Brian Wansink: Slim by Design

Brian Wansink: Slim by Design

September 27, 2019 8 By Ewald Bahringer


[AUDIENCE CHATTER] CHARLES JERMY: Good evening
and welcome to the fourth of the summer series. My name is Charles
Jermy, and I’m the associate dean in
the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions. Brian Wansink is the
John S. Dyson Professor of Marketing in the
Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics
and Management at Cornell, where he also
directs the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, an
interdisciplinary group of graduate and undergraduate
students from psychology, food science, marketing, economics,
human nutrition, education, history, and communication,
along with a number of affiliated faculty members. The lab’s primary mission is
to investigate the psychology behind what we eat
and how often we eat, in order to help us
eat more nutritiously and control the
quantities we eat. He was also the co-director
of the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics and
Child Nutrition programs, a center that helps researchers,
food science directors, and policy makers
design sustainable research-based lunchrooms
to guide children to make better food choices. I actually changed
that from the way he had written it,
because it sounded like we were manipulating
all these children. Brian is the author of more than
100 academic articles and six books, including the
bestselling Mindless Eating, Why We Eat More Than We Think
and the soon-to-be-published Slim by Design, Mindless Eating
Solutions for Everyday Life. From 2007 to 2009, Brian,
while on leave from Cornell, was appointed by
President George W. Bush to serve as executive
director for the USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy
and Promotion, which develops and disseminates
dietary guidelines linking scientific research to the
nutritional needs of Americans. Brian’s research on food
psychology and behavior changes has been published in the
world’s leading marketing, medical, and nutrition
journals, and the results have been widely featured
on 20/20, the BBC News, the Learning
Channel, all news networks, and the front pages of the Wall
Street Journal and The New York Times. His research has focused on how
ads, packaging, and personality traits influence the
usage frequency and usage volume of healthy foods. His research on
consumption volume has won national and
international awards for its relevance to consumers. And it has contributed to
the introduction of smaller 100-calorie packages
to prevent overeating, the use of taller
glasses in bars to prevent the over
pouring of alcohol, the use of elaborate names and
mouth-watering descriptions in chain restaurant
menus to improve the enjoyment of the
food, and the removal of 500 million calories from
restaurant selections each year via Unilever’s Seductive
Nutrition program. His insights have been
translated and presented in television documentaries
on every continent except Antarctica. Brian holds a PhD
degree in marketing from Stanford University. He, his wife, and
his three daughters attend drive-in movies as
frequently as possible. He is a saxophone
player in a jazz quartet and also in a rhythm
and blues dance band. And he regularly enjoys both
French food and French fries. “Slim by Design, From Mindless
Eating to Mindless Eating Better,” Brian Wansink. [APPLAUSE] BRIAN WANSINK:
Thank you, so much. I really appreciate that. And I appreciate you
folks taking your time to come out tonight. Now, I’ve got three
objectives tonight. First, being a
professor, I want you to learn a really, really lot. Second, being very
practical, I want you to find at least
three little changes you want to make when
you get home tonight or tomorrow morning. And third, being a fun-loving
guy, I hope you enjoy yourself. Let’s take a look here. If we could get the first
slide, please, David? Well, who has never,
ever, ever seen these charts about how fat
we are, state by state? You’ve almost– it’s crazy. These things have been
around for a long time. Because what they show– they’re
color codings of how we’re fat, state by state. And you can see when they
go from 1991, ’93, ’97, or 2003– they have
to start adding new colors, because states are
getting heavier, and heavier, and heavier. So I have the
incredible blessing of working with some amazing
people in my food and brand lab. We wanted to look at what would
happen if things continued at this rate to the year 2025. Are you ready for this? You gotta look closely. [LAUGHTER] OK. That is still only made up, OK? But here is an agenda of what
we’re going to be doing today. I’m going to start
off by talking about a couple principles of
things that really mess us up– mainly the fact, we
don’t know what we like, and we don’t know
why we do what we do. But then I’m going to show
the incredible benefit of those principles
and other principles being so operative in our life. Because what they
will allow us to do is to make changes in all the
different places, or zones, in our life that
cause us to overeat. The fact that we don’t
really know what we like, and the fact that
we don’t really know why we do what we do,
can enable us to make changes in our home that help us
eat better, in restaurants, in schools, in workplaces,
in grocery stores. What I’ll focus
on today, though, is primarily how
these principles can be used in schools to get our
little gooblets to eat better, and how we can use some of these
principles in our own homes to mindlessly eat
a whole lot better. And then, after
that, well– how many people have been in
Bailey Hall before? Man. I mean, I have
been here 10 years, and I have never
been to this place. It is so amazing. But I was talking to one
of the guys in my lab, and he said that he’s
seen the “Police” here. I mean, the band
“Police.” (FUNNY VOICE) Hey, I was smoking in the
back and they showed up. They’ve seen the
Police here, they’ve seen Bruce Springsteen,
George Thorogood,. And so, I was thinking, that
at the end of the night, we have some time for
questions and answers. If you don’t have any Q&As,
you can ask for requests for me to sing. [LAUGHTER] No actually that reminds me. Dr. Jermy was
talking about, when he’s was saying
the introduction, that I had worked for the US
Department of Agriculture. And I’d been in charge of
the dietary guidelines, which is a political appointment. So it’s a White House
Presidential appointment. And, when you do
these things, there’s a lot of people
watching what you do, because they want
to see you screw up. So I would have people
take pictures of me eating at Taco Bell and tweet them. I’d have things like this. But one night–
one night, my wife said– what all wives
say– “Why don’t we do anything– why don’t
we ever do anything fun?” So. But we did. We went out to
karaoke that night. I think just had two
girls, at the time, so we went to
karaoke that night. And I think she convinced
me to sing some song. I think it was the song, “Wild
Nights,” by Van Morrison. Anybody know that
song? (SINGING) Wild nights are calling. So I’m doing this karaoke thing
with my daughters on stage. And the next Tuesday– I’m
sorry– the next Monday, I get called into the Secretary
of Agriculture’s office, because he was my boss. And I walk in, and
the senior advisor, who was usually a really nice
guy, wasn’t smiling that much. And he said, “Have a seat.” And I sat down. He says, “Oh, so you
have a good weekend?” I go, “Yeah.” He goes, “Sing a
little karaoke?” I go, “Yeah! How did you know?” He goes, “It was on YouTube.” He said, “You know, being
a political appointee, there’s a lot of
people out there who want to embarrass you. Try not to make
it easy for them.” So here’s what the lab is. Our mission is to
discover and disseminate transforming solutions
to eating behavior. And I’m fortunate to work
with a bunch of people. And I have some interns that
I think are here tonight, summer interns. If the summer interns are
here, can you stand up? Any that are here? Stand, stand, stand, stand. Yay. Good to have you here. But this is our
mission to do this. And a while back, we got a
funny call from the LA Times. And what the LA Times
said was– the woman who called me said– you know, a
year ago, the LA Unified School District decided to
make it easy for kids to eat healthy in schools. So they got rid of all
the chocolate milk. They got rid of cookies. They got rid of cheeseburgers. They basically got
rid of everything except for, like,
kale and escarole. And she says, it’s been
a year, and they’ve evaluated the findings. And guess what happened. And I said, “People
stopped eating there.” And she goes, how did you know? And I think it goes
back to the idea that, if we don’t know why
people do what they do, it’s really easy to come up
with the wrong solutions. So let’s take a look at this. A couple starting points–
do we know what we like? Well, the short answer’s, no. Do we know why we do what we do? Well, again, the sort of
answer is going to be, no. So, do we know what we like? A while back, this gentleman–
this is a few years ago– he was in charge of a
large set of cafeterias. And these cafeterias sold
basically very healthy food, like cake that was
made with applesauce instead of mayonnaise or baked
things versus fried things. But the problem was
nobody went there. And so he said,
