Smaller plates don't help you eat less when you're hungry


Life, Health

Hunger stimulates stronger analytic processing that is not as easily fooled by the illusion.

Representational Image. (Photo: Pexels)

Washington: Turns out, tricking the brain into eating less by serving food on a smaller plate doesn't necessarily work.

According a new study by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers, when people are food-deprived, they're more likely to identify a portion size accurately, no matter how it is served.

A new study, debunks the popular diet trick based on the Delbouef illusion that predicts people will identify sizes differently when they are placed within a larger or smaller object.

Head of the Laboratory for Visual Perception, Dr. Tzvi Ganel, said, "Plate size doesn't matter as much as we think it does. Even if you're hungry and haven't eaten, or are trying to cut back on portions, a serving looks similar whether it fills a smaller plate or is surrounded by empty space on a larger one."

In the first study to examine the way food deprivation affects perception of food in different contexts, Dr. Ganel and BGU Ph.D. student Noa Zitron-Emanuel found that people who hadn't eaten for at least three hours were more likely to identify the proportions of pizza placed on larger and smaller trays correctly than people who had eaten recently.

This only worked when it applied to food. According to the researchers, hunger stimulates stronger analytic processing that is not as easily fooled by the illusion.

"When people are hungry, especially when dieting, they are less likely to be fooled by the plate size, more likely to realize they are eating less and more prone to overeating later," added Dr. Ganel.

The full findings are present in the journal- Appetite.