“Eating mindfully” is the type of phrase you expect to hear from a nutritionist with an out-of-print self-help manual and an upsetting YouTube channel. But while it’s easy to shrug off this type of advice with stuff-upper-lip bravado, it’s impossible to deny the overwhelming evidence that our food impulses are, for the most part, all in our heads.
The psychology of eating is important to explore for two main reasons: It can help you understand your craving better should you have any desire to control them, and it can help you see through the marketing of big food brands that have done a huge amount of research to figure out how to hook you with their products. The field of food science is also just plain interesting, full of lab-tested mind games and shocking facts that make for great dinner-table conversation.
Here, we take a quick survey of some of the most interesting findings from food psychology studies. Find out why poor sleep makes you crave egg-and-cheese sandwiches, what the “buffet effect” is, and how many cheeseburgers you need to achieve the pleasure of an orgasm,