Portion sizes are getting larger and larger, which as we all know, is causing an increase in the rate of obesity. It makes sense that an increased portion size would increase food intake, which would then increase our weight. Could a simple change in the way we eat help us to lose weight? We’ve all heard about portion control, but what about using smaller utensils to affect the rate of weight loss? A new study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, appears to be saying just that. They recommend reducing the size of tableware to reduce the risk of weight gain and obesity caused by consuming large portion sizes.
Twenty-nine obese adults joined this study to test this recommendation. For 7-12 weeks, they alternated between larger and smaller plates and larger and smaller spoons. Twenty-one of the participants lost weight.
How does this work? Can we actually fool ourselves with smaller utensils? Won’t we just go back for more? There are different theories and thoughts about that. However, perception plays a big role. Identical quantities of food appear larger when served on a smaller plate. We perceive this as the amount of food available, and we eat smaller portions. It’s like the reverse of the salad bar phenomena which involves grabbing a large plate and piling on all of the different varieties of food. We tend to serve ourselves more when our plates and bowls are bigger. The space is available, so we fill it up; driving up the calorie count.
The approach of using smaller utensils is appealing because it’s simple. If we can regulate calorie intake and achieve weight loss success by eating on smaller plates and using smaller silverware, it sure is worth a try.