Study: Portion size is all in your mind

Jun 21, 2006

U.S. researchers say you can ignore the number of portions listed on nutrition labels -- the scientists say portion size is all in your mind.

Andrew Geier, a doctoral candidate in experimental psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues investigated the psychology of consumption and found people have a strong tendency to eat a single unit of food, regardless of the unit's size or caloric value.

The researchers offered free food in public areas, varying the size of the product unit and the size of the serving utensil. The results, they say, demonstrate an identifiable unit bias, with passersby taking a single spoonful of food without consideration for its size or quantity.

Since the experiment was conducted both within eyesight of others and in a more discreet location, the researchers say