The Eating Habits of Thin People

It's hard not to try everything at a buffet, but experts believe that portion control is the key to staying thin

Do a scan of available dishes – your eyes are often bigger than your stomach

A recent study suggests that the way people eat can help them stay thin

Hands up if you’ve never left a buffet dinner lamenting, “I can’t believe how much I ate!”

Very few hands up, right?

Turns out, however, that there are people out there who don’t eat too much at buffets. Or ever.

And the label they go by is “skinny” people.

At least that’s according to the world’s foremost expert on eating habits, Brian Wansink, director of the food and brand lab at Cornell University, a man who’s authored dozens of studies about why we eat the way we eat.

Look Before You Eat and Stay Thin

In his most recent investigation published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Wansink got 30 volunteers to surreptitiously monitor people lining up at all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet restaurants to check “103 different things” about how folks chose what to eat. After analyzing the data, what these Peking duck peeping Toms determined is that skinny people “case the joint” before putting anything on their plates.

In other words, unlike most of us, skinny people do a tour of available dishes before picking up a plate and putting food onto it.

Even more interesting, if smaller plates are available, skinny people will use them, just to make sure that they don’t end up with huge platefuls of stuff they might be tempted to finish off.

The rest of us, though, says Wansink, don’t think it through. When we see a dish we think we’d like, we then take a large serving of that dish onto our plate. And we do that with every promising-looking dish we encounter, which is why we end up with way too much food on our plates.

In other words, “skinny” people choose buffet food items with their brains; the rest of us choose with our eyes, or more accurately, our appetites.

Dr. Art Hister is a medical writer and health analyst for Global TV.

Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.