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Things that Can Affect How We Eat

What we eat can be either beneficial or detrimental, depending on the food involved. But perhaps more important is not what we eat, but rather how we eat. It has been found that the way we eat affects us just as much as the food that we eat. In some cases, the way we eat can force us to do things that we want to avoid in the first place; in just the same way, it can help deter the things we do not want to happen. How we eat can really cause a variety of effects.

What we eat on. When it comes to what we eat on, two things matter: color and size. Both affect how much food we perceive on the plate. A plate that shows color contrast to the surface of its table will appear to have less food, while a plate that matches the table surface will appear to have more. As for size, the larger the plate, the more food is perceived to be on the plate. When more food is perceived to be on the plate, people will also tend to eat more. All of this is because the color contrast and plate sizes create optical illusions that trick the mind into seeing what is a false perception.

What we eat with. Similar to plate sizes above, the utensils that we use to eat with can affect how much we eat. The difference is that the effect is almost literally the opposite. Smaller utensils will cause a person to eat more, while larger utensils will cause a person to eat less. Again, this is a matter of perception; a person eating with larger utensils will perceive that they have eaten to fullness sooner and will proceed to stop eating in awareness of that; in contrast, those with smaller utensils will keep eating more until the sensation of fullness kicks in later. The utensil sizes trigger a mental response to the serving and eaten portions.

Who we eat with. Men and women react differently to others when they eat. Women when they eat with other women tend to display acts of behavioral mimicry – wanting to copy how the other acts. This is due to their desire of wanting to create social connections with their partner. On the other hand, men have something to show – their masculinity – so when they eat with other men, they keep portions low instead to minimize that. When men and women get together,however, men will up their portions to maximize their masculinity. In these cases, it is the social relations that determine how people react through eating.

What we leave behind. As it turns out, the things that are left behind after eating can affect how someone will eat next. It has been shown using peanuts in shell that those who leave behind the shells after eating tend to eat less because they are aware of the portion they consumed; those who eat pre-shelled peanuts tend to to eat more. This awareness is similar to the one for utensils. More than that, this shows that even the visual remnants of a food can serve as reminders of what has been consumed; thus, a present reminder helps to see what got consumed and in effect to decrease appetite.

Many things can happen depending on how we eat. It is quite possible for someone to eat more or less depending on the eating situation, no matter what is being eaten. Considering these factors, the trick is then to optimize them so that one does not eat more or less than one needs. It all goes back to making eating a good thing to do.

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