Are you a Sacramento consumer interested in food psychology? Is it true that the less you pay, the less you eat? Take the many buffets in Sacramento, where you can eat as much as you like for a fixed price. You can get almost any type of food at a Sacramento buffet. For Indian food, Greek food, Chinese/Asian food or Italian food, for vegetarian-friendly foods, there are Sacramento restaurants specializing in buffets for lunch or dinner.
Most of us don’t overeat because we’re hungry. We overeat because of family and friends, packages and plates, names and numbers, labels and lights, colors and candles, and other environmental factors. We investigate how these factors influence us and how to make them work for us rather than against us, that’s where food psychology researchers come in and do studies on behavioral economics as related to nutrition psychology. See, People unknowingly serve themselves more when they use a larger plate.
Changing the environmental factors that increase food intake volume may be a simpler, easier, and more effective way to decrease our consumption. For example, the findings of one study at Cornell noted that it’s the size of the meal, not the body weight of its consumer, is responsible for this increase in underestimation of how many calories a person eats at one meal. See the site “Beating Mindless Eating.”
Some have added weekend breakfast buffets as well. If you’re looking for a particular type of buffet food, such as sushi buffets or soup and vegetable salads, for example, check the website with the directories of Sacramento buffets, Sacramento Buffet Restaurants | Urbanspoon, South Sacramento – Buffet Restaurants – Sacramento | Urbanspoon, Sacramento Restaurants Buffets – Yelp, China Buffet Restaurant: Sacramento, Carmichael, Citrus Heights, Seafood Buffets: Umeko Buffet – Sacramento, CA, Buffet Restaurants in Sacramento, CA – Great California Restaurants, Bud’s BuffetSacramento – Restaurant Reviews – TripAdvisor, and HomeTown Buffet, and Fresh Choice.
For example Fresh Choice in Sacramento is vegetarian-friendly, has many more choices of vegetables to add to your salad, features also soups and pasta or rice, desserts, breads, frozen desserts, puddings, fruits, and if you want to add animal protein, has choices of chicken to add to your salad. The important point is that buffet eatery usually labels what is in the salads, for example whether or not specific artificial sweeteners are added to the salad listed by brand name or whether the only thing in the salad is the dressing, salt, and pepper.
So check out the label if you have food sensitivities. You might ask what’s in the natural seasonings, if that’s listed. Soft serve currently is in the frozen dessert machine there, not the frozen nonfat yogurt of years ago. But there is a wide choice of buffet foods and soups. One wish: if they only reduced the salt content of the soups and let the customer add the salt to taste from the salt and pepper shakers on the table. The reason is that salt-sensitive customers would welcome low-salt soups.
At any buffet, what you want to look for in a buffet is whether or not monosodium glutamate (MSG) is put in most or all of the buffet foods, if you are sensitive to MSG. Do any eateries and restaurants label the ingredients in the foods? Have you ever found someone in an eatery tell you just what’s in natural flavors or natural seasonings? If so, thank the person.
Why you eat less at a bargain-priced buffet
Check out a study on buffets by the Cornell University Food & Brand Lab. Did you know that food psychology was a popular subject for study? Researchers found that when you are given a 50 percent discount on a buffet, you tend to eat 28 percent less of what you perceive as cheap foods. But they rated the discounted food as better tasting.
They didn’t rate it on whether it was healthier food, but tasty food was number one, and better tasting won the most votes. The goal seemed to be getting your money’s worth from portion size and tastiness of food at any given buffet. The researchers concluded that picking a bargain buffet leads to you eating less, but enjoying the taste of the food more.
The research is independently funded by grants and consumer groups. It focuses on better understanding consumers and how they relate to foods and packaged foods. The Food & Brand Lab research has driven the creation of the SmarterLunch Rooms Initiative and the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs (BEN)—two programs devoted to the funding, conduction, and dissemination of research concerning children’s health. Research from the lab has been reported in dozens of magazines along with coverage on CNN, 20/20, ABC News, NBC News, and on the front page of the Wall Street Journal and USA Today.
What topics are studied in food psychology research?
Here is an overview of some of the general themes such as “Beating Mindless Eating.” Usually, you don’t overeat because you’re hungry. If you’re going to overeat, it’s usually because of family and friends, packages and plates, names and numbers, labels and lights, colors and candles, and other environmental factors. Researchers investigate how these factors influence you and how to make them work for you rather than against you and your family.
Another topic at the Cornell site is the link, “Restaurant Confidential.” Restaurants are filled with booby–traps that cause you to overeat. These include glasses, plates, and menu descriptions. If we apply the studies to Sacramento, what Sacramento really needs are smarter lunchrooms. Can you, as an average consumer use behavioral economics to explore how small low–cost changes in the lunchroom can encourage individuals to choose healthier foods? That what researchers in food psychology and behavior study. It is a marriage of economics to psychology that leads to more research in field known as “marketing nutrition.”
