New research indicates that we eat more candy when it’s close by and visible—and then we underestimate how much we’ve eaten. But on the other hand, according to the researchers, "If we move food away from us, even 6 feet, we eat less and we overestimate how much we have eaten."

I wonder if this lesson can be broadened to include the larger urban environment. Do we eat more fast food if it’s accessible and visible? In light of the growing obesity epidemic, can we realize health benefits simply by making it harder to get to unhealthy food?

Personally, I think our behavior—or at least mine—is often powerfully affected by subtle forms of suggestion. In fact, even as I type this I’m munching on my third or fourth handful of candy corns that someone put in a bowl in the office kitchen. I don’t even like candy corns.