July 13, 2024

Economix: Use a Bigger Fork and You’ll Eat Less

By now you’ve probably heard — from nutritionists, diet books and TV personalities — that bigger plates encourage people to eat more food. A new study, published in The Journal of Consumer Research, finds that the size of your utensils has the opposite effect: using a bigger fork leads people to eat less.



Dollars to doughnuts.

The study, by researchers at the University of Utah, was conducted at a “popular, locally owned Italian restaurant in the southwestern United States that has been in business for 40 years and offered a typical menu.”

Two sets of forks were distributed for each of four meals, two lunches and two dinners. The larger fork held 20 percent more food and the smaller fork 20 percent less food than the regular restaurant fork.

Dishes were weighed before and after they were served to customers, so that the researchers could determine how much people ate. They found that people who used the larger fork left significantly more food on their plates (7.91 ounces versus 4.43 ounces).

The authors theorize that this difference may be due to a “goal-oriented” way in which people approach mealtime:

In sum, we find that when people have a well-defined hunger goal to satisfy and put forth effort to reach the goal, they consume more from a small fork rather than from a large fork. The bite size becomes the medium that helps them satisfy their goal and also influences the quantity consumed. The small fork gives a feeling that they are not making much progress in satiating their hunger, which results in more consumption compared to when they have a large fork.

I now await the creation of a new multibillion-dollar “Big Fork Diet” franchise.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=73a7fe8cafe83640f788393fca97d034

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