Smaller Plate Won't Help Your Diet, Research Shows

People eat until full regardless of the dinnerware, researcher says

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FRIDAY, Feb. 3 (HealthDay News) -- A smaller plate won't help you eat less, says a new study that challenges a widely held belief.

"Smaller plates are often recommended as a way of controlling intake, but that simply isn't an effective strategy," senior researcher Meena Shah, a professor of kinesiology at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, said in a news release. "There was no plate size, weight status, or plate size by weight status effect on meal energy intake."

The study included 10 overweight or obese women and 10 normal weight women who were randomly assigned to have lunch using either a small (8.5-inch) or large (10.8-inch) plate. The women were told to serve themselves and eat until they were satisfied.

The women did this on two different days, using a different-size plate each time.

"It is possible that plate size does not have an impact on energy intake because people eat until they are full regardless of what utensils they are using," Shah said.

She noted that overweight and obese women "reported lower levels of hunger and prospective consumptions before the meals and felt less full after the meals compared to normal weight subjects despite no difference in energy consumption between two groups. This suggests that overweight/obese individuals may have a lower ability to sense hunger and fullness than normal weight adults."

The study was recently published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about food portions.

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