Read more, munch less

Illustration By Mark Stivers

As we all recover from holiday excess, odds are many of us are thinking virtuously about shedding a pound or 10. Sure, you could pick one of the countless diet books out there and flagellate yourself with faddish eating, but this past year I was more intrigued by Brian Wansink’s new book, Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. Wansink, a researcher at Cornell University, investigates the subtle and not-so-subtle cues that make us eat, well, more than we think. (He doesn’t work for food companies in case you’re wondering.) Everyone knows that people eat more when they have an extra-big bowl or more variety, but did you know that even something as minor as giving someone 10 colors of M&Ms rather than seven makes them eat almost twice as many? Wansink’s book is full of practical tips for combating these cues—and the avoirdupois that comes with them.