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Episode 61 – Brian Wansink

‘Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think’ by: Brian Wansink

Dr. Brian Wansink –  Director of the Cornell Food & Brand Lab, marketing guru, author and MUCH more.

The Boston Medical Center indicates that approximately 45 million Americans diet each year and spend $33 billion on weight-loss products in their pursuit of a trimmer, fitter body.  I’d be willing to bet, if you are reading this, you have tried SOME form of diet in your lifetime.  I would ALSO be willing to bet, that you didn’t stick with that diet very long.  So let me just say in advance…you are welcome! Jon and I are here to tell you to stop worrying about what you eat.  Stop fretting every time you make a food decision, you are GOING to screw it up.  I can almost hear your brain asking “Is this a trick? Why should we listen to you schmucks?”.  And our response, don’t listen to us – listen to this week’s episode!

If you were to interview someone about technology, you would want it to be Bill Gates (RIP Steve Jobs).  If you were to interview someone about investing, you would want it to be Warren Buffett.  If you were to interview someone about how our environment and the food industry influences eating habits, you would want to talk to Dr. Brian Wansink….so that’s exactly what we did.

Dr. Wansink earned his Ph.D. in marketing at Stanford and is currently a Professor of Marketing and the Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab (which he founded) at Cornell University. The Food & Brand Lab focuses on the psychology behind what people eat and how often they eat it.  The lab itself is a series of test kitchens, restaurants, and cooperating grocery stores that are used to understand how consumers “choose and use” foods. With the help of researchers from psychology, history, food science, cultural anthropology, and agricultural and consumer economics, the mission of the Food & Brand Labs’ studies is to help consumers eat more nutritiously and behave responsibly. His research on consumption volume has won national and international awards for its relevance to consumers. His research has been widely featured on 20/20, BBC News, The Learning Channel, all news networks, and on the front pages of the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times. ”

From 2007-2009, Wansink accepted a White House appointment as the fourth Executive Director of the USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP). At CNPP, he oversaw the development of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, the Healthy Eating Index, the Cost of Raising a Child Index, and he is charged with promoting the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, in the form of MyPyramid. In 2011, Wansink was elected to a one-year-term as president of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior .

A lot of the topics we cover in this episode are covered in greater detail in his fascinating book, Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think.  Learn more about Dr. Wansink at  http://brianwansink.com/ and more about his book at  http://mindlesseating.org/index.php.

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