Cornell University, Food and Brand Lab: Why and how do mothers put on weight ?
According to scientific research carried out at Food and Brand Lab, Cornell University, it is emphasized that the effects of external temptations are vital to overcome our weight and overeating problems and to make our daily eating habits healthier.
“You can eat too much without knowing it, but you can also eat less without knowing it.”
In general, most people can’t help putting on weight, overeating and snacking between meals. People who try not to put on weight especially after pregnancy make such complaints. These problems can be alleviated if some small precautions are taken based on food and consumption psychology plus doctor’s advice. According to scientific research carried out at Food and Brand Lab, Cornell University, it is emphasized that the effects of external temptations are vital to overcome our weight and overeating problems and to make our daily eating habits healthier.
When we think of a laboratory, test tubes and bubbling large tubes come to mind, but eating psychology labs focus on people’s behaviour. In such labs, there can be fake living rooms, kitchens or restaurants. They can be equipped with one-way mirrors, hidden cameras and tables with plates having hidden scales underneath. In some of these, there can be taste test stands, small soundproof rooms for detailed interviews and larger rooms where groups can answer the questionnaire questions. It should be mentioned that all studies are pre-approved and an approval is obtained from the university that participants will not get harmed. Such labs can be found at big universities in countries such as the USA, the UK, Canada, Netherlands, France, Germany and Finland or in the hidden labs of some catering firms.
Among them is the Food and Brand Lab, founded by Professor Brian Wansink at Cornell University. This lab focuses on consumer behaviour concerning food. Findings of the lab are rather interesting; How hungry we are and how much we like a specific food are important factors in determining our eating behavior however, the main factor that affects how much we eat and how much we enjoy what we eat is the external factors that surround us. .
According to research, a person can make more than 200 decisions about food per day. Some of these decisions are as follows:
- Whether to have or not to have a breakfast,
- Whether eat at home or take the food with us and eat it on the way,
- Whether to eat or not to eat a chocolate/candy every time we pass a chocolate or candy bowl,
- Whether to accept a food offer at a house we visit as a guest,
- Whether to eat or not to eat a slice of cake every time we see it in the fridge.
From all these decisions we make during a day, it is understood that we can sometimes resist these temptations around us, but sometimes we are trapped by these environmental factors. In a sense, environmental factors mostly determine our eating amount.
- Have you ever eaten with your friends even if you weren’t hungry just because they were eating?
- Have you ever tasted the high-calorie meal you cooked for your family?
- Have you ever tasted a meal just because its colour was wonderful?
- Have you ever eaten something just because it smelled wonderful?
- Have you ever tasted all or part of the food you prepared for your child?
We all think that environmental factors can deceive others except us, and we are sure that we can never fall into the trap. However, if you say yes even to one of the items on the list above, then you have fallen into the trap like everyone else. This is what makes mindless eating so dangerous. We never realize it can happen to us!
Hidden temptations we can face daily are as follows:
- Placement of the food on the table,
- Size of the plates,
- TV programmes we watch
If you want to eat your food guilt-freely and hold your weight-gain under control, you should understand the importance of environmental temptations and accept them and rearrange your environment accordingly.
In order to get detailed information about this matter and arrange your environment properly, you can follow the next articles or you can read the book “Mindless Eating” by Brian Wansink or its Turkish translation “”.
Cornell University, Food and Brand Lab
Consumer Behaviour Expert
Marmara University, Institute of Social Sciences,