Ever wondered why the French don't pile up the pounds considering all the baguettes, wine, cheese, pate and pastries they eat? Well, that's because they use internal cues, such as no longer feeling hungry, to stop eating, says a new study.
However, on the other hand, Americans get fat really fast and easily, because they use external cues, like - whether their plate is clean, they have run out of their beverage or the TV show they're watching is over.
The study was based on the analysis of questionnaires from 133 Parisians and 145 Chicagoans about how they decide when to stop eating.
"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.
"Over-relying on external cues to stop eating a meal may prove useful in offering a partial explanation of why body mass index [a calculation based on the relationship of weight to height] varies across people and potentially across cultures," said co-author Collin Payne, a Cornell postdoctoral researcher.
"Relying on internal cues for meal cessation, rather than on external cues, may improve eating patterns in the long term," he added.
The study is published in the journal Obesity.