3The Sight of Meat Calms You Down (if You're a Guy)
If you get your ass kicked by a huge dude in a biker bar, would you assume that the guy is a meat eater or a vegetarian? Hell, has a vegetarian ever kicked another person's ass in the history of the world? It's not just humans, either -- dangle a steak in front of a tiger and you'll lose your arm. All of those aggressive hunter instincts come right to the surface. Isn't this why men like barbecues? What makes them feel manlier than the sight of hunks of charred meat?
Eh, doesn't count. They still think of that as clothed meat.
But, when researchers actually got around to testing this thesis, the results were ... surprising. Where male dogs enter full-on drooling aggro mode upon seeing a delicious lump of carcass, human men actually calm down when they see meat.
To research this, scientists set up an intricate fake "multitasking" experiment where a bunch of guys had to observe an actor reading a script. Every time the reader made a mistake, they had to punish the guy (who just faked pain) with a sharp noise, the loudness and hurtitude of which depended entirely on the punisher's whim. During this process, some of the men were shown neutral images, while others were subjected to pictures of delicious, delicious meat.
Ah yes, and the confounding neutral meat.
Imagine the researchers' surprise when the guys who were most aggressive in doling out punishment were the ones who hadn't been shown food porn. Meanwhile, the meat-viewing men remained cool and laid back in their actions.
It makes sense, if you think about it. After all, meat is what you get after the hunt is already over. So when a guy has meat in his field of vision, his brain knows that the prey has already been killed and there's no call for murder instincts anymore. Therefore, it tells him to relax and enjoy the delicious spoils of the war he wrought against the animal kingdom.
2Colored Chips Can Control Your Eating
Sometimes there's nothing better than sinking into the couch to watch a good movie armed with a cold drink and a giant bag of chips. Of course, there's only one way for such a scenario to end: Before long, your chips are all gone, even though you swear you never meant to eat them all. The entire potato chip industry is based on this "mindlessly eat until your hand punches through the bottom of the bag" behavior.
Thankfully, researchers have found a way to bring your accidental snack-binging under control ... with food coloring. And it's not what you think -- we're not talking about dyeing food some disgusting color so you don't want it anymore, although that also works (that's why your "dye all of the food green for St. Patrick's Day" party failed). No, it turns out that mixing up the colors of the food makes it easier to keep track of how much we eat.
Chip math is so much easier when you can count them, versus weighing their liquid volume in the toilet.
For the experiment, scientists took tubes of Pringles and sneaked red-dyed chips into them at regular intervals. The test subjects were then told to eat however much they liked, upon which everyone unsurprisingly went all "Whoa, free food!"
Yet, as the dust settled, the people who'd had red chips in their tubes ate 50 percent less than the ones with just regular chips. The placement of the red chips didn't matter, either -- as long as these "divider" chips were present, people just ate less.
The colorblind, however, are still fucked.
Researchers then asked both groups to estimate how much they'd eaten, and again, those who'd had their chips segmented with the red ones were much more successful than those with unaltered snacks.
The thing is, we all know that it's best not to eat too much. Sometimes our brains just have a hard time determining when we've overeaten, because food has few tangible markers beyond "Yeah, there's still some" and "Fuck, all gone now." So the brain just sort of gives up and lets you go on with the automated eating sequence until the food is gone or you collapse. However, introduce the red chips into the equation as markers, and your brain is suddenly able to monitor exactly how much crap you're shoving into your face -- and send a stop signal when appropriate.