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Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think Paperback

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Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think + The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite + In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (December 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345526880
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345526885
  • Product Dimensions: 2.7 x 4.3 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (294 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,491 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

According to Wansink, director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, the mind makes food-related decisions, more than 200 a day, and many of them without pause for actual thought. This peppy, somewhat pop-psych book argues that we don't have to change what we eat as much as how, and that by making more mindful food-related decisions we can start to eat and live better. The author's approach isn't so much a diet book as a how-to on better facilitating the interaction between the feed-me messages of our stomachs and the controls in our heads. In their particulars, the research summaries are entertaining, like an experiment that measured how people ate when their plates were literally "bottomless," but the cumulative message and even the approach feels familiar and not especially fresh. Wansink examines popular diets like the South Beach and Atkins regimes, and offers a number of his own strategies to help focus on what you eat: at a dinner party, "try to be the last person to start eating." Whether readers take time to weigh their decisions and their fruits and vegetables remains to be seen. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Anyone who's tried to follow a strict eating regimen knows how futile it sometimes seems. Nutritional science and marketing professor Wansink explores some of the psychological aspects of overeating to explain why we in fact consume more than we believe we do. He advocates weight-loss diets that cut calories by cutting overall consumption, instead of draconian elimination of intake. Wansink finds the greatest value in retraining one's mind and its perceptions by devices such as making sure one's plate contains at least half vegetables or salad. He suggests that a dieter will automatically eat less in social situations by being the last to start eating and the first to finish. He assesses the dangers of food shopping in bulk-portion stores, where customers are virtually begged to overconsume. Wansink's dual approach emphasizing food knowledge and self-knowledge offers a sensible route to permanent weight loss. A useful appendix arranges different popular diets in tables along with their advantages and disadvantages. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

I'm a professor whose mission is to help transform people's lives by finding the small changes that make the big difference. Most of my work is around food psychology and changing behavior -- what and how much someone eats.

For the past year, I've had an incredible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I was offered a Presidential appointment to be the Executive Director for USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) -- it's the group in charge of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines and the Food Guide Pyramid (MyPyramid). We're doing lots of great things, but I'll return to Cornell as a Professor on January 21st 2009, when the new administration starts. In the meantime, check out MyPyramid.gov.

Okay, now here's the official boring bio:

Brian Wansink (Ph.D. Stanford 1990) is author of the best-selling book, Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think (Bantam 2006) and of Marketing Nutrition (UIllinois Press 2005).

He is the John Dyson Professor of Consumer Behavior at Cornell University, where he directs the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. Previously, has been a professor of Nutritional science and of Marketing at Dartmouth College, the Vrije Universiteit (The Netherlands), the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, INSEAD (France), and he was a visiting scientist at the U.S. Army Research Labs in Natick, MA.

His award-winning academic research on food psychology and behavior change has been published in the world's top marketing, medical, and nutrition journals. It has been presented, translated, reported, and featured in television documentaries on every continent but Antarctica.

The research findings of he and his colleagues have also contributed to the introduction of smaller '100 calorie' packages (to prevent overeating), the use of taller glasses in some bars (to prevent the overpouring of alcohol), and the use of elaborate names and mouth-watering descriptions on some chain restaurant menus (to improve enjoyment of the food).

An Iowa native, he lives with his family in Ithaca, NY, where he regularly enjoys both French food and french fries.

John Dyson Chair of Marketing and of Applied Economics
Director - Cornell Food and Brand Lab
110 Warren Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-7801

Customer Reviews

Very informative and easy to read.
Even if you only get one tip out of this book you will agree it was well worth a read!
MINDLESS EATING--this book completely changed how i approach food.
J. Poulos

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

152 of 159 people found the following review helpful By D. Buxman TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dr. Wansink is a food psychologist who specializes in the investigation of the mental and emotional factors that cause us to eat. This book demonstrates that we can lose weight, simply by being more mindful of our eating habits. It contains interesting and humorous case studies that highlight those mindless activities that add 200 or 300 calories to our diet each day and which can add up to 20 or 30 excess pounds in the course of a year.

The author provides practical suggestions at the end of each chapter that will help you to make the simple changes that will allow you to lose 2 or 3 pounds per month without resorting to conventional diet techniques that are doomed to failure. Although this book is based upon scientific research and extensively end-noted, it is enjoyable to read, easy to understand and quite funny at times.

