Brain Bulletin #29 - The Bottomless Soup Bowl

in Brain Bulletin

I'm full but I'm going to eat this anyway. How much would you eat if your soup bowl had been secretly rigged by scientists to always stay half full? When would you stop eating? Would you stop?!

A group of scientists conducted a study to answer these questions. This is what they found: People who ate from a normal soup bowl ate, on average, 9 ounces of soup. Most finished the bowl. People who ate from bowls that had been rigged with a tube to always stay half full no matter how much they ate averaged 15 ounces of soup. They ate and ate!

73% more!! Some were still eating when the experiment ended. A few got into a heated argument because they hadn't finished their soup!

Surely the later group would have figured out what was going on. Not a chance!

This experiment illustrates an interesting aspect about your brain, and the interesting relationship it has with food. You brain is a goal seeking. So, most people are "target eaters". We stop when the plate is clean, or the bowl is empty. Not when we're full. Mindless eating.

Suggestion: Start to notice when you are full. Pay attention to your attention, be aware of your awareness, be conscious of your consciousness.

I'm full but I'm going to eat this anyway.

Habitually making this observation will probably cut your calorie consumption by 20%. It did for me. Eating is a brain activity as much as it is anything else.

Here are a few additional tips from brain research on mindless eating:

  • Sit beside the person who eats the least.
  • Always be the last one to start eating.
  • Never eat out of the package.
  • Wrap tempting food in foil so you don't see it!
  • Use smaller plates.

Most of us are blissfully unaware of how much we eat. Spend the next week noticing.

In the next Brain Bulletin I will tell you about a remarkable study!