What Is The Real Reason We Overeat?

By Lauren English

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Article Summary

The title of this article is “The Sneaky Thing That Can Cause You to Overeat.” It was written by Maria Carter, can be found in the Women’s Day magazine and was published on March 31, 2016. The article is about what may be the reason behind people overeating. The article came to the conclusion that the cause of individuals overeating is from images on food labels. The pictures on food packages show food in much larger portions than the serving size recommends. These pictures were found to confuse the consumer into thinking they could eat more than they actually could, leading to more calories being consumed. The article gives an example of a cake-mix box that shows a picture of an iced piece of cake. Apparently the image of the cake fooled the readers into thinking that it was the appropriate serving size. The article uses survey results collected by John Brand, P.hD and Brain Wansink, P.h.D from Cornell University. Brand and Wansink were said to of "surveyed 74 undergraduates and 44 women working in the food service and found that both groups overestimated portion sizes after looking at frosted cake on the front of the box. The women, in particular, overestimated by 122 calories per serving.” (Carter, 2016). Carter believes that we would be better off with plain packaging because it would leave less room for confusion of appropriate serving size. She states that plain packaging could help people stop overeating.

Article Critique

This article is featured in a well known magazine called Women's Day. Although the magazine may seem reliable its writers may not be as trustworthy. The author of this article is Maria Carter, a freelance writer with no background in nutrition or health studies. Leaving the question "why would the magazine put her in charge of writing a nutrition related article?" With no background in anything nutrition related it is hard to believe that anything she says is factual and as a result I would say she is not a reliable source for news about nutrition. Carter used a study done by researchers, John Brand and Brian Wansink at Cornell University Food and Brand Lab. Carter only used this source in her article which leaves room for bias. Besides the survey being Carter's only source, the survey was not conducted in an appropriate way. One problem with the survey was the number of people that were asked to participate. The researchers interviewed "72 undergraduates and 44 women working in the food service" (Carter, 2016). The problem with this sampling is that the sample size is very small, leaving room for error and bias. It is also not a true depiction of the population. The survey response would have been more reliable if the sample size was larger. Then, the results would stem from a larger percentage of the population making it more dependable. The third problem with this research is the lack of information regarding the people who were selected to take the survey. Since their is little to no information about the participants in the survey it is possible that the researchers specifically chose the participants to support their conclusions. It is possible that the participants were chosen by the researchers to help skew the results to one specific side. With so many flaws in the gathering of data, the survey results should be deemed unreliable. As a result of the unreliability, this article is not a good source of information regarding images on food packages and the amount of calories people consume.

Work Cited

The Sneaky Thing That's Causing You to Overeat. (2016). Retrieved April 06, 2016, from http://www.womansday.com/health-fitness/nutrition/a54372/the-sneaky-thing-thats-causing-you-to-overeat/