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Decreasing Snack Food Sizes – But Not Numbers Of Snacks Eaten – Might Help In Weight Loss

April 29, 2011: 04:28 AM EST
Smaller portions could lead to eating fewer calories, a U.S. study has found. Researchers offered undergraduate psychology students an unlimited supply of candy while they performing an unrelated experiment. For half of the participants, the candies were cut in half. The researchers then tallied the intake of candy in weight, calories and number of pieces. They found that when the size of the candies was decreased, the students ate the same number of pieces (portion), but consumed 50 percent less by weight and much fewer calories (60 kcal on average). The researchers suggested that a “cognitive bias” might be at work: people may feel that 10 pieces of candy is enough, no matter the size. A “simple dietary strategy” might be to decrease snack sizes but not portions.
David Marchiori, et al., "Smaller Food Item Sizes of Snack Foods Influence Reduced Portions and Caloric Intake in Young Adults", Journal of the American Dietetic Association, April 29, 2011, © Elsevier Inc.
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