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January 31, 2013
ITHACA, N.Y.While larger portions result in increased food intake, smaller portions may make a person feel equally satisfied, which can lead to a decline in hunger and desire to limit food intake, according to a new study published in the journal Food Quality and Preference.
Americans love to snack, as evidenced by a recent NPD Group report that found snacks now account for 1 in 5 eating occasions in the United States, while main meals tend to consist of fewer items. So how much chocolate would a person need to eat to feel satisfied? Researchers at Cornell University say less than half as much as you think.
The researchers conducted a study to determine if people who were given smaller portions of snack foods would feel hungrier or satisfied 15 minutes after eating. Two groups with different portion sizes were tested. The larger portion size group was given 100g of chocolate, 200g of apple pie and 80g of potato chips, all slightly larger than the recommended portion sizes. This equaled 1,370 calories in snack foods. The other group was given 10g, 40g and 10g of the same foods respectively, for a total of 195 calories. The two groups were given as much time to eat as needed and asked to fill out surveys to rate the liking, familiarity and boredom with the food. They also were asked to rate their hunger and craving before the food was presented and 15 minutes after the taste tests ended.
Results showed that smaller portion sizes are capable of providing similar feelings of satisfaction as larger ones. Those given larger portions consumed 77% more food, amounting to 103 calories more, but did not feel any appetite enhancing or stronger feelings of satiety than the group with the smaller portions.
The researchers said the findings reflect the importance of portion size. While larger portions result in increased food intake, smaller portions may make you feel equally satisfied. The smaller portions can lead to a decline in hunger and desire that would help people limit their food intake.
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