For most snack foods, it’s easy to eat a HUGE quantity of the food in question.
This is no surprise—snack foods were specifically designed to be easy to eat. Plus even after you’ve eaten a bunch, it takes a minute or two to feel full.
Here is a technique to eat fewer snacks that—amazingly—requires no self control whatsoever!
First, an observation: it’s easy to eat a large number of individually-wrapped tiny chocolates (Figure 1), but much more difficult to over-eat on an inconvenient food like the lobster in Figure 2.
Fig. 1: It’s incredibly easy to eat like a million of these chocolates.
Fig. 2: Foods that are more difficult to eat, like this boiled lobster, are generally not in danger of becoming an easily-devoured “casual snack” food.
Therefore, a solution presents itself: we can make snack foods extremely inconvenient to eat, as shown in Figure 3.
Fig. 3: By repackaging the chocolate (eft) in a giant ball of thick foil that takes a whole minute to unwrap (right), we have saved the eater from the perils of casual snacking.
As an added bonus, this might allow the “serving size” on snack foods to be realistic (e.g., a box of Nabsico Oreos lists the serving size as only “3 cookies”—that might be accurate if each oreo came inside a hard carapace that you’d need to open with a lobster cracker).
A short list of foods that come in both “easy” and “difficult” forms:
- Easy: shelled peanut halves. Difficult: whole peanuts with the shell still on
- Easy: pitted olives. Difficult: olives with a pit
- Easy: crab cakes. Difficult: an actual crab with a shell
- Easy: a hamburger. Difficult: a bull that you have to defeat in one-on-one combat as a matador, while thousands of Spaniards heckle you.
PROS: May reduce over-eating and increase general health and welfare.
CONS: Increases cost of food. May generate additional waste products and be less environmentally friendly.
Bonus suggested follow-up science experiment:
It would be interesting to see what the rate of calorie consumption is for:
- Easy-to-eat shelled peanuts
- More labor-intensive unshelled peanuts
That might be a good science fair project and/or low-impact-factor-journal publication, if it hasn’t already been done!
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