-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
FRIDAY, July 15 (HealthDay News) -- One way to avoid overeating
at your favorite restaurant may be to order bigger cutlery, a new
When eating out, people who used a large fork for bigger bites
ate less than those who used a smaller utensil, according to
findings released online in advance of publication in an upcoming
print edition of the
Journal of Consumer Research.
In conducting the field study in an Italian restaurant, Arul
Mishra, Himanshu Mishra and Tamara M. Masters, all of the
University of Utah in Salt Lake City, provided two sizes of forks
to modify customers' bite sizes. The researchers found that diners
who used large forks ate less than those who were given small
The reason for the discrepancy, the study authors suggested, is
that people who eat out have a well-defined goal of satisfying
their hunger. This makes them more willing to invest energy and
resources to meet that goal, such as making menu selections, eating
and paying the check.
"The fork size provided the diners with a means to observe their goal progress," the investigators explained in a journal news release. "The physiological feedback of feeling full, or the satiation signal, comes with a time lag. In its absence, diners focus on the visual cue of whether they are making any dent on the food on their plate to assess goal progress."
The research team put their conclusion to the test by varying
the portions of food. They found that when served larger portions,
diners with small forks ate significantly more than those with
larger forks. In contrast, when customers were served smaller
portions, the size of their fork did not affect the amount of food
The study authors pointed out that their findings apply to
restaurant customers only -- not people eating at home who may not
have the same goals of satiating their hunger as restaurant
To avoid overeating, the researchers suggested that people learn
to better recognize and understand their hunger cues and how much
food they should eat.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides
more information on
portion size pitfalls.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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