet your appetite with “Mindless Eating”: A gourmet's deligh!

overshed student, he once tried to convince a date that he had bought a bottle of fine wine for their picnic. All he did was have the liquor store clerk switch pricetags, so the poor girl thought she was drinking a $9.50 bottle of good stuff from Normandy instead of some $2 gem called "Night Train Express". One food expert called Wansink the "Sherlock Holmes of Food" because of his sneaky, scientific investigative skills. Another observer, Robin Jenkins of the Chicago Tribune, termed him "the wizard of why" because of his ability to answer so many food questions. The U.S. government called him to test foods that soldiers eat and how they should be packaged.

Some 95 percent of those who lose weight on a well-meaning but short-lived diet soon gain it back, Wansink says; deprivation diets simply do not work. His advice: eat smaller portions; don't fall for all of the advertising you see or hear; don't be so impressed by the "low calorie" claims of an item that you think you can safely eat three more bags than you normally would. Find smaller dishes and containers; when you are finished or can see the end is near, you are more likely to stop. In one creative experiment the Cornell guru devised a "bottomless soup bowl" for his unsuspecting student guinea pigs. One group ate from a contraption tied to tubes under the table, which refilled itself constantly. But another group that got its soup from a conventional bowl saw the bottom and recognized that they should stop. We do not stop eating when we are "filled up," Wansink has found; if more food is put in front of us, we will put it down the hatch. In the name of science, he has had grad students to his home to party. On one occasion, the snacks were in one or two large bowls. The students snarfed them down quickly. The next night, the goodies were in fewer, smaller bowls, in different rooms. Consumption dropped dramatically.

His adventures with Buffalo wings, popcorn, M&Ms, glasses full of Scotch or
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