THE way a portion of food is described influences how much you eat, according to research I read today. Calling a plate of spaghetti “double size” made people eat less of it, says a survey conducted by the Cornell Food & Brand Laboratory in America.
Diners were served equal sized portions, the only difference being how they were described. Those served with the “double size” helping left 10 times as much food on their plate as those eating the identical “regular” portion.
You’ve probably experienced something similar: A bottle of wine that cost £20 often seems to taste better than one costing £4.99. An experiment at Stanford University in America showed that our perception is influenced by price to such an extent that if you tell someone a bottle of wine costs £250 their brain will genuinely believe the taste to be outstanding.
It’s an example of the way the brain uses shortcuts to make decisions easier. So it’s understandable that the way food portions are described changes how much people eat. People are non-consciously influenced by what products are called.
There’s a lesson here for dieters, too. They will tend to eat more if the portion they order is described in terms like “small” or “regular.”
Fortunately for Slimpod users, who aren’t on a diet, the way their unconscious is being gently retuned helps to overcome this problem: They feel full quicker and therefore eat less, whatever the portion size.