18 February 2008
Sacre Bleu! Americans Are Dumb Eaters
Why don't the French get as fat as Americans, considering all the baguettes, wine, cheese, pate and pastries they eat? Cornell University researchers think they know the answer. They believe that the French use internal cues - such as no longer feeling hungry - to stop eating. Americans, on the other hand, tend to use external cues - such as whether their plate is clean, they have run out of their beverage or the TV show they're watching is over.
"Furthermore, we have found that the heavier a person is - French or American - the more they rely on external cues to tell them to stop eating and the less they rely on whether they felt full," said Cornell's Brian Wansink. The new study, an analysis of questionnaires from Parisians and Chicagoans about how they decide when to stop eating, is being published in the journal Obesity.
"Over-relying on external cues to stop eating a meal may prove useful in offering a partial explanation of why body mass index varies across people and potentially across cultures," said co-author Collin Payne, a Cornell postdoctoral researcher. He stressed that further studies should following up with smoking behavior and socio-economic differences as well. "Relying on internal cues for meal cessation, rather than on external cues, may improve eating patterns in the long term."
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Source: Cornell Food & Brand Lab