Do We Really Eat With Our Eyes?
Looks like our nutrition expert, Bob Wright, really knows what he’s talking about when it comes to portion control. In so many words, Bob has always preached that our eyes are hungrier than our mouths. Ask any chef and they will agree… we eat with our eyes and then our mouths. So when it comes to weight loss and weight management, one of the keys to success and cutting back on portions.
In a recent study, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University found that we tend to eat less when tricking our eyes by portioning out food. They came to this conclusion by giving students one of two types of Lays’ potato chips. One group was simply given a regular can of Lays’, while the other was given a stack of chips with red, edible potato chip dividers inserted every 5-14 chips.
It’s easy to guess what the first group did. Not realizing how many chips they were actually eating, this group (without the red chip dividers) ate far more chips than the group with the dividers suggesting they had reached the serving size. In fact, the group with the red chip dividers reduced their potato chip consumption by 50%! Who knew a single red chip could do all that.
I think the lesson here is that we do in fact eat with our eyes. If a full plate is placed before us, chances are we’re going to eat everything on the plate and not stop at the suggested serving size—especially, if you grew up as a ‘clean plate’ kid being rewarded for eating everything on your plate.
Over and over again, people are amazed when they arrive to Hilton Head Health and are surprisingly full on our 1200 calorie diet. Why is that? Because when we serve meals we usually start off with a salad and/or soup, we bulk up everything with lots of vegetables, and we avoid using huge plates. At home, there’s the temptation to load up oversized plates, not to mention the leftovers just begging to be eaten. Trick your eyes into thinking your eating more than you are by joining the Small Plate Movement. Hop down from a 12 inch plate to a set of 8-10 inch plates. A two inch difference in plate diameter or will result in 22% less calories at each meal. To put this in perspective – if the average dinner is 800 calories, a smaller plate would lead to a weight loss of around 18 lbs per year for the average sized adult. Read this post for more information on the Small Plate Movement.
The next time you’re itching for something salty try this: separate your servings of popcorn or chips as soon as you purchase them and you’ll know exactly how much you’re eating at a time. This simple act can put you one step closer to success!