How Visual Cues Affect the Amount of Food We Consume.

Sifu Renka/Creative Commons license

A study completed at Cornell University examined whether visual cues (as they relate to portion size) could influence the amount of food participants ate, without altering estimated food intake or satiation.

The study involved 54 participants between the ages of 18-46 with varying BMIs. The participants were divided into two groups; one group was given a bowl of soup in a normal bowl, the other group was given a bowl of soup in a self-refilling bowl. The self-refilling bowls were hooked up to a hose from underneath the table; the bowl would slowly refill as the participant ate.

Participants eating from the self-refilling bowl consumed 73% more soup than those participants eating from the normal bowl. Those that ate from the self-refilling bowl did not believe that they ate more soup than those eating from the normal bowls; they didn’t even perceive their appetite to be more satisfied!

The study findings suggest that people typically use their eyes to count calories, not their stomachs. The study also shows the importance of being mindful and the importance of having accurate visual cues to prevent overeating.

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Source: Bottomless bowls: why visual cues of portion size may influence intake.


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