Which makes me ask two basic Questions…
“Can keeping a track of what you eat change how hungry you think you are?”
“Does portion size mean anything?”
In a simple test
Two groups of 15 people were treated to a dinner of chicken drumsticks. Two large plates of 150 chicken drumsticks each were put onto each table, they were checked beforehand to make sure they contained exactly the same quantity, both in terms of number and weight.
The first table was left to get on with their meal more-or-less unhindered. However, the second group regularly had all the bones and other evidence of what they had consumed taken away from the table. At the end of the meal, the amount of chicken that each table had eaten was then measured.
The result showed that the table who had their bones cleared away throughout the meal ate nearly 10% more chicken than the table who could see how much they had eaten by the bones and remains left on the table. You could use this method for yourself, as a reminder of how much you’ve been eating.
It’s not as good as portion control to start with, but at least if you are faced with going to a buffet or something like that, make a mental note before you start to clear your plate of what’s on there to give yourself some sort of guidance.
I’ve long been an advocate of eating sensible portion sizes as it's better to go back and take a bit more if your hungry than take too much and eat it just because it's on your plate. Our next quick study illustrates that very nicely.
There was a study done two years ago in America, which showed that the size of the container can unknowingly and powerfully increase just how much food a person eats.
A test was carried out using movie goers and popcorn. Half of the movie-goers were given large size buckets of popcorn (120g); the other half were given extra large buckets of popcorn (240g).
Just to see if it was purely portion size that would determine how much people ate, half of both groups were given stale popcorn.
At the end of the film, the amount of popcorn left over by each group was collected up and measured. Don’t forget, it was comparing how much each group was given to how much each group had left behind.
The difference between the two groups, those who had the smaller buckets and those who had the super-sized buckets, was quite dramatic.
The results showed that the people who had larger containers proportionally ate 45% more than those people who had the smaller containers.
The thing this shows, is that when we go “large” or “super-size” on our snacks, our understanding of what is an acceptable amount to eat goes up. Quite simply put, the larger the portion you have on your plate (or in your bucket!) the more you will eat.
This means that there is a very simple way of avoiding eating too much. If you don’t want to eat more than you need to, don’t take the super-sized portions.
In fact one very good tip, is to take half of what you think you need and eat that.
Once you have finished, leave it 5 to 10 minutes before you decide if you want to go back for more. That way you leave adequate time for your stomach to register if you’re satisfied or not.
Even if you do want a little more – you will be more able to guage just how much, as you already have a very good idea of how satisfying the meal is.
And it’s certain your host will be flattered by you liking it so much you that ‘just had to have a little bit more’