Via the Nutrition Action Health Letter, research on people’s eating habits has had some interesting and even amusing results. Highlights include:
Fancy names. Cafeteria sales jumped by 27 percent when foods were given descriptive names like “Succulent Italian Seafood Filet” (instead of “Seafood Filet”) or “Belgian Black Forest Cake” (instead of “Chocolate Cake”).
More variety, more calories. People ate about 40 percent more if they had a choice of candy that came in six different colors than if the candy came in four colors.
Who sets the pace? People ate more when they sat at a table with someone who ate quickly than with someone who ate slowly.
Healthy restaurant? People who believed that Subway meals were healthy underestimated the calories in Subway meals more than they underestimated the calories in McDonald’s meals.
I’d also add to this my own unscientific observation that people eat more while watching comedies than dramas on television. If true, I couldn’t say why. But human nature is quite a fascinating subject to speculate upon.