Research from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab has found that weight loss is easily done with the use of smaller plates. Over the years there have been over 50 studies which study the effects of smaller plates and weight loss and yet there seems to be little consensus if they are an effective means for weight loss or not. In some studies they believe that smaller plates help reduce food consumption and in others this doesn’t seem to be the case. In the latest findings – published in Journal of the Association for Consumer Research –all previous studies on the topic were examined and it was uncovered that the use of smaller plates does really assist in weight loss.
The researchers looked at 56 prior studies on smaller plates and food consumption. The studies examined if smaller plates aid in food consumption in various situations: food type (snack foods, popcorn, ice-cream, breakfast cereal, rice, vegetables, fruit, etc.), plate-type (bowls vs. plates, serving platter vs plate from which the food is consumed), portion-size (fixed amount of food served, amount varied in line with the plate-size, or self-served portions), setting (consumers invited to a food laboratory vs unaware consumers in natural settings such as a buffet).
All the studies combined revealed that halving plate size led to a 30 percent reduction in food consumption on average. Reducing plate diameter 30 percent halves the area of the plate thus leading to a 30 percent reduction on food consumption.
Two factors were identified which support the use of smaller plates in reducing food consumption. First, small plates work best when diners are serving themselves and second, small plates work best when diners are unaware that their consumption of food is being monitored. If people know they are being watched then size of plate does not have any effect on food consumption.
Joint-author Natalina Zlatevska concluded, “Just changing to smaller plates at home can help reduce how much you serve yourself and how much you eat.”