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What’s New in Weight-Loss Research?
May 31, 2011
The unofficial start of summer is upon us. I hope you all had a nice Memorial Day weekend. How many of you enjoyed a cookout…or two? How many of you followed your meal plan to a T, or counted your carbs perfectly? It’s OK if you didn’t. But in case you’re anxious to get back on track after the long holiday weekend, here are a few new studies that might give you some food for thought.
Smaller Pieces of Food Means Fewer Calories Consumed
Thirty-three out of the 54 subjects ate some candy. Most of the subjects were women. The subjects ate more of the whole pieces of candy than they did of the smaller pieces. In fact, the folks who ate the larger candy consumed 60 calories more than those eating the smaller pieces. There was no difference between the groups in terms of how hungry the subjects were or whether they liked the candy or not. Also, the subjects’ body weight, age, and the amount of time they spent exercising made no difference with regard to how much candy they ate.
Putting it into practice: When your next meal rolls around, try cutting your food into smaller pieces. If you’re snacking, do the same or aim to choose foods that come in smaller sizes. You may very well feel fuller…on less food.
Bigger Forks May Mean Fewer Calories
Specifically, they studied hungry people eating at a restaurant, noting their fork size. Their findings? Diners who used a smaller fork ended up eating more food than those using a larger fork. Why? Their theory is that the diners wanted to feel like they were making “progress” (I guess eating out has turned competitive!) and they apparently weren’t making too much progress with those small forks. As a result, they continued to eat and eat until they noticed their plates emptying. The larger-fork diners, on the other hand, DID notice that they were making progress (perhaps they were eating with shovels?) and that resulted in them eating less.
However, back in the lab with subjects who weren’t all that hungry, the tables were turned. As it turns out, these folks actually ate more with the larger fork compared to those using the smaller fork. Because they weren’t hungry, they turned to physical cues (that is to say, the size of their fork) to guide their food intake. They gauged their “progress” by how many forkfuls they took. This study will be published next year in the Journal of Consumer Research.
Putting it into practice: Have two sizes of forks handy. When you’re hungry, use the larger fork. When you’re not so hungry but need to eat, use the smaller fork. See what happens!
Stay Up Late, Eat More
Putting it into practice: It may be easier said than done, but try to go to bed at a decent hour and aim to get enough sleep. Also, if you do need to eat late at night, make healthier choices and skip the calorie-laden fast food.
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