French people eat until they're full, Americans eat until the food's gone

More research in the ongoing struggle to understand why French people are skinnier than Americans, despite the chocolate, wine, cheese, pastry and pate: Cornell researchers say it's down to the different cues that French people and Americans use to tell them when to stop eating. The French stop when they're full, Americans stop when the plate is empty (or the TV show ends).

"Furthermore, we have found that the heavier a person is -- French or American -- the more they rely on external cues to tell them to stop eating and the less they rely on whether they felt full," said senior author Brian Wansink, the John S. Dyson Professor of Marketing and director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab in the Department of Applied Economics and Management, now on leave to serve as executive director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion until January 2009.

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