what do you think we can do to get people
to eat this food? Well, what we know is that taste
is tremendously subjective. Meaning, that if you are having
an appetizer with a friend at dinner, and they say, wow,
this appetizer is really, really amazing, you’re
going to taste it and you’re going
to go, yeah, it is. It’s going to bias you to
look for the amazing things about the appetizer. But if that person,
instead, says, wow, I think something’s
wrong with it. Is it too much salt? What is it? You’re going to
taste it, looking for what’s wrong with it. We’re tremendously suggestible. And, knowing that, we said,
well, why don’t we try this? We’ll take six items,
and we’ll put them on the menu with just
their normal name– like “Seafood Filet.” And then we’ll take them
off for a couple weeks, and then put them back on with
a descriptive, enticing name– like “Succulent
Italian Seafood Filet.” Now, still, this is just–
a dried out fish stick. OK? Just basically it
will be the same dried out fish stick that
was on two weeks ago. But now, all of a sudden,
people think it tastes better. They rate it as better. They rate the cafeteria as
more trendy and up to date, and they even rate
the chef as having had more culinary training. Now this is a guy
who’d been, like, fired from Arby’s two months ago. So you know what I’m saying. And the thing was, it didn’t
matter how silly or extreme these names got, if people
saw a descriptive name, it increased the likelihood of
buying something by about 28%. I mean, we even named
this bad sheet cake. It went from “Chocolate Cake”
to “Belgian Black Forest Double Chocolate Cake.” Now it doesn’t matter that the
Black Forest isn’t in Belgium. [LAUGHTER] Why should that be a deal? People are going, I love it! It reminds me of Antwerp! We’re like, what? Antwerp train station? I don’t know. But we found that this
almost has no limits. So we have a research
restaurant called the Spice Box. And what it is it’s a
pre-fixed restaurant that’s open only Thursday night, and
what we did one week is we ordered all these boxes
of Charles Shaw wine. It’s bottles of wine. They’re about $2 apiece. They used to call them–
yeah, “Two-Buck Chuck,” right. We took this wine, we
soaked off all the labels. We put on new
labels that said it was either a Cabernet
from California– a place known for
wine– or it was a Cabernet from North Dakota–
a place not known for wine. And so what happened was, when
people came to the dinner– it’s like about a $25 pre-fixed
dinner– they sat down, and the waiter or
waitress came up to them and said, “Hey, thanks for
keeping your reservation on this snowy night. As a thank-you note, we’ve got
a complimentary glass of wine. It’s a Cabernet
from California.” Poured everybody a glass
and put that bottle right in the middle of the table. But, for the other half of
the people dining there, they did something a
little bit different. They instead said, “Thank you
for keeping your reservation tonight. You’ve gotten a complimentary
bottle of a new Cabernet that’s new from North Dakota.” Poured the glass, set
it right in the middle of the table with that
North Dakota label just staring at you. Now, you guys drinking
the California wine– even those these are the
exact same wines– you thought the wine was better. You thought the meal was better. You stayed longer and
a little bit more. And, when you were
asked if you wanted to make reservations to come
back, a bunch of you did. The people, who instead thought
they’d drank North Dakota wine, didn’t have such
a magical evening. You pretty much left
as soon as you could. You didn’t like the wine. You didn’t like the meal. And, when we asked
you if you wanted to make reservations to come
back, most of you said, no. And one guy even said, no no. He said, I’m really
busy– [LAUGHTER] for the rest of my life. We are tremendously,
subjectively influenced by the things around
us when it comes to our taste. Now, the extremes–
that doesn’t matter. I mean, an incredible,
gooey, hot fudge sundae we’re all going
to love, regardless of what’s going on around us. And, you know, if something
really terrible over here– like a thousand-year-old
egg, or something like that– most of us are
going to hate over there. But the stuff in
the middle, that’s where we’re very suggestible. Now, I know you’d
say, [SCOFF] you know, I can see where this
would work for people who’ve been drinking all night. But I can’t see where
it influences me. Let’s take a look at this. [VIDEO PLAYBACK] – Rainforest Smoothie. -It’s unbelievable how
suggestible our taste is. I’m Brian Wansink. -Hi. -To demonstrate that, Wansink
tricked some of our own staff, seven of 20/20’s
college interns. First, he added some chocolate
sauce to vanilla yogurt. Then, he told the students– -We’re going to be doing a
little strawberry yogurt taste test. -OK. -On the table, he had some
strawberry yogurt containers. -So if you could put
your blindfolds on– -The students put on
blindfolds, tasted the yogurt, and then Wansink asked them to
compare the strawberry tastes. -I think they both tasted
really strong with strawberry. -All the students
were certain they were eating strawberry yogurt. -This one had a much stronger
strawberry taste to it. -It just tasted more
like strawberry. -With this woman, Wansink
tried something different. -We’re going to be tasting
a couple of different kinds of yogurts today. -OK. -He didn’t tell her
what flavor it was. So, when he asked her to
rate the strawberry taste– -Honestly, I didn’t
notice it’s strawberry. -OK. Good. -And yet, by the time I
interviewed the group, she, too, had accepted the idea
that she’d eaten strawberry. -When you, like, follow
up with a question like, which one is more
strawberry, I was like, I had to choose one. -They all believed
it was strawberry. Actually, none of
them was strawberry. It was vanilla yogurt
with chocolate sauce. -Stop. -That can’t be. -What do you mean, it can’t be? -Well, I thought I
tasted strawberry. I guess, also, when I opened my
eyes, the two yogurts in front had a strawberry on the box. -I think you’re
joshing us, right now. I do. Because I feel like
there was definitely a taste of strawberry. -No, it was vanilla yogurt
with chocolate sauce. -But you thought
it was strawberry. Why? -It tasted like strawberry. I swear it did. -The moral to these
stories, says Wansink, is that we are much
less taste-sensitive than we think we are. -We don’t want to really believe
that we are duped or fooled by something as simple as the– [END PLAYBACK] BRIAN WANSINK: You know,
there’s good news there. There’s good news, not just
for school lunch programs, but there’s also good news
there for us as cooks. So if what ends up
biasing whether somebody– for instance– likes
our dinner party food is the cues around us,
then we don’t really have to be as good of a cook
as we think we need to be. [LAUGHTER] Just make sure you
have the nice lighting, the nice plates– not the
paper plates– some nice music, and that you name the food. So it’s interesting– this
is a while back– there was a guy from a magazine
called, The New Scientist, and his name was Graham. And he came out, and he was
doing this big Christmas article, which was
titled something like, “How to Make Your
In-laws Think You’re a Better Cook Than You Are.” And he filmed a bunch
of this sort of stuff and wrote about it. And, at the end of
his two or three days here, he said, “You
know, I think I really knew all of this all along.” Which is, as an academic, you
hate that– when somebody says, your research is obvious. Because he says, “I think
I knew this all along.” He says, “Because, you know,
I’m a pretty good cook. But,” he said, “nobody ever
compliments me on my cooking. I have dinner parties all the
time, and nobody says a thing.” And he said, “But a while back,
I did something different. Instead of doing
what I usually do, which is prepare all
the food ahead of time, and then have some wine
in the living room, and at the last minute
say, OK, let’s eat.” He changed his plan. He still cooked all
the food ahead of time. But about 15 minutes
before he took everybody to the dining room to eat,
he would excuse himself, take his wine into the kitchen,
kind of lean– [LAUGHING] lean up against the
counter, take a spoon, beat on some pans– [LAUGHING] And about 15 minutes
later, he’d say, OK. Dinner’s ready. Ant that was the same
dinner he was making before, but people said, hm,
he’s in the kitchen and he sounds really busy. I think this is
going to be good. What do you think? He said, after that people
complimented him all the time. The second thing
we want to look at is, do we know why
we do what we do? And the short answer is, no. Now if you look at something
like Chinese buffets, if you think back to the last
buffet lunch you went to, or if you think of the last
time you were at a buffet. There’s a lot of people who
say you cannot go up to buffets and eat without overeating. Now, in fact, there’s even
some recent legislation in this city to try to zone
buffets out of the city. You know, you have to be
in the outskirts of town, like with a casino
and other places. But if you look at
it, the last time you’ve been to a buffet, at
least a third of the people there were incredibly skinny. Some might be heavy, but a
bunch of them are skinny. So what is it that skinny
