It Seems Size Really Does Matter

by Together Counts Partner | October 8, 2013 at 3:10 pm | comments

Over the past 50 years the average dinner plate has increased from 9 inches in diameter to between 11 and 12 inches. A two to three inch increase may not seem like a big deal until you understand that increasing the plate size ever so slightly allows for an extra 50% surface area to fill when you’re dishing up dinner. It isn’t surprising that our waistbands are expanding right along with the size of our plates. Moderation is a key component of energy balance, and the key to the Together CountsTMprogram.

Portion distortion is just one of the many factors that may be responsible for the growing obesity epidemic across the globe.  With the increase in portion sizes from restaurants, fast food eateries and even to the portions we serve at home, we are losing track of what recommended portions actually look like.

It’s so easy to fill up our plate and not give too much thought as to the amount of food we planned to consume. If you are like me, I am an honorary member of the Clean Plate Club. In other words I find great comfort in cleaning my plate with every meal. This is a habit I have been trying to break for some time now.

Plate size is not the only concern. According to a study published last summer in the Journal of Consumer Research, fork size may also play a role in the amount of food we consume. The study showed that patrons at an Italian restaurant who were given a larger fork versus an “unusually small fork” ate less food than those given the smaller fork.

The theory according to the authors of the study is “the small fork gives a feeling that they are not making much progress in satiating their hunger, which results in more consumption compared to when they have a large fork.”

When I came across this study I was quite intrigued with the results as I frequently eat from a smaller fork at home. I never associated the size of my fork to the amount of food I was eating. For me, because I pre-measure all of my food before putting it on my plate I never even gave much thought that the size of my fork could impact the amount of food I consume at each meal.

So the next time you visit your local restaurant you may want to ask for the biggest fork they have. And if you are at home, step down to using a smaller plate.  While these are just two small changes, if they make us more aware of our portion size than I see no harm in giving them a try.

What do you think about this study? Were you aware that fork size has an association to how much food one may consume during a meal?

This post was originally published on SPARKPEOPLE. Nancy Howard has a degree in nursing. Her mission is to help others learn the process of living a healthy lifestyle and to let them know it is never too late to start. She wants to inspire the world and let everyone know you don’t have to be an Olympian to run.

For more tips for avoiding portion distortion, check out the following resources from Together Counts: