Food For Thought – Getting it Mostly Right

I was on my way home from YWM2015 the other night, it was a four hour flight from San Antonio to SeaTac, and I managed to sleep a good chunk of it. But when I woke, I decided to check out what sort of video content Alaska Air offered. You can rent videos, they stream to your own device, or they have some free content.

One of the options was the National Geographic Channel and they had an episode of Crowd Control called Food For Thought, in the description they talked about “the invisible diet” among other things. So that intrigued me enough to check it out.

Crowd Control seems to be a show where this  guy uses various psychological or behavioral science aspects to see if he can put them into some specific situations.

The first clip was about using things like plate size and color to influence portion control, but also ambient color to affect overall eating habits such as time spent eating and even overall amounts. In the clip below he talks about this, and the results seem pretty astounding. In the regular part of the dining room, 83% of diners went back for 2, 3, 4 or even 5 trips to the buffet, where only 39% of those in the “blue room” went back for multiple plates of food, and the most times someone made a trip to the buffet was three.

As someone that deals with obesity issues, as well as having a keen interest in food, cooking, and healthy eating in general, this was pretty interesting to me.

Then the second clip was about snacking, and using what they referred to as “humor” to influence snack choices. They did this by rigging a camera and screen to a vending machine that had a variety of options. Some of the usual junk food, and other options that were low/no fat, reduce sodium, etc.

Now I put the word “humor” in quotes, because while the person on the video screen would offer to tell a joke if you picked something healthy, they went the other direction and decided to use deprecating humor and shaming on those who picked something they considered unhealthy.

Peppered throughout this clip were comments along the lines of “eat that and you’re not going to want to show that body off at the beach” or “you won’t be squeezing in to those jeans”.

One of their Food for Thought Facts was how sugar

I am sort of glad I couldn’t find a video clip of this part of the show… because I don’t think it’s the sort of thing that needs to be “out there”. And I’m hopeful that the only reason it’s the one part of that episode that doesn’t have a clip available is because someone, somewhere along the line wised up to the fact that shaming someone over their weight, over their food choice, is just not a good thing. And trust me, I was prepared to let them know so. Unfortunately, not sure I feel prepared to do so now, without having exact quotes to back it up.

Overall, there was plenty of other interesting things in the episode, and you may be able to find the Food for Thought episode elsewhere. It’s their Season 1, Episode 1 that originally aired on December 5, 2014.

The clips they do have are worth checking out, and here’s one that is an extra that helps dive a bit more how small changes in your dishes can make a difference in your appetite. And for the record, my personal dishes are 9″ round plates, white with a blue border, but the plate I use the most is a dark wooden plate that is just 7″ square.

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