people do differently at Chinese buffets that the rest
of the world doesn’t? Because, I mean,
if we knew this, it might have some
sort of secret solution that everybody else could use. Well, here’s what you can’t do. You can’t ask a
skinny person what they do at a buffet that’s
different than a heavier person. Because they’ll
go, I don’t know. Or they’ll say, maybe I
eat less, but I don’t know. But here’s what you can do
is you can watch what they do and see how it’s different. So here’s what we did. We took 12 coders in our
lab, a few years ago– a couple years ago–
we watched 379 diners at Chinese restaurants
across the country. And we coded 70
different things. We coded when they came
in, and when they went out, how many times they went
for seconds, and thirds, and fourths, how many chews
they made per mouthful of food, where they sat. And it’s amazing. Then we used these
secret agent tools. Like, we had this
weight mat, where, when they walked in the
buffet, you step on it and– [BING] –it flashes your weight. I mean, not to them, but to us. That would be a deterrent,
wouldn’t it? [LAUGHING] We has these little laser
things that sort of measured their height with their shoes
on and all sorts of cool things. Clickers– we had these
Cracker Jack stop watches that never stopped, but whatever. And what do you think we found,
in terms of skinny people? What do you think skinny
people do differently than heavy people? Does anybody want to
throw a guess out? Yeah. AUDIENCE: They eat slower. BRIAN WANSINK: Yeah. They eat slower. One thing we found is
the typical heavy person chewed about 12 bites
per mouthful, regardless of what it was, on average. The typical skinny person chewed
about 15 bites per mouthful. What else do you think
they might have done? AUDIENCE: Drink soup first? Well, they drink soup, first. That’s it. There’s something
else they did first. And you’re right on track. What they did was– the typical
skinny person, after they’re seated, they get up, and
they walk to the buffet, and what do they do? About 73% walk around,
look at the foods, wow, 57 chicken dishes. Then they pick up a plate, and
then they serve themselves. In contrast, about 77%
of all heavy people do just the opposite. They walk up to the plates, pick
up a plate, and then say, hm, do I want that? No. Do want that? Eh, I’ll try it. Do I want that? Mm, doesn’t look that bad. Ans so, as a result, you
have the skinny people kind of swooping in
and cherry-picking the things they really want. And heavy people taking a
little bit of everything. What do you think something
else is that they do? Anybody? Yeah. AUDIENCE: Drink a lot of water. BRIAN WANSINK: I’m sorry? AUDIENCE: Drink a lot of water. BRIAN WANSINK: They
do drink more water. They’re more likely
to use chopsticks. They’re more likely
to use smaller plates than bigger plates. But the crazy thing
is, also, they tend to sit, on average,
about 16 feet farther away from the buffet than
the heavy people. And, even crazier,
they are three times as likely to face
away from the food. Whereas the heavy people sit–
most of the heavy people, about 80%– will
sit facing the food, a lot of the skinny people face
with their back or their side to the food. Now, if you look at this,
here’s our thin diner. She’s 16 feet farther away,
three times faced away from it. She’s more likely
to sit in a booth, have a napkin in her lap, use
a small plate and chopsticks. Here’s our heavier guy. [LAUGHTER] I think the artist went
a little overboard here. Put him at the buffet, facing
the buffet, and so forth. Now this is great news if
you’re a diner, because you say, you know, I don’t know
the causality of this, but, if I want to be a skinny
person, maybe I act like one. Maybe I should sit in that
booth next to the window. Maybe I should try to
use a smaller plate or try to use chopsticks. I cramp my hand, but I’ll try. Maybe I should scout
things out before I just pick up a plate and diving in. But who else would be very
interested in this information? AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] BRIAN WANSINK: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. The buffet owners. Yeah. One of the things we found is,
when this study first came out, this guy called,
and he said, my dad owns some Chinese restaurants
in central Pennsylvania. And we were wondering,
do you think we can use some of these
techniques and tricks to get people to eat less food? Now, they don’t care if
you’re healthy or not. They care about
wasting less food. They care about making
more food and still charging you $7 for the buffet. We said, yeah. I mean, this sounds like
a great win-win strategy. You get people to eat less. They ate less, you make more. So helped them with some things. It was kind of interesting. We came up with five changes. One was that the hostess,
as soon as you came in, would take people
and first seat them as far away from the
buffet as possible– not even give them a choice. Seat them as far away, then,
as those tables filled up, they would get closer. Second, they gave
them chopsticks, and they gave them
smaller plates– about nine-inch plates. And the fourth and
fifth thing they did was set the plates in
back of the buffet, so that the people had to walk
up and [DEEP BREATH] trudge around the food to pick up
their plate and, at least, see half of the
food in the buffet. And then the last
thing was they put up, like, those Chinese folding
screens and some plants to kind of block the
food, so that you couldn’t sit there and go– [LAUGHTER] So when I said that the
guy said his dad owned some Chinese restaurants
in central Pennsylvania, how many– what
was the number you were picturing in your mind? AUDIENCE: Six. BRIAN WANSINK: Yeah, six. I was thinking, like,
four, something like that. So the guy comes in and visits
about four months later, and he drove up and
visited the lab. And he said, oh, my god,
things are going great. Da-da-da-da. And he said, but, man, he says,
it’s really, really difficult to make those changes. And I’m like,
well, I mean, these are like five changes
where you have four places. I mean, you could have made
these over the weekend. I didn’t say that to him. But I just said, “Oh,
why was it difficult?” And he goes, oh, my
dad has 63 buffets. And I thought, whoa. That’s a lot of ca-chings. Well, but the thing
is, people aren’t even aware of this when it happens. So there might be a lot we can
do here in school cafeterias to guide kids to taking the
apples instead of the cookies, and thinking the apple
tastes a lot better than they might otherwise do. So let’s look at
schools for a second. We started this Smarter
Lunchroom movement a while back. And this is really cool. It’s in over 20,000
schools now, and we’re really happy about it. But it started with a call
from New York State Department of Health. They called, and
they said, how much do we need to subsidize
fruit in cafeterias for kids to eat 5% more apples,
pears, bananas, whatever? OK? Well, here’s a typical
school lunchroom. That fruit is in a
nasty chafer pan, underneath the sneeze shield, in
the back part of the cafeteria. I mean, you can make
it free, and kids aren’t going to take any more. So here’s what we said. We said, two suggestions–
put in a nice bowl, and put it in a well-lit
place on the line. Five schools did that,
and sales didn’t go up 5%. They went up 103%, and it
stayed there for three months. Two schools said, no,
it’s never going to work. Their sales went up 0%. And one school said, you
know, I think we did it wrong. It’s like, how do
you do that wrong? They say that, well, you
know, what happened was, we put it in a
nice bowl, and then we just got like a desk
lamp out of the closet, put it next to the
fruit, turned it on. [LAUGHTER] And I said, oh, and how
did that work for you? And she goes,
sales went up 187%. [LAUGHTER] So now we say, put it in a
nice bowl next to a desk lamp. [LAUGHTER] An example, too, and this
was a call from the USDA. And they said, look,
nobody buys salad, but two-thirds of all high
schools have salad bars. What do we get to get
people to buy more salad? Now, before people were
here, I met a woman, Elaine, who’s from Cortland and
teaches in Cortland. This happened in Cortland. So we went down, and we worked
with some of the schools down in Cortland. And one of the
things we looked at is how do you increase
salad bar sales? Well, this is Cortland Free
Academy– um, not Cortland, Corning– sorry about that. This is Corning Free Academy. And here’s what you have. You come in the
upper-right-hand door. The a la carte
items are in back. The hot lunch line
is over there. There’s two cash registers. And there’s this salad bar
that looks like a mulch table. It’s, like, composting. Every day it’s getting
worse, you know? Until the end of the school
year in which they clean it out. So here’s what
happens when kids, in a typical day of class– a
kid gets up, gets his pizza, walks out, goes to
the cash register. Now, changing the price
of salad is probably not going to do anything. Because people are still
going to ignore it. So what we recommended
was taking that salad bar, moving it 10 feet,
turning it sideways, right in front of
the cash registers. So what happens, when
the kid get his pizza for the 150th time that
school year, he’s walking up, he’s got his hat on, bam! He hits that salad bar.
