By Anil Minocha MD, author of Dr. M's Seven-X Plan for Digestive Health
Magic of small plates to prevent obesity
Here is an interesting hypothesis: because people eat most of what they serve themselves, anything that leads them to over-serve would result in over-eating.
This hypothesis leads to the obvious question, i.e. whether the amount of eating self-served food would be more if the size of bowl and serving spoon were larger as compared to smaller size. This fascinating question is answered by this study conducted by Dr. Wansink and colleagues from Department of Applied Economics and Management at the Cornell University.
The results were published American Journal of Preventative Medicine with the title, "Ice cream illusions bowls, spoons, and self-served portion sizes
Interestingly, the investigators used 85 nutrition experts as their subjects who were attending an ice cream social for a celebration.
The subjects were randomly assigned to:
- a smaller (17 oz) or a larger (34 oz) bowl
- a smaller (2 oz) or larger (3 oz) ice cream scoop
After the subjects had served themselves, they were asked to complete a questionnaire. At the same time, the ice cream that they had served themselves was weighed.
The investigators found that despite the fact these nutrition experts were given a larger bowl, they served themselves about one-third more without being aware of it. They served themselves 15% when using a larger serving spoon.
The authors concluded that overall food consumption could be controlled by altering the size of bowls and serving spoons. They recommend that those desiring weight loss should use smaller bowls and spoons, whereas those with the goal of weight-gain, e.g. undernourished or elderly may be do the opposite.
Do you think you are likely to eat same or less overall if your plate size or serving spoon size is smaller? Please give me your thoughts.