Marcus Lillkvist stared at his plate in shock. "I'd read about these American portion sizes," he said in disbelief. "That's not a burrito—it's a log." Lillkvist, a Swede on his first trip to the U.S., then did a very un—American thing: He put down his fork and pronounced himself satiated.
A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that our food consumption has increased by 500 calories per day. Partly, that's a side effect of plenty: Confronted by giant bags of popcorn, groaning buffet tables or easy-to-reach cookie jars, we readily overindulge. Brian Wansink, director of the University of Illinois' Food and Brand Laboratory, has found many factors that fake us into overeating.
People who drink from short, fat glasses drink twice as much as those who use tall, slender glasses—even when the glasses hold the same volume.
Do you live for Chocolate Fudge Death by Decadence Torte? People rate desserts with dramatic names higher than simple "chocolate cake," even if the two are identical.
Putting food out of reach can ease temptation, but mindfulness is still in order. In offices with Hershey's Kisses, workers who had to get out of their chairs to reach the candy bowl made fewer trips for treats. But they didn't realize that once at the candy bowl, they tended to grab two or three Kisses, rather than just one.