(PUZZLED VOICE) Whoa, whoa. You know, he commits one
direction or the other to go around it
and gets his lunch. But after about two
weeks– after two weeks of bumping into
it, he starts kind of going, huh, there’s something
that looks pretty good. What we found is,
within two weeks, daily salad sales
increased 200% to 300% by doing nothing– simply
moving the salad bar. There was no price change. There was no subsidy
or anything like that. Well, this led us
to the question that maybe, if these two things
have such a huge influence on what kids get, maybe there’s
a bunch of other changes that we could string together
that schools could make to get kids to– to nudge kids–
to pick up the apple instead of the cookie. All the while, keeping the
kind of enticing foods there, so they eat there
in the first place, and not just leave
kale and tofu– because we know that
happens when that happens. OK, so what can be done to
increase the good stuff, decrease the bad stuff,
increase overall participation? So let’s redesign
the school lunchroom for less than $50 bucks. So one of the ways
we went about doing that is, we know that, the very
first thing people see in line, they’re 11% more likely to
take than the third thing. Well, so have the
healthiest stuff first. We know that when people see
a sign that has a descriptive word, like “Power Peas,”
that they’re about 28% more likely to take the “Power
Peas” than if they just say, (IN A NASAL VOICE) “Peas.” [LAUGHTER] We know all these
different things. And so we were able to come
up with more, and more, and more suggestions that
worked in research that we could take to school cafeterias. You know, but the
crazy thing about this was that these suggestions
were pretty basic, and they’re so robust,
that it doesn’t matter– it doesn’t matter how
poorly they’re implemented, they still continue to work–
just like the desk lamp. I mean, here’s an example. Um. [LAUGHTER] We have “Hearty Vagetible
Soup,” “Clam Chowder,” “Hamburger,” “Large Hot
Dog,” “Grill Chicken Roll.” It doesn’t matter how
bad these things are, they still tend to work. Let me give you an example. Here’s something that MTV
filmed, here, at Boynton Junior High. [VIDEO PLAYBACK] -The masterminds behind
the cafeteria redesign are Cornell University
professors David Just and Brian Wansink. I wanted to know how they’re
going to basically trick teens into eating right. So what are we doing here? -The first thing
we’re going to do is we’re going to take a bunch
of the milk, put it in front, so if a person’s
thirsty, at least they have the option of
picking something up. And at least they have to reach
over the white milk if they want to pick up— -Right. – –a flavored sugared beverage. -Step two. They took the pizza, which was
the first thing in the lunch line, and moved it
towards the back. And the veggies and the
healthy bean burrito moved right to the front. Step 3. They renamed the healthy food. -We find that changing
something as small as calling these mixed vegetables,
“California Blend,” or the “Big Bad Bean Burritos,”
increased sales by about 27%. -Step 4. They moved the fruit
from a plastic tub into a pretty fruit bowl. And, finally, they
took the cookies and put them just out of reach. -They’re going to have to ask
one of the food service workers to help pick it up. We think that’s just
enough of a barrier to keep some percentage of
kids from saying, ah, whatever. I’ll have an orange. -The professors rolled up their
sleeves, made their changes, and now it’s lunch time. -Oh, there she’s
getting her tray. She grabbed a sandwich. She’s getting an Arizona Iced
Tea, I think, an orange juice, oh, and she got the cookie. So, Samantha, this time
you didn’t get the cookie, and you got a piece
of fruit, instead. Why did you get the
fruit, this time? Why do you think? -I don’t know. -Now this was an
unbelievable success. Fruit increased by 102%, simply
by putting it in a nice bowl. -The sweet drinks were
also harder to get to. And Jane, Marcy,
Richie, and Lavonte fell right into our trap. Last time, they grabbed
Gatorade, Snapple, and Arizona Iced Tea, but this time– -Well, the water was just in
front, so I just grabbed it. Sales of sugary
drinks plunged by 17%, well purchases of
easy-to-reach milk soared 46%. -Whatever was easiest to reach,
that was good enough for them. And that was enough
to get them to change. -Another hit– the “Big
Bad Bean Burrito” sold out for the first time ever. The professors say, on
average, students’ plates, this time around, contained
about 18% fewer calories, and they made healthier choices. [END PLAYBACK] BRIAN WANSINK: So
what we’ve done is, we’ve come up
with 100 changes that our research suggests will
make the biggest difference in changing what kids eat. We came up with this really cool
scorecard that’s been really used widely across the US. In fact, there’s
an app coming out. See, I can’t figure
the computer out, but, you know, I
can develop an app. No, actually somebody
else is doing it. That’s coming out in a month. But our goal is, we call
it, “70-70 by 2020.” We want 70% of all the
schools in the United States to get a score of 70 or
higher on the scorecard by the year 2020. And it’s aspirational. It shows progress. School food service
directors love to do it. But the thing looks
pretty much like this. It’ll take different
areas– like focusing on fruit, vegetables,
milk– and it’ll say, OK, if you have white milk
in the front of your cabinet, of your milk cooler,
you get a point. If you have white milk in
more than one location, you get another point. If at least half of your milk
is white, you get a third point. So it’s very easy to see what
to do, to go from a 30 to a 45, or from a 50 to a 65. Well, this has
worked really well. And one of the things that
we find that is happening is, one of the big
champions of this ended up not being
food service directors, not being helicopter
parents, but they end up being the students
themselves who love to grade the cafeteria. So it’s working really nice. What I want to talk
about a little bit is, I’m going to scratch
the surface on things that can be done in homes. Now, a while back,
we’ve been doing a lot when Mindless
Eating came out, it had about 163
different things we’d found in research
that worked to get people to be a little bit better. We wondered– which of
these might work best with the general population? Some work better with
this type of person. Some work better with
that type of person. So we took 20 tips that
were kind of interested in, and we had 2,000
people we assigned a tip to– different tips
to 100 groups of 100 people. And we tracked them
for three months. Now, some tips did a little
bit better than others. But what we found
that was so crazy, was, on average– these
weren’t dieters– on average, people were losing about a
pound and a half to two pounds a month. But was crazy was that it
wasn’t what you’d expect. Like, if you change
something– like, let’s say, for instance,
you pre-plated or served all of your entrees and starches
off the stove or off a counter, instead of having them
sit right in front of you. If you did something like that,
you’d expect a pattern like, which would be,
people would lose two pounds the first month,
two pounds the second month, and then two pounds
the third month. It should be pretty steady. But that’s not what we saw. Instead, the most
common pattern was people would lose one
pound the first month, two pounds the second month, and
three pounds the third month. Now that didn’t make any sense. And I think, in the lab, we
brought this up about five or six different times. We re-ran data. And then, I think we
just finally said, well, let’s drop it for now. Something must be going on. And then, at that time, I
also went down to the USDA. One of the things I found,
though, when was at the USDA, was, after actually
about a month there, I was giving a talk in Denver. And after the talk, there
