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My Popcorn Is Stale, But I’m Eating It Anyway

If your food is stale, you're less likely to eat it, right? Not if you're reaching for stale food out of habit.


Photo: jennie-o (flickr)

Experts say the study could have an effect on how to treat overeating.

A new study from the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin monitored popcorn eaters in a movie theater and office. Those who were accustomed to eating popcorn during a movie didn’t seem to notice if they were consuming stale or fresh popcorn. Those who claimed they were very used to eating popcorn during a movie ate the same amount of popcorn, fresh or stale.

When the same people were given popcorn in a meeting room, they paid more attention to the freshness of the popcorn.

The implications of this study could effect how obesity is treated.

Co-author Wendy Wood says:

It’s not always feasible for dieters to avoid or alter the environments in which they typically overeat. More feasible, perhaps, is for dieters to actively disrupt the established patterns of how they eat through simple techniques, such as switching the hand they use to eat.

Read More:

  • People eat out of habit, a study finds, even when food is stale (Los Angeles Times)
Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Chicago. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

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