Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Fatties Like Food

There are few more horrible sights than watching people stuff their faces at an all-you-can-eat buffet. Nothing tastes better after several hours of festering under a heat lamp, and it's always sickeningly obvious that many of these people would rather forgo the burden of tongs or serving spoons in favor of a rusty old shovel. But researchers at Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab have been doing just this--staking out all-you-can-eat buffets and reporting on the most common habits of the overweight. The goal is to see if certain eating behaviors can lead to obesity, and the results probably won't surprise you if you're not currently reading this while inhaling your fourteenth Hot Pocket of the day. Turns out, fat people prefer to sit at tables over booths. This is most likely an issue of practicality, since booths don't allow to to incrementally back away from the edge of the table as your gut expands. Fat people also prefer to face the buffet while eating. I'm assuming this is simply a strategic measure, as they can determine when the bucket of snow crab legs is about to deplete past their desired fourth helping (which is all the snow crab legs). The obese prefer larger plates to smaller ones, obviously, and they tend to eschew utensils such as chopsticks (which require dexterity) in favor of forks (which can be gripped by any sized paw). Additionally, they more often leave their napkins on the table or tucked into their shirts than in their laps, since their laps are usually hidden to all but the bravest spelunking Sherpas. Oh, and they don't like to chew. The Cornell researchers aren't sure whether these behaviors are the cause or the result of obesity, but they are sure of one thing: people can be disgusting. All the details you care to eat here.

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