was a really nice reception afterwards. And this woman, who was a
dietitian, came up and said, oh, man, you know, about 11
months ago, my husband and I made this one change, and
it make this big difference in our life. She said, we never sit down
to eat a lunch or dinner unless there’s both a fruit
and vegetable on the table. Now we don’t have to eat it,
it just has to be on the table. I mean, it could be a
banana from September. Because that counts. And you can think of
a bunch of reasons why this would help
somebody eat better. But, she said, my
husband lost 45 pounds, and I lost 32 pounds
in less than a year. And I go, wow,
that’s really great. I said, why did your
husband lose so much more, do you think? And she goes, oh,
well, you know, after a couple weeks– I mean,
after a couple of months, he was encouraged by the
progress he was making by not really trying
very hard, that he started adding other things. And I said, like what? And she goes, well,
instead of drinking beer, he started drinking red wine. And I’m like, why would
that make a difference? And she goes, oh, he
doesn’t like red wine. [LAUGHTER] So, yeah. And so at that time the USDA
Secretary of Agriculture was the former governor
from North Dakota. And he said, I’d like
you to go to North Dakota and give a bunch of
these series of talks. And so I was doing that. I was in Grand Forks–
not far from where were my grandmother was born. And I was giving a talk. It was a little
bit late at night. And I kind of finished up, and
I was talking with my host. But the whole time
during the talk, there was this guy–
this guy, I mean, he told me I could
use his picture– who was up in the balcony
with his coat closed, like this, the whole
time, staring at me. And at end of the
talk– I’m kind of getting things
put together– he comes down out of the balcony. He walks up with his
coat still closed, and he goes,
(GRAVELY VOICE) I’ve been waiting all night
to show you something. [LAUGHTER] And I thought, oh,
let it be a gun. And he opens his coat
and he goes, look at this sweater I’m wearing. He goes, seven months
ago, it was skin tight. And he said he lost 34
pounds in seven months, and the only change
you made was he ate cottage cheese
after work every night. And I said, well,
how did that help? And he goes, well, I used
to get home from work, and we’d eat at 6 o’clock,
then we’d watch TV, and, oh, about 9:00 or
10:00 we’d get hungry, so we’d have ice cream. Now, I eat cottage
cheese when I get home. We don’t need until 7:30. At 9:00 or 10:00, I’m
not hungry at all. And I said, wow,
that’s really cool. But, I said, gee,
it’s hard to believe you could lose 5 pounds a month
just not by eating ice cream. And he goes, yeah,
well, you know, what happened was that,
after a couple months or so, we just dropped
desserts all together. We only eat them on weekends. AUDIENCE: (GROANING) Oh. BRIAN WANSINK: And so– [LAUGHTER] So. This is the power of
these ripple changes. This is the power of
making one change that ends up being so consistent
through your life that you go, oh. And you start making or
tweaking other changes. And this ripple effect
is really powerful, but I want to show you some
stuff in some other cases. That the four steps to coming
up with these ripple changes are first, to identify
which eating zone is most problematic
in your life. There’s five eating
zones in your home, OK– I mean, that
trip most people up. It’s either meal stuffing,
f snack grazing– you know, grazing all the time–
it’s restaurant indulging, it’s party binging–
you’re going to receptions and just eating every
hors d’oeuvre they have– or it’s the desk-board
or dashboard dining. Now, even though we can
all identify with all five of these areas– if you’re
normal you can identify with all five of these
areas– at any one time, there’s really only one
that is most troubling, and that’s most
vexing to your life. Mainly because, you know,
if you’re a meal stuffer, you’re probably not
much of a snack grazer. If you’re a meal stuffer,
which is what happens at home, you probably don’t
restaurant indulge, because you’re eating
at home most of time. So the key is to find which
of these– self-diagnosis yourself and say, which of
these is most problematic to me? Identify just three easy
simple changes you could make. Like, if it’s meal stuffing,
you could serve off of the stove or table, or you
could use a smaller plate. And track yourself for a
month, and then, after a month, just try three
different changes. OK. It’s really some
basic stuff to do. But what we’re
going to do now is I’m going to give you some
idea of some of these changes. And what I want to do is,
kind of– kind of move your fingers a little bit. Because I’m going to ask
you to go through and look at your house. Now, I want you count
on your fingers, because I’m going to tell you
whether your house is making you fat by design
or slim by design– if it’s moving you in the
right way, the wrong way, or it’s not having
any effect at all. So just– I’ll
read through these. And just count on your
fingers, and you’ll come up with somewhere
between 0 and 10 fingers when I get there. So, first of all, are salad
and vegetables served first at your house? Meaning that they’re
served before the entree and the starch is
brought on the table. If it’s yes, you go
(WHISPERING) one. Second, is the main dish
pre-plated and served from the stove or counter? (WHISPERING) Two. Third, your dinner plates
are 9 to 10 inches wide. Most peoples’ are about
11 to 12 inches wide. Fourth, you eat
sitting at a table with the TV turned
off when you eat. Five, there are
two or fewer cans of soft drinks in your
fridge at any one time. Six, your kitchen counters
are organized, not messy. Pre-cut fruits and vegetables
are now in the middle– right now, today, if we were to go
home to your refrigerator, are there pre-cut
fruits and vegetables on your middle shelf. If so, you kind of go,
(SQUEAKY VOICE) I’m seven. Eight, are there at
least six single-servings of protein in your fridge? They could be eggs,
they could be yogurt, they could be string
cheese, tofu, whatever. But at least six single
servings of protein. Nine, your snacks
are kept in one inconveniently placed cupboard. And ten, the only food
on your kitchen counter is a fruit bowl. So you should have a
number between one and ten. If you have a four or
less, your kitchen’s probably not working
that well for you. If you have a six, seven,
eight, nine, or ten, things are going in
the right direction. But these are
really easy changes to make to bump things
up a little bit. I was a giving a talk
at the TOPS convention– annual convention–
last week in Milwaukee. TOPS stands for “Take
Off Pounds Sensibly.” And I did this, and
I said– I don’t know why I said this–
but I said, oh, so did anybody happen to get a ten? And this woman toward
the front goes, I did. And I go, I can’t believe that. And people are
applauding and stuff. And then, afterwards,
she comes up, and she says something like, you
know how I was able to do that? I said, no. And she goes, because I
got rid of the biggest barrier in my life. And I go, what’s that? And she goes, my husband. [LAUGHTER] OK. So this gives you a
little bit of an idea as to whether your home is
working for you or against you. But there’s over 100 things
we find that push people in the wrong
direction, and being able to look at a
checklist and very visually see whether something
is working for them, or not, is really
useful for people to do. So we’ve come up with
the same thing for homes that we’ve done also for
the schools that we saw. So there’s 100-point scorecards
for homes, restaurants, grocery stores,
workplaces, and schools. And our hope is that the
scorecards for restaurants and grocery stores help push
restaurants and grocery stores in the direction
of making changes– offering half-size
portions, letting people pre-plate things,
