Food serving size Does matter

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 16th September 2015

PlatesA new study has found the best evidence to date proving that people eat and drink more when large tableware is used.


The research from the UK’s University of Cambridge found that if large portions were removed energy consumption could lower by 16 per cent in UK adults or by 279 kcals per day.


Findings were even more significant for the US with researchers saying adult calorie consumption could reduce by 29 per cent if large servings were off the menu. This equals a reduction of 527 kcals every day.


Researchers at the Behaviour and Health Research Unit looked at the results from 61 studies which totaled data from 6, 711 participants.


Dr Gareth Hollands from the Behaviour and Health Research Unit, who co-led the review said the work shed light helped solidify assumptions. 


“It may seem obvious that the larger the portion size, the more people eat, but until this systematic review the evidence for this effect has been fragmented, so the overall picture has, until now, been unclear,” said Hollands.


“There has also been a tendency to portray personal characteristics like being overweight or a lack of self-control as the main reason people overeat.”


“In fact, the situation is far more complex. Our findings highlight the important role of environmental influences on food consumption. Helping people to avoid ‘overserving’ themselves or others with larger portions of food or drink by reducing their size, availability and appeal in shops, restaurants and in the home, is likely to be a good way of helping lots of people to reduce their risk of overeating,” Hollands said. 


The researchers did however say that large reductions are likely to be needed to achieve the changes in food consumption suggested by their results and the review’s media release stated, 

“Also, the review does not establish conclusively whether reducing portions at the smaller end of the size range can be as effective in reducing food consumption as reductions at the larger end of the range. Critically, there is also a current lack of evidence to establish whether meaningful short-term changes in the quantities of food people consume are likely to translate into sustained or meaningful reductions in consumption over the longer-term.” 


The results are published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.