Washington: A consumer psychologist has said that dieters may not need as much willpower as they think, if they make simple changes in their surroundings that can result in eating healthier without a second thought.
“Our homes are filled with hidden eating traps,” said Brian Wansink, PhD.
“Most of us have too much chaos going on in our lives to consciously focus on every bite we eat, and then ask ourselves if we’re full. The secret is to change your environment so it works for you rather than against you.
“People don’t think that something as simple as the size of a bowl would influence how much an informed person eats,” he said.
However, several studies show exactly that, including Wansink’s study of 168 moviegoers, who ate either fresh or stale popcorn from different size containers.
People ate 45 percent more fresh popcorn from extra-large containers than large ones and the people who were eating stale popcorn ate 34 percent more from the extra-large buckets than people eating fresh popcorn, according to the study.
The study also found that people pour about 37 percent more liquid in short, wide glasses than in tall, skinny ones of the same volume.
One of his studies showed that people lost up to two pounds a month after making several simple changes in their environment, including:
• eating off salad plates instead of large dinner plates.
• keeping unhealthy foods out of immediate line of sight and moving healthier foods to eye-level in the cupboard and refrigerator.
• eating in the kitchen or dining room, not in front of the television.
“These simple strategies are far more likely to succeed than willpower alone. It’s easier to change your environment than to change your mind,” Wansink concluded.
The findings were presented at the American Psychological Association’s 119th Annual Convention.