turning down the music, and turning up the lights. And a lot of these
things, if you go to the website
slimbydesign.org, there’s even a feature
where you can just take one of these letters and
send it, e-mail it, tweet it, to your favorite restaurant,
whichever one you want to have changed– whichever
one you would like to change. So another thing we’ll want
to look at, when we’re getting ready to wind down here, is,
what do slim people do that the rest don’t? Now, we all know skinny, slim
people, who don’t seem to diet. They’re never complaining
about that they’re on a diet. They never say, oh, I shouldn’t. But they seem naturally slim. It might be metabolism. Or might be that they’ve come
up with some small, maybe even annoyingly, rules
of thumb or habits that lead them not to move
in the same direction as most people. So I’m really pleased. We just launched
something on Monday. And, actually,
the summer interns who had their arms up
a little bit earlier have been working
on this all summer. It’s a Slim by Design registry. And what it is,
it’s people who have been at a healthy weight
all their life can come to the website. If they qualify
with a pre-survey, what they can then fill out
is a much longer survey, which is really long, but it
asks them a lot of really cool questions to try to figure
out what it is that they do, collectively, that
heavier people don’t. Because if we can figure out
their secrets or their codes, there could be a lot of
insights for the rest of us. For instance, we just put
this up a couple days ago. I mean, this is the first time
I’ve told anybody about it. But even that being
so, I think we already have 25 people who stumbled
across it somehow in two days. For instance, this is
kind of interesting. One of the questions
was, “What do you do at picnics that you
think might cause you to eat less than a heavier person?” And these are six of the things
that were somewhat popular. “Eat only homemade foods.” That makes sense, because you’re
not missing out on anything, other than Twinkies. “First, eat a little
of everything, and then go back for
seconds on my favorites.” Oh, that makes sense. “Eat only one dessert.” It’s interesting. They didn’t say, (WHINY VOICE)
” I don’t eat desserts.” They said, eat only one. “Don’t eat boring foods.”
(LAUGHING) Oh, the ones I make. Yeah, OK. “Play games and talk to people.” And then, “focus
on fruit dishes.” So it’s kind of interesting. But I would encourage
you to take a look at it. If you want to join
the registry, you can. And I think you’re going to
find a lot of valuable things and find a lot of
valuable resources there that would be of interest. So this was the Slim by Design
Registry at slimbydesign.org. So now what I want to
look to is, in conclusion, I want to take
things back to you. Where do you want to sit when
you go to a Chinese buffet? AUDIENCE: Far away. BRIAN WANSINK: Far
away and face away. How can you become a better
cook in five minutes? AUDIENCE: Descriptions. BRIAN WANSINK: That’s right. Exactly. Name your recipe. That’s right. Or, at least, don’t
use your paper plates. What do you want to put on
your on your home counter? AUDIENCE: Fruit bowl. BRIAN WANSINK: A fruit bowl. You know what? You put a fruit bowl
on your home counter, do you think it’s going to
make any difference tomorrow? Interestingly enough, it doesn’t
seem to make much difference. Hm. It it going to make any
difference next week? No. Because what happens is,
you put that thing out. Nobody’s ever seen it before,
and they’re like, ooh, I don’t know. What is it? I haven’t seen it before. And for like two weeks,
people avoid these things. But then, somehow magically,
after about two weeks, the stuff just disappears. It’s really, really amazing. But the key to
that is that it has to be within about two feet
of where you and your family naturally walk every day. So you can’t have it, like, in
some corner table over there in the dark. It’s got to be next to your keys
or wherever you walk very well. Well, that’s the main
stuff I wanted to tell you. But I also want to tell you
that we did a really cool study. It’s going to be coming out
in a short period of time. It’s called the Syracuse
study because– oh, yeah– we did it in Syracuse. And what we did, we
visited 250 households. And we went in, and we took
pictures of their cupboards. We measured their kitchen. We measured tables. We took pictures of every single
thing sitting on their counter. Um, then we tried to leave
before they came home. [LAUGHTER] No. We actually– No, we
had their permission. But one of the things
we found is that, if a fruit bowl is on your
counter, you will, on average, weigh eight pounds less than
your neighbor next door who doesn’t. If you have cookies or
crackers or potato chips on your counter, you’ll weigh,
on average, eight pounds more than your neighbor. If you have cereal– box
of cereal on your counter– or if you did on that
one day that I can by, you’ll weigh, on average, 19
pounds more than the neighbor next door. And, if you have
any sort of pop– and I’m a huge
Diet Coke drinker– but if you have diet or
regular pop on your counter– or soda pop or whatever on the
counter– you’re going weigh, on average, nearly 25 pounds
more than the person who doesn’t. It’s just amazing. You can say, well, yeah,
but that’s correlation, that’s not causation. And you’re exactly right. But we have a saying in my lab
that, if you want to be skinny, you do what skinny people do. Thank you, very much. [APPLAUSE] So if anybody has questions,
that would be great. You know, one thing
that I’ll bring up that’s kind of interesting– we
did a study a while back, where we were tracked people
who weighed themselves every single day for
two or more years. Some of these were
Americans, and some of these were Finnish people–
people from Finland. And one of things we found is
that, basically, every person in the world has a
weight rhythm that follows them through the week. Guess what day you
weigh the least. Friday morning is the
day you weigh the least. Almost everybody weighs the
least on Friday morning. Guess when you weigh the most? AUDIENCE: Monday. BRIAN WANSINK: Yeah. It’s Sunday night
or Monday morning. Yeah. Everybody follows this rhythm. And the neat thing is, is what
differentiated in this study. People who gained
weight over the course of two years versus people who
lost weight over the two years had very little to
do with the weekend. Because everybody over-eats
during the weekends. What it had to do
with was how much they lost from Monday to Friday. The steeper that curve
was, in terms of how much they lost from Monday
to Friday, the better it predicted how much people
would weigh two years later. It goes down steeply,
you’re going to lose weight. It goes down a
little bit, you’re probably going to gain weight. Very cool news you can use. I think the other thing–
that implication of that– if you’re only to weigh
yourself once a week, make it Wednesday morning. OK? Because if you weigh
yourself Sunday night, you’re going to go, (WAILING)
oh, my god, this is hopeless! And then you’re probably
going to go off your diet. If you weigh yourself
Friday morning, you go, yes– time to celebrate! So do we have any
questions about food, about eating behavior,
about people, about weirdo studies we’ve done? AUDIENCE: Does the DNA you
have make a difference? BRIAN WANSINK: Oh,
that’s interesting. But, you know– AUDIENCE: Because I eat like a
pig, and, you know, here I am. [LAUGHTER] And I have a daughter
that eats like a pig, and she’s just the same. [LAUGHTER] So, uh. BRIAN WANSINK:
But I also see you walking every day on campus. Hm. Hm. Hm. You know, it’s an interesting
thing about DNA and metabolism. Because it seems to
count for something, but it doesn’t predict
all the behavior. But the thing about
DNA and metabolism– or the thing about DNA,
anyway– is that there’s really nothing we can do about it. And so, the more we focus
