Are ya done digesting all the chips and dips you ate watching the Colts and the Bears yet? An awful lot of eating goes down on Super Bowl Sunday. Which makes it fertile ground for researchers who study our eating habits. Cornell University’s Brian Wansink wrote the book “Mindless Eating, Why We Eat More Than We Think.” He used the 2004 Super Bowl for an eating study, soon to be published in the journal Perceptual and Motor Skills.
Fifty three football fans got treated to an all you can eat chicken wing buffet during the 2004 game between the Panthers and Patriots. The party took place in a sports bar in Champaign, Illinois, and the guests didn’t know that the whole thing was really an experiment. During the game, waitresses cleared the chicken bones from only half the tables. And the study subjects whose plates got emptied wound up eating 43 percent more wings than those whose plates were covered with bones. The presence of the bones apparently provided a visual cue to the partygoers that they’d already had their fill. Another reason not to be a member of the clean plate club.