From the Cornell University Food & Brand Lab
Small plates can help us lose weight when we self-serve
There are small easy steps that we can take to tackle the burgeoning problem of obesity. One of those solutions is surprisingly simple: use smaller plates.
There have been over 50 studies examining whether or not smaller plates help in reducing consumption. Despite all these studies, there is surprisingly little consensus on the effect of smaller plates. Some find that smaller plates help reduce consumption, but others do not.
New research published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research examines all these prior research projects together and finds that overall, smaller plates can help reduce consumption under specific conditions.
The researchers collated 56 previous research studies examining the effect of smaller plates on consumption. The various studies examined whether smaller plates reduce consumption for a wide variety of conditions:
- Food type (snackfoods, popcorn, ice-cream, breakfast cereal, rice, vegetables, fruit, etc.),
- Plate-type (bowls vs. plates, serving platter vs plate from which the food is consumed),
- Portion-size (fixed amount of food served, amount varied in line with the plate-size, or self-served portions),
- Setting (consumers invited to a food laboratory vs unaware consumers in natural settings such as a buffet).
Combining all the studies showed that halving the plate size led to a 30% reduction in amount of food consumed on average. In the case of plates, reducing the diameter by 30% halves the area of the plate and reduces consumption by 30%. Continue reading