We Have To Be So Smart!

January 11th, 2011 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

Reading the introduction to Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink, Ph.D.  I am amazed at all of us living with diabetes.  Seriously.  Wansink says the average person makes an about 200 food or food-related decisions every day.

Those of us living with diabetes are WAAAAY above average.  I am a bit frightened to think how many decisions about food those of us with any type of diabetes make in our average day. 

I for one think about what will taste good, what it might do to my blood sugar in the near and far term, what kind of caloric hit it will take, what I ate an hour ago, what I think I’ll eat later, what I ate yesterday, what exercise I plan on performing in the next few hours, whether  I know what all of the ingredients are in the food or whether there are hidden sugars, whether there is a lot of fat or fiber that may slow down my digestion… and that’s just what I’m thinking as I type right now! 

I do a lot of it so often I am not sure I am actually consciously aware of most of my (more than average) food decisions.

Beyond that, Wansink’s position is that manipulating these (average) decisions is done far before any decision is actually put in front of us: advertisers, packagers, marketers, even architects and interior designers all play a role in our food choices.

And he isn’t even factoring in a disease like type one or type two diabetes.

 Wansink discusses how whether we eat in bright sunlight or a dark movie theater, or whether we eat off a small green plate or a big red one, or whether the food is 90 degrees or 92 degrees when we put our plate down on the table all have subtle psychological influences on our food choices: how much we eat, how much we enjoy it, whether we regret eating it later and so forth.

Those of us counting every carbohydrate need to be aware of at least some of this because, simply, we are counting the grams of carbohydrate in the food we put in our mouths, not what we put on our plates.  (Or our bag or box or carton or what have you.)

Yes, those of us living with diabetes have to be pretty darn smart.  We have to be so smart that we can sometimes outsmart ourselves!  Managing our food choices requires being aware, as much as possible, of many of the psychological effects external factors have on what we do and what we eat.

Sounds difficult.

But we can do this.  We’re smart, you know. 

Pretty darn smart.

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