Published on May 31st, 2014 | by Margaret Pardoe0
Step away from the buffet!
“Variety is the Spice of Life”
Many of us are totally deluded about what and how much we eat according to the UK TV Channel 4 series “Secret Eaters”. This fascinating insight into the “secret” eating habits of overweight people who are totally bewildered by their weight gain, shows how easily we can be duped and/or dupe ourselves into believing our diet is healthy. The volunteers agree to have their food intake and exercise habits filmed 24/7 and agree to follow their normal lifestyle and eating. What they are unaware of is the couple of top Private Investigators on their tail throughout, alongside family, friends and colleagues acting as informants! The psychology and science of eating are examined and the results both illuminating and entertaining, and I particularly like the lack of “shaming” the participants whilst guiding them into a healthier future.
Alongside the main story, “Secret Science” experiments are set up and supervised by programme advisor Dr David Lewis, Chartered Psychologist, and presenter Anna Lewis.
One such experiment takes place at a tenpin bowling alley. Two groups were filmed each believing that the purpose was to study team dynamics. Each group was given refreshments in the form of 5 bowls of jelly beans. One group had exclusively red jelly beans and the other group a choice of 5 different colours. The scientists were expecting that the group with the variety of beans would be more likely to eat more. And if they do, why?
Dr Lewis comments that “a lot of research shows that the more variety there is in our food, the more we are likely to eat”, and hypothesizes that this may be a survival mechanism from more primitive times and that humans instinctively seek out variety in size, shape and colour of food to ensure inclusion of the broadest range of macro and micronutrients possible to ensure survival.
The group offered a variety of colours ate 800% more!
Let me just reiterate that!
The group with a variety of jelly beans ate 800% more!!!
A great strategy if you are a hunter-gatherer foraging for food…..much less so when confronted with an
“All you can eat buffet!”
There is an exception to the suggestion to “Stay away from the buffet!” That’s when the variety comes in the form of vegetables and fruit.
So with some planning and creative presentation, variety can be supplied in the form of visually appealing and micronutrient-rich salads and vegetables and fruits. Portion control the rest of the meal.
And what to do if you are out in the big wide world, at an event or a wedding or a party and the food is served as a buffet?
Enjoy every mouthful and eat mindfully!