Buy smaller plates to lose weight
LONDON — If you find yourself piling on the pounds, try buying a new set of crockery.
For the simple step of eating from a smaller plate could slash your calorie intake by nearly a tenth, according to Cambridge academics.
Their 387-page report into eating habits has produced the most conclusive evidence to date that people consume more food if they are given a bigger portion.
They found that simply reducing the size of a plate or bowl reduces food intake by 159 calories a day — a 9 per cent change for a British adult.
If the same approach is applied to all food and drink consumption — with smaller food packaging in supermarkets and sandwich shops, smaller bottles or glasses in bars and smaller portions in restaurants — overall calorie intake could be reduced by up to 16 per cent, they said.
People tend to fill their plate when they sit down for a meal — and do not stop eating until their plate is clean.
By using smaller tableware, they will put less food on their plate in the first place.
Ian Shemilt, who co-led the study published by the influential Cochrane Library, said that people use plate size as an ‘anchor’ to determine the appropriate amount to eat.
“This in turn results in us unknowingly selecting and eating more food,” the Cambridge University academic said.
“You tend to serve less food on plates that are smaller.”
Dr Gareth Hollands, from the university’s Behaviour and Health Research Unit, who co-led the analysis of 61 separate studies involving 6,711 participants, said: “It may seem obvious that the larger the portion size, the more people eat, but until this systematic review the evidence for this effect has been fragmented, so the overall picture has, until now, been unclear.
“There has also been a tendency to portray personal characteristics like being overweight or a lack of self-control as the main reason people overeat. “In fact, the situation is far more complex. “Our findings highlight the important role of environmental influences on food consumption.
“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.”
In their conclusions, the researchers wrote that people “consistently consume” more food and drink when offered largersized portions, packages or tableware.
— Daily Mail