Weight loss starts with smaller plates
New research validates what many people already knew – use smaller plates to lose weight.
Researchers analyzed 56 previous studies that examined whether or not smaller plates helped in reducing consumption, according to research published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research. Overall, they found that smaller plates can help reduce overeating under certain conditions.
After reviewing all the studies, researchers found that cutting plate size in half led to a 30 percent decrease in the amount of food consumed on average, according to the study. This happened most often when the diner was able to self-serve their portions and unaware they were being monitored.
“Just changing to smaller plates at home can help reduce how much you serve yourself and how much you eat,” joint-author Natalina Zlatevska, said in a news release.
The findings showed that simply switching to smaller plates can help curb overeating among people in situations where they serve themselves. However, the study leaves out the important concept of eating the right amount of different foods for health reasons.
It is well know that portion sizes of plates have grown over time, says Maritza Moreno, a dietitian at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin, Ill. The typical dinner plate used to be 8 to 9 inches in diameter, but today it can be 11 to 12 inches, she says.
“I see the average person viewing the takeaway message from this study as, ‘Well, I should serve all my meals on appetizer plates,’” Moreno says. “The perception that in order to lose weight, one must restrict overall food intake may be the number one concept that has caused so many men and women to be stuck on a lifetime roller coaster of yo-yo dieting.”
The various studies analyzed whether smaller plates reduced consumption for a wide variety of conditions, including food type, plate-type, portion-size and settings. Diners invited to serve themselves after being provided smaller plates, served less food.
“The most important part about losing weight is whatever regimen a person starts, he or she must be able to maintain it for the long run,” Moreno says. “A person who is constantly unsatisfied after a meal because of eating a minimal amount of food compared to their appetite is not going to be able to stick to that regimen for long before they break and end up in a binge.”
Moreno recommends adding fruits and vegetables to every meal.
“If not educated, eating less overall may mean to some people less of the exceptionally nutritious foods,” she says. “This may lead to nutrient deficiencies and a host of other problems as we age.”
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