Buy smaller plates to lose weight

Lesotho Times - - Health -

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

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