on it, the more sort of resigned we end up
feeling about stuff. So one of the best
things to do is to focus on really
what you can change, instead of saying, “My
fate was in the stars and not myself that–”
what’s the rest of the quote–
“underling,” or something. Yes. AUDIENCE: Hi. I have a question about the
role that repetition, or rhythm, or, you know, when you do
the same thing every day– BRIAN WANSINK: Yeah, routine? AUDIENCE: Routine, thank you. So I have, like,
this same thing– I mean, the same thing for
breakfast every single morning. And I’m not sure
if this is, like, great– I know what
I’m going to eat. I’m not going to overeat. I’m not going to
under-eat, because I’m doing the same thing every day. Or if this is bad, because
my body’s like, yo. BRIAN WANSINK: You are right. AUDIENCE: Switch it up. BRIAN WANSINK: Unless you’re
eating 17 bowls of Trix, you are right on target. Because I think one
of the biggest things the differentiates why
we have a bigger obesity problem than, let’s say,
the Netherlands or France– it’s a number of factors. We don’t smoke as much
as they do, for instance. But it ends up being that our
meals have a lot bigger degrees of freedom than theirs do. In the typical Dutch
meal, it’s really boring. It’s the same
thing all the time. The typical– AUDIENCE: Hey! BRIAN WANSINK: –American– [LAUGHTER] I should say– it’s
very similar every day. [LAUGHTER] Whereas, what’s our
typical breakfast? I mean, most Americans’
typical breakfast can’t even be defined. Some days we skip it. Some days we have, like,
three protein bars and a Diet Coke on the way to work. Sometimes we’re
stopping for omelets. And the fact that
there’s no real pattern to an American
breakfast, that allows all these other
influences to nudge us in the wrong direction. Now how many people
know somebody who eats oatmeal every single day? Now, one of things that
I found– I’ve probably known 30 people that
oatmeal every single day, and 28 of the 30 of them
are as slim as Bud was– is. Because what happens? They’ve essentially taken one
meal out of their equation that they don’t
need to worry about. AUDIENCE: Yeah. BRIAN WANSINK: Yeah. Great, great question. Keep it up. AUDIENCE: I have a
question about how you do the school lunch research. At my son’s school,
the children are required to have a
vegetable on their plate. And I see all those vegetables
going in the trash can, so how many vegetables
are really getting eaten? BRIAN WANSINK: Yeah. It’s a great question. And one of the things we’ve done
with that is, a little bit more are be eaten, a lot more
are being thrown away. But we find that, using
the techniques we talked about here, if you can make a
kid want to take a vegetable, they’re more likely
to eat it and less likely to throw it away. I’ll tell you a cool study
that we did, here, about two years ago on the campus. We had a junior high
group that was visiting. I don’t know. Some whatever camp or
whatever– econometrics camp, or something. I’m not sure. And what we did one day was,
we gave them little bags of carrots with their meal. And then we looked at
how many people ate them. And about 40% of the
kids ate the carrots. 60% just threw them away. What we did the next
day was we gave them a choice between
little bags of carrots and little bags of celery. [LAUGHTER] I mean, no kid in his right
mind wants plain celery. In fact, we only had
to buy about three of these bags of celery
because no kid took them. What happened when we
did that is instead of 40% of the kids
eating the carrots, it went up to about 75%
ate it, because they thought they had a choice. They’re like, I took it. If I don’t eat it, it means
I was an idiot for taking it. So we’ve found– we’ve been
trying things with schools of, like, using descriptive
names on vegetables. And just doing
something like that ends up decreasing the amount
of food people throw away. But that’s what
we’re trying to do is try to make kids feel
like it’s going to taste good and that they had a choice. That’s a great, great question. Thank you. AUDIENCE: So, I love dessert. BRIAN WANSINK: Oh. AUDIENCE: But I’m, like, pretty
low weight for a boy of my age. And so, I want to
know why that is. [LAUGHTER] BRIAN WANSINK: See,
you know– wait, what? AUDIENCE: I want to
know why that is. BRIAN WANSINK: Well, because
you are a very lucky young man. [LAUGHTER] [APPLAUSE] BRIAN WANSINK: And I think
you’re incredibly blessed. And I think– I hope that
follows you for the whole time. There’s going to be a time,
when you’re high school, when you might be skinny. You might say, why don’t
I have girlfriends? Is it because I’m too skinny? And, the thing is, that
won’t be a problem much after high school. [LAUGHTER] You’re going to be
a very light guy. And, you know, I’m
very, very– I’m very, very impressed by you. You’re a very bold young man
to come up and ask a question. Thank you, very much. [APPLAUSE] AUDIENCE: Um, hi. So I want to ask something
about a nutrition fact that we can see every day. So do you think the calorie
value on the nutrition facts are credible? Because sometimes something
that tastes with high calorie, they seems like they
have a low calorie value on nutrition facts. Because I think that it is
important to keep counting calories every day if you
want to go through a diet. So I’m not sure whether it’s– BRIAN WANSINK: Yeah. That’s a really good question. I mean, there’s a couple
things about calories that we’ll talk about. We’ve done a bunch
of studies, and we find– you’d think, if there’s
calorie labeling on menus, for instance, that says
what a sandwich is. A sandwich is 800 pounds
versus– 800 calories– [LAUGHTER] –versus 400 calories. You’d think that
would lead somebody to tend toward the
400-calorie sandwich. Well, it would for us. Because, for us, calories
probably means we get fat. But there’s a lot of people
who eat a lot of fast food who, for them, if
they’re walking in with $2 or $3 bucks in
their pocket in a Taco Bell or Arby’s, calories mean, I
can get full for less money and it’s going to taste better. So, in that case, calorie
information is used, but it’s used in a way
other than we’d expect it. In your case, when you’re
talking about the facts panel, it’s a great question. And one of the things
that the FDA was proposing is– the calories
you’re talking about are the calories per
serving– and the FDA wants to think about posting
the entire amount of calories in the box, or in the
package, on the front. And one of the concerns,
with some people about that, is that, if they do that– let’s
say that typically you only have 100 calories
worth of ice cream, because it says
100 calories there, so you just eat a little bit. But let’s say,
all of a sudden it says 700 calories on the box. Well, the fear is that
somebody like you says, wow, I am really,
really under-eating, and I love dessert. Maybe I should eat
a little bit more. And that’s the
alternative concern about putting the total calories
in big letters on the box. Great. I’m pleased to hear that you’re
looking at the fact panel. I think it’s a good thing to do. Not be obsessive about–
but it’s a good thing to do. Thanks. AUDIENCE: Thank you. Talk to us a little
bit about things that people do while eating
and how they correlate to weight gain and loss. BRIAN WANSINK: That is
a really great question. We did a study on dinner rituals
a while back, and what we did was we took all these
adults and their kids, and we asked them
all these questions, and then were correlated
with what their BMI is– how heavy they are. We found out that there’s
five big things that correlate with eating
that lead to higher BMI. First is eating with the
TV on makes both parents and kids fatter. Second is not eating
at a table– which I don’t know where you’d eat. I guess the floor, the ground,
couch, something like that. But the third thing that ends up
being very interesting was that families that stayed together–
