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Surprising Science

Smaller Portions Taste Better and Are More Satisfying

When we have smaller portions, we tend to savor the food more, eating more slowly, making the dish and the experience just as satisfying.

A smaller serving doesn’t have to mean less satisfying. In fact, BPS reports that a recent study has found that when we have smaller portions, we tend to savor the food more, eating more slowly.

Psychologists Charles Areni and Iain Black headed up the study, where they tested how we eat more mindfully under different conditions.

In one experiment, they recruited a group of undergraduate students under the guise they were participating in a chocolate-tasting contest. Half of the participants were shown a tray of six chocolates, creating an expectation that they were going to try all of them. However, expectations were not met when the researchers snatched the tray away after the participants had only consumed two of the selections available.

The other half of the participants were told that of the six pieces available, they were only allowed to try two. Researchers observed that these students ate more slowly, savoring every bite. What’s more, the students had more to say about the texture and flavors they experienced after eating the chocolates.

In another similar experiment, the researchers set up a camera to count the number of chews between the participants. However, in this study, there was an added condition, where some students were only shown two chocolates instead of six. They found that the students who knew they were only going to be tasting two chocolates took 11.5 more bites, on average, compared to the students who thought they would be eating six.

The researchers report:

“Consumers compensate for small portions by attending more to the sensory properties of the food, altering their eating behavior, and slowing their rate of eating, which has the effect of increasing satiation, hence lessening their desire for more afterwards.”

It’s all about the battle to eat until we’re full, as opposed to eating until we’re satisfied. The former being one of the causes of our obesity epidemic. Another big issue that causes us to overeat is sugar. Recent research has found that over-consumption of the ingredient can damage the brain, hurting the connection to your gut that tells you when you should stop eating.

Read more at BPS.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock


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