<B>You'd better think</B>According to Brian Wansink, author of the fascinating, informative <B>Mindless Eating</B>, we make more than 200 decisions about eating every day. It's no wonder Americans have such a love-hate relationship with our food.
Wansink, director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, has made a career breaking down the phenomenon of mindless eating: We ignore serving sizes even when they're printed right on the label. We gravitate toward name brands because we assume we are getting a better product. We roll through the drive-through for French fries even though we know a banana would be an infinitely healthier snack choice.
Why do we sabotage ourselves with reckless consumption? It's easy to blame the food industry, but Wansink doesn't cast blame there and urges readers not to, either. (He hears regularly from food-industry reporters writing conspiracy stories such as why Pop-Tarts come two to a package if a serving size is one. Does the Kellogg's brand want us to become helplessly hooked on their toaster pastries? No, Wansink explains. It's a simple issue of economics: It's cheaper for the company to package two tarts together).
Instead, Wansink puts the onus on readers to be thoughtful consumers both at the store and at the table and offers sensible ways to do just that. We may not be able to outlaw every drive-through restaurant or tax every pint of ice cream in our community, he writes, but we can re-engineer our personal food environment to help us and our families eat better.