Using a plate that’s 30% smaller really does reduce food consumption by 30%, new research finds.
It’s been a controversial topic for psychologists, with over fifty different studies published on the topic over the years.
Some studies have found smaller plates help people eat less, others not.
Now, though, a new survey of all the research finds that the trick works, as long as people:
- serve themselves,
- and are unaware they are being monitored.
Over the years scientists have tested all kinds of foods, including snack foods, rice, fruit, cereals and popcorn.
The effect of using smaller plates — as long as people serve themselves and aren’t aware they are being monitored — is usually the same.
They eat less.
Reducing the diameter of a plate by 30% is enough to reduce consumption by 30%.
Dr Natalina Zlatevska, one of the study’s authors, said:
“Just changing to smaller plates at home can help reduce how much you serve yourself and how much you eat.”
If you’re watching your weight, then, it could be time to get some new, smaller, plates.
The study was published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research (Holden et al., 2016).
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Plate image from Shutterstock
→ This post is part of a series on weight loss:
- How Healthy Foods Can Hurt Your Weight Loss Goal
- Dieting Advice: Only Eat When Hungry — Sounds Obvious But It’s Hard
- Why Eating With a Fork Versus A Spoon Can Aid Weight Loss
- This Very Easy Change To Tableware Can Help You Eat 30% Less
- People Eat Fewer Calories After A Straightforward Change To Home Environment
- How The Sounds You Make While Eating Could Help You Lose Weight
- Weight Loss: Why You Should Put A Mirror Up In The Kitchen