Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Can edible “stop signs” help to curb our appetites?


Brian Wansink’s done it again! Man, how I wish I could be involved in this research. This time his Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University inserted “stop sign” chips into tubes of potato chips. These chips were just regular chips dyed red and inserted at regular intervals. In one study the interval was every 7 or 14 chips and in another study, every 5 or 10 chips. Students were given one of the two intervals to snack on while watching video clips in class. A control group was given tubes of chips with no added red chips. Students were not told about the red chips, yet those given tubes with red chips still consumed about half as many total chips as those given tubes without red chips. The more frequently the red chips were inserted, the fewer total chips students ate. The premise for this study was that people will generally eat what ever’s in front of them but that visual cues signalling them when to stop might curtail their consumption. As cool as I think this is, I’m not sure how much practical value it has. What other foods do we eat that could be interspersed with “stop signs”? The applicability of this technique seems limited to chips in tubes. Still, if there is a way that we can broaden its application it could be useful to curb over-consumption and obesity.

Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people see food and nutrition from a different perspective and understand that nutrition and health are not necessarily a result of personal choice.

3 thoughts on “Can edible “stop signs” help to curb our appetites?

  1. I want a wide load sign in my blizzard!


  2. Exactly. I’ll eat what’s in front of me. I don’t drink, I don’t practice infidelity, I’m not selfish, I don’t indulge in matters of the ego. There is a finite energy one has to dedicate to being a good person and avoiding possible addictions, I feel I have no energy left to make healthy choices. I’ll eat an entire panormous pizza. It’s pathetic. :) A stop sign in everything would help. It’s hard to be mindful of the food you put in your mouth.


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