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'Just a Bite' will satisfy

A new study shows that smaller portions of unhealthy snacks will satisfy you just as much as large ones. Using chocolate, apple pie and crisps researchers at Cornell University designed a study to determine if people who were given smaller portions of snack foods would feel hungrier or satisfied fifteen minutes after eating.

Two groups with different portion sizes were tested. The larger portion size group was given 100g of chocolate, 200g of apple pie and 80g of crisps, all slightly larger than the recommended portion sizes and totalling 1370 calories. The other group was given 10g, 40g, and 10g of these same foods respectively, for a total of 195 calories. The two groups were given as much time to eat as needed and were asked to fill out surveys to rate the liking, familiarity and boredom with the food. They were also asked to rate their hunger and craving before the food was presented and fifteen minutes after the taste tests ended.

The results remarkably showed that smaller portion sizes are capable of providing similar feelings of satisfaction as larger ones. Those given larger portions consumed 77% more food but they did not feel any appetite enhancing or stronger feelings of satiety than the group with the smaller portions.

These findings reflect the importance of portion size. While larger portions result in increased food intake, smaller portions may make you feel equally satisfied. So, next time you are craving a snack food, remember that you can feel similarly satisfied with one handful as you would with two. Old habits die hard though, so do whatever you can to prevent yourself from going back for more (reseal those open crisp packets, use smaller snack bowels or wash up the dishes straight afterwards).

van Kleef E et al. Just a bite: Considerably smaller snack portions satisfy delayed hunger and craving. Food Quality and Preference, 2013; 27 (1): 96 DOI:10.1016/j.foodqual.2012.06.008

Categories: Weight Management