Study Confirms That Larger Plates Make You Eat More
According to a new study at the University of Cambridge, serving food on a larger plate causes people to eat more.
In an analysis of 61 studies on eating habits, which included 6,711 participants overall, researchers found that large plates and package sizes can have a significant impact on the amount of food people consume. They found that reducing the size of plates and packaging in a person’s everyday diet could cut 22-29% of their daily calories – an average of 527 calories each day – because it encourages them to reduce their portion sizes.
The findings were consistent among participants regardless of age, gender, weight, or even varying levels of self-control.
The study authors concluded that making small changes to the way food is served could be a great way to help people maintain or work towards a healthy weight.
Study leader Dr Gareth Hollands, of Cambridge’s Behaviour and Health Research Unit, says: “Helping people to avoid ‘overserving’ themselves or others with larger portions of food or drink by reducing their size, availability and appeal in shops, restaurants and in the home, is likely to be a good way of helping lots of people to reduce their risk of overeating.”
Dr Hollands adds that while the results of the study may be stating the obvious, they also challenge assumptions that a lack of self-control is the only reason people overeat. They highlight the fact that there are a lot of factors which contribute to the amount of food people consume, some of which play a much more significant role than you would imagine.
Co-author Dr Ian Shemilt, a senior behaviour and health researcher, says that at the moment it’s all too easy for people to eat too much. He believes that restaurants and food manufacturers should do more to reduce the availability and appeal of large food portions. “We hope that our findings will provide fresh impetus for discussions on how this can be achieved in a range of public sector and commercial settings.”