stayed seated until everyone was through eating– all had
a lower BMIs than people who didn’t. But then the last
thing was troubling. You know, a lot of
people, a lot of us, believe that it’s good
to cook with kids. I mean, teach them how
to do things, you bond, and stuff like this. The last thing was sort of
disheartening in that families that cooked with kids ended
up having daughters that were heavier than
families that didn’t. AUDIENCE: Just daughters. BRIAN WANSINK: Yeah,
it didn’t affect boys, because maybe there
weren’t any in the sample. It just affected daughters. And what’s crazy,
and we followed up a little bit on this,
and we asked people, hey, do you cook with your daughter? And they go, oh, yeah. And we’d say, what do you cook? And the majority of people
bake with their kids. They’re not cutting up carrots,
and they’re not helping them make the Beef Wellington. They’re rolling
out cookie dough. So I think it’s not
whether you cook, but it’s what you’re cooking. But great question. I like that. AUDIENCE: Do talkers
weigh more or less? BRIAN WANSINK: I’m sorry. AUDIENCE: Do talkers– people
who talk a lot at the meal. [LAUGHTER] I’m not asking out
of self-interest. BRIAN WANSINK: I’m going
to write that down. That’s the next
research project. I don’t know. We need to figure that out. We didn’t see that at
the Chinese buffet. We coded how, with
a percent of time, the person talked relative to
the other people around them. But we didn’t, I think,
finding anything with that. But I could take another look. That’s a great question. One thing that we do know is
that outgoing people end up being much more influenced by
these cues than introverts. And this works really
terribly with kids. That we found, if we give little
kids big bowls to serve out of, to eat out of, that
extroverted kids ended up eating 44% more
than introverted kids. I think it’s partly
because they don’t pay any attention to anything. [LAUGHTER] Woo! Woo! Shiny ball. Woo! AUDIENCE: I’m responsible
for dining services at SUNY Cortland,
and this past school year, this past
academic year, we made a change more
for a financial reason is that we were
trying to limit waste. And so, for 16 weeks we
measured all of the food that the students
were throwing away. And then we changed in
our buffet dining hall that we plated everything. They could ask us whether they
wanted vegetables, or fries, or whatever. So they could tell us what
they wanted on the plate, but we only gave
them one portion. They could come back as
many times as they wanted, and we threw away
16,000 pounds of food less, in the 16 weeks
that we plated the food and made them come back for
their seconds and thirds. And I’m curious
as to what factor you think that that played. Was it the inconvenience? Was it that it wasn’t just
sitting there in front of them and they kept eating? Or what you think the
reason for that was. BRIAN WANSINK: Well,
that’s wonderful. I’m really pleased to hear that. I think largely what happens
in this case is that it creates an interruption. We call it a pause point. Just like a 100-calorie
pack causes you say, really, do I want a fifth bag? [LAUGHTER] And you say, no. I think it does the same thing. They say, do I really want to
get up and leave my friends? We found that one reason–
with chocolate milk, people that want to
limit chocolate milk but still have it– we
have some strategies that they can have in
lunchrooms to make the chocolate milk really inconvenient. Because we find that
kids like chocolate milk, but they like hanging out
with her friends even more. And if they have to wait
more than 20 seconds to get chocolate milk, either
because there’s a bottleneck or something like that,
they just kind of go, whatever, I’ll get
the white stuff. And so I think that’s
one thing that’s going on– that people
would rather hang out with their friends
than wait in line. And I’m also really pleased that
you didn’t say that you got rid of your lunch trays. Maybe you did, but
you didn’t say that. Because we’ve done studies–
we did a big study at Google, and we did it here, and
a number of other places. And you think that if you
got rid of lunch trays, people would eat less, right? Because they wouldn’t be able
to pile so much food on a tray. Well, what we instead
find is they eat worse. So let’s say that
you usually get a salad, an entree,
and a dessert, but you only have two hands. What are you going
to leave behind? [LAUGHTER] Yeah. Yeah. We find almost 70%
of all the students leave the salad behind. Almost everybody
takes the dessert. So what happens is the lunch
trays don’t necessarily get kids to eat a
lot less, but they get them to eat a lot worse. Great question. You’re doing the Lord’s work. That’s a tough job. Last question. AUDIENCE: Yes. This is one I’m sure you’ve
heard before, which is should I be eating breakfast or not? I am never hungry
in the morning, and I don’t usually get
hungry until about noon. But if I force myself
to eat breakfast that will sort of
jump start my hunger, and then I’m hungry
all day long. And so it seems
counter-intuitive for me to force myself
to eat breakfast, but that’s what all the
nutritioners are saying. They’re saying that we
should not skip breakfast. So what do yo u have
to say about that? BRIAN WANSINK: Yeah. I mean, so I’m not an RD, but
I kind of believe the same way. In fact, when we look
at what slim people do, almost all of them do eat
some sort of breakfast. But one thing that’s
been coming out– and this is a crazy
thing– my brother has a hard time eating well. And after 20 years
of being married, he finds himself single
now with two kids. And he has a hard
time eating well, and he has a hard time
with his hunger cues. And so one of the things
we worked out with him, and it works out
really well, is that he buys this vegetable– you
know, like what V-8 is– he buys some vegetable juice. He mixes in a little
thing of protein. And what it does is he
drinks that in the morning, even though he doesn’t
want breakfast. And he’s not even tempted
up until lunchtime. And I think it gives him some
vegetables that he doesn’t have the rest of the day. So having something, even if
it’s a liquid thing, I think, is probably pretty good. AUDIENCE: OK. Thank you. BRIAN WANSINK: Thank
you, very much. Well, we’ve got
one more question, because you were kind
enough to hand things out. And it’s Sam, isn’t it? AUDIENCE: Yeah. Sorry. Thank you for your lecture. It was really interesting. I’m just curious to whether
you’ve come, in your research, to find out whether or not
certain social identities had an impact on whether someone
was overweight or not? Like gender, race,
sexual orientation. BRIAN WANSINK: Yeah. You know, there’s a lot
of social economic factors that are correlated
with weight gain. And they’re kind
of– many are ones that are the obvious
ones you would think. But kind of an interesting
way this takes people is that a lot of
people– and I’ll just give you one of the more
interesting things related to socioeconomic variables,
sociodemographic variables. A lot of people think that
the bigger the kitchen is, the bigger the people are. Right? I mean, that makes
perfect sense. Because you have
36 bags of chips that you bought from Costco. And the five pound barrel
of pretzels from Sam’s Club because you
can store it there. So, naturally, you’d just
gain a lot of weight. But one thing with
our Syracuse study was that the size
of your kitchen has no correlation with
the size of your waistline. But it’s because of this. The people who can afford
big, huge kitchens, can also afford trainers, and
dietitians, and fancy riding bikes. And so it’s not the
size of the kitchen, it ends up being the
size of their income that enables that kitchen to
not have their impact on them. That’s a great question, Sam. AUDIENCE: Thanks. BRIAN WANSINK: Thank
you again, very much, for taking your time. Have a great summer. [APPLAUSE]