By Assia Mortensen
Two recent studies have found that choosing certain sizes and colors of bowls and plates may help you eat less, without affecting satisfaction. In America, over several decades, the size of our waistlines has increased dramatically along with the size of our china. The average size of dinner plates, likewise, has increased by more than 20%. Worldwide obesity rates have doubled in the last three decades, according to USA Today.
To find out whether or not smaller plates make for less food consumption, researchers from Cornell University and Georgia Institute of Technology asked 255 participants to serve tomato soup in seven different sized bowls. Three of the bowls were smaller, three larger and one medium sized – which acted as a control.
The surprising result? Virtually all of the subjects served significantly less soup in the smaller bowls. A follow-up study revealed the same “bowl bias.”
Researchers believe, when viewing food on a small plate, the serving size looks relatively larger than it actually is, leading to less overall food consumption.
Another thing that helped people eat less was using dishes with high-contrast colors: Serving white pasta on a black plate, or green salad in a white bowl, for example, made the participants serve about 20% less overall food, the researchers noted.
Eating just 50 calories less per day can result in 5 pounds of weight loss over a year. While there’s no magic bullet for weight loss, buying smaller dishes may trick your mind into simply eating less.
*New dishes? Save the larger ones for special occasions and pick up some smaller dishes at most department stores — or you can often find a nice set at an antique store.
*Glass sizes make a difference too. If you drink soda, or other high calorie drinks, try a juice glass rather than a huge water glass.
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Use Contrasting Colours And Smaller Plates To Lose Weight, Study Finds; Sara Nelson; Huffington Post UK; Accessed July 19, 2012
Change Plates to Lose Weight; Health.com; Accessed July 19, 2012
Global Obesity Rates Double Since 1980; USA Today; Accessed July 19, 2012