Our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. And visual perception plays a big fat role in eating—often without our realizing it. So says Brian Wansink, a professor of consumer behavior and nutritional science at Cornell. His research has shown that people eat more when their food is served on larger dishes. Because lots of folks use an empty plate—rather than a full stomach—as a cue to put down their fork. Wansink reviewed his findings last week at the American Psychological Association meeting in Washington.
In one experiment, he had unsuspecting subjects eat soup from bowls that continually refilled from the bottom. And volunteers who unknowingly ate from these bowls consumed on average 73 percent more soup than those who had had a finite supply. But both groups thought they had eaten about the same amount.
Wansink’s advice is to use such propensities in our favor. Just serving meals on smaller plates can trick us into cutting calories. Because it's way easier to stop after finishing a half-sized bowl of ice cream than it is to eat only half of a full-sized bowl.
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]