This book is a great value for the money and the five or six hours that it will take to read it.
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93 of 96 people found the following review helpful By Kristen Willard on September 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
At the beginning, I wasn't very surprised with the ideas in this book. Everyone knows a smaller plate means you eat less. But it is so much more than that. It had the feel of Freakonomics and The Tipping Point with innumerable studies to explain our relationship with food. After reading Mindless Eating I understand why Doritos just introduced "two-flavor" bags of chips. My high school children really enjoyed listening to the studies and we've been applying them in the kitchen. It turned out to be the best non-diet (but lose weight) book I've read.
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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Menes on May 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Last November, 16 months after my son was born I was still carrying an extra 45 pounds. I bought this book just after Thanksgiving, read it, and took the author's advice to just try three of his suggestions.

Five months later I have lost 35 pounds. And I am still losing.

The author's point is that we don't monitor every calorie. We can't. Instead we work with cues to decide what to eat, and when to stop. Understand the cues, and you can change them to lower your daily calories.

I enjoyed the tales of diet research, but I think what worked for me was the practical suggestions -- instead of trying to rein in my "emotional eating," I just bought smaller plates and started covering half of the plate with veggies. Sounds dumb, but now I serve dinner off of the salad plates, and I eat less without thinking about it.

I especially like the insight that cutting 10 calories a day for a year equals one pound. I used to think of 50 calories here and 100 calories there as not really important, but now I realize they were adding up. I apply this insight to seconds and desserts and snacks. I pick up a 50 calorie cookie and I ask myself -- is this cookie, right now, worth 5 lbs in weight? Occasionally the answer is yes -- and I enjoy my cookie. But more often I realize I'm not really hungry, I'm just eating the cookie because it is there.

I think I was unusually ready to lose some serious weight. And my weight loss has definitely slowed in the last month. I've only lost about three pounds, instead of the 5-7 I had been averaging. But overall I have never had such good, quick results from a weight loss regimen. I can't recommend "Mindless Eating" highly enough.

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78 of 84 people found the following review helpful By M. JEFFREY MCMAHON TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 14, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Brian Wanskik, who conducts eating research in a strange experimental restaurant lab, uses his findings well in this fun-to-read book about the subtle sensory cues that encourage us to eat more than we should. Using common sense and science, he debunks all fad diets as creating more harm than good and then proceeds to show that biologically speaking our optimum weight-loss rate should be no more than a half a pound a week so we don't short-circuit our metabolism. Throughout the book, he peppers his chapters with "Reengineering Strategies." If we follow these easy-to-follow strategies, we will cut our calories between 100-200 a day, an amount that Wansik argues it the best for losing weight while keeping our metabolism active. He also devotes time to "Diet Danger Zones," so that we can see the warning signs of destructive eating habits and bad eating environments. While he does debunk most diet books, he makes an exception with The Volumetrics Eating Plan by Dr. Barbara Rolls.
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115 of 128 people found the following review helpful By jeffsdate on November 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book has gotten a lot of hype and has been excerpted in a number of publications, which I had read before I got the book from the library. In fact, a lot of what is new and useful in the book was in the magazine excerpts; the rest of the stuff is conventional diet wisdom that any longtime dieter has heard before. For example: use smaller plates; eat slowly; don't bring the food container to the table; pay attention to what you're eating and don't read, watch TV, drive or do anything else at the same time; if you buy in bulk, divide the package into smaller mini- packages; keep sinful foods out of sight (like, no candy jar on your desk); stop when you're full and don't feel compelled to finish everything. All good advice, but not worth the price of the book. Rent, don't buy!
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Beth DeRoos HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What really caught my attention was the fact the author shows over and over how 'we' so often eat, even if the stuff we are eating is stale popcorn or food that on second thought we wouldn't even feed to a stray starving dog. That food for 'us' is often more emotional than nutritional or helpful. After reading the book I find myself stopping before I reach for something to eat, asking myself if I am actually hungry and if so, if what I am about to eat is worth my time. I even find that I am planning meals better, so I get as much bang from them as possible. I also found the authors research on what men and women see as comfort foods, interesting. Guess I am more male minded since I also like soup. This is a book one will probably pick up and re read and glean new information from. Not preachy at all, but full of wise information and fun to boot.
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