May 27, 2004

i'll have a hamburger, hold everything but the patty

Fascinating research. Some of the results here are unbelievably surprising. Here's the gist of this researcher's findings - Variety in food leads to overconsumption. Here's one statistic that blew me away. Persons who were offered six colored flavors of jelly beans mixed together in the same bowl ate 69 percent more than when the colors were not mixed together and in separate bowls. Even more amazing - participants offered a bowl of M&Ms in 10 colors ate 43% more than participants offered a bowl of M&Ms in 7 colors. Wild.

It gets better. In another study the researcher made a soup bowl that could be fed more soup while people were eating (through a tube under the bowl). Men ate 40% more soup and women ate 30% more soup if the soup volume was increased during eating through this feeder.

What's not answered adequately is why this is happening. Although the researcher suspects that people are using the variety to gauge what is a reasonable amount of food to eat. More variety and we misjudge what is appropriate.

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