Stomach Can Lie When it Comes to Overeating

A recent CDC study confirms the obvious - America is overweight.

Food psychologist Brian Wansink tried to explain the expanding trend at a meeting in D.C. this past week, the American Psychological Association wrote.

Wansink, author of the book Mindless Eating, says that visual cues can lead to increased consumption, and the body's internal cues can't be trusted to signal when its full.

"The lesson is, don't rely on your stomach to tell you when you are full," Wansink told the crowd.  "It can lie."

The Cornell researcher described an experiment in which moviegoers were given popcorn in large or extra-large containers.  He found that those with extra-large containers ate 45 percent more popcorn than those with the regular size.

In another experiment, Wansink constructed a "bottomless bowl."  The first group of subjects was given a normal bowl, and the second, a bowl researchers secretly refilled from the bottom through a pressure-fed tube.  Those with the refilling bowl told researchers were not even aware that they had eaten 73 percent more soup that the first group.

At the end of July, the CDC released its latest numbers on obesity rates.  A dozen states, including West Virginia, had obesity rates higher than 30 percent.  Colorado was the state with the lowest average body mass index.  The District of Columbia had the second lowest obesity rate, but that’s not a fair comparison to make against the rest of the states, since urban areas where residents walk more generally register lower obesity rates than suburban and rural areas.

In Maryland, the CDC says 27.1 percent of residents are obese, and in Virginia, the survey says 26 percent are obese. 

A body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater indicates obesity; BMI is found by dividing weight in kilograms by height in meters squared.

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