… and hence guarantee that they fail at it.

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This is a really good point, thanks. Under the guise of “choice”, Americans consumers are forced to exercise self-control and “make healthy choices” many more times as often as Japanese and Europeans. Of course the former will fail more often.

I wonder if it arises from a puritanical egotistical notion of proving yourself “worthy” by overcoming temptation continuously and fighting that battle over and over again rather than achieving moderation by a more ascetic approach of simply removing oneself from temptation and not having to test oneself all the time. That somehow I am better for having resisted the candy jar in the corporate kitchen 7 of the 10 times I passed by, rather than not having eaten any candy because there was none there in the first place!

The other thing that people don’t realise is the cognitive load of having to make that stupid irrelevant choice all the time — wouldn’t you rather have that time and mental energy to think about something more important than which of the many identical sugar-filled cereals to buy?

I stop to miau to cats.

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