What topics are studied in marketing nutrition?
Marketing nutrition researchers explore the details of what makes food desirable or undesirable to consumers. Marketing nutrition researchers have investigated the impact of labeling, packaging, and marketing different products to determine how best to promote healthy eating. New research methods used is to ask ‘why’. To help people eat better, researchers and consumers need to understand the “whys” behind their behavior. The goal is to use research methods that help answer the ‘why’s’ behind food psychology. For further information on results of studies, check out these Cornell University Food and Brand Lab sites: Beating Mindless Eating, Smarter Lunchrooms, Grocery Shopping Psychology, Restaurant Confidential, Marketing Nutrition, and New Research Methods.
Food psychology researchers study grocery shopping psychology: Do grocery stores manipulate the consumer, or are shoppers our own worst enemy? What are some of the secrets as to why many people overbuy and how to better control ourselves, is another topic researched by food psychology researchers who also study behavioral economics. See the sites, Key Discoveries and Research Areas. Here are some discoveries based on studies from the Cornell University Food & Brand Lab:
See the Cornell University Food & Brand lab website, Restaurant Confidential. At that site, you’ll read how the Food & Brand lab noted how restaurants are filled with booby–traps the cause us to overeat. These original findings show how glasses, plates, and menu descriptions can unknowingly cause us to eat too much. Here are the results of some of the Cornell University Food & Lab Brand studies for you to explore:
The Flat–Rate Pricing Paradox: Conflicting Effects of ‘All–You–Can–Eat’ Buffet Pricing
What the researchers found was that buffet eaters aren’t trying to eat so much to get their money’s worth. Instead, the study found that consumers who paid more for an all–you–can–eat lunch buffet ate significantly more than those who received a discount. See, summary | full text.
Now check out the study on Eating Behavior and Obesity at Chinese Buffets. See the summary | full text. Check out what environmental factors affect the eating behaviors of people at all–you–can–eat buffets. Then read the article on the study about low-calorie food claims and high-calorie food intake. See, the “Biasing Health Halos of Fast–Food Restaurant Claims: Lower Calorie Estimates and Higher Side–Dish Consumption Intentions” study.
Do you underestimate calorie content?
Researchers found that people are more likely to underestimate the caloric content of main dishes and to choose higher–calorie dishes, drinks, or desserts when fast food restaurants claim to be “healthy” compared to those that do not. See, summary | full text.
Do you eat more fat when you put oil on bread or butter on bread?
Do you eat more fat by putting olive oil on bread or butter on bread? You actually eat fewer slices of bread. The site, Restaurant Confidential reveals another study with hidden cameras at Italian restaurants that showed how people who put olive oil on a piece of bread will eat more fat and calories than if they spread butter on the bread. The good news is that they eat fewer pieces of bread. See the study, summary | full text. The site, Restaurant Confidential also has the results of studies on wine, and how the shape of wine bottles and glasses influences what and how much people drink.
Do descriptive labels influence diners to rate the foods as tasting better and being higher in calories? Another study called “Descriptive Menu Labels’ Effect on Sales.” found that by placing descriptive names (Black Forest Double–Chocolate Cake vs. Chocolate Cake) on menus, the words seemed to create pictures in the diners’ minds because the descriptions actually made people rate the foods as tasting better and as being more caloric. See the summary | full text.
Below you will find pages dedicated to key findings from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. Each page includes a summary of the corresponding peer–reviewed paper, related videos, recent media, related articles, and links to other useful resources.
Resource Links on Food Psychology from the Cornell University Food & Brand Lab
Blame your Spoon!
Spoon size can alter your perception of medicine consumption.
The Large Plate Mistake
The Curse of the Chinese Buffet
Heavier people exhibit different eating and sitting habits in a Chinese Buffet.Beware of Health Halos
Patrons frequently overestimate the “healthiness” of “healthy” fast food
The Myth of the Label
Short healthy food claims on a package are viewed more favorably by consumers.
The Joy of Cooking Too Much
Portion sizes and calories in recipes have greatly increased over the past 100 years.
Low–Fat Foods Can Make You Fatter!
People frequently over–consume foods labeled as low–fat.
School Lunch: Debit vs. Cash?
Children who use cash to pay for lunch often make healthier choices.
What Makes a Hero?
Heroes can be both born and made.
Bowl size can influence how much you think you are eating.
Gender and mood can influence how much and what type of foods you eat.
People unknowingly serve themselves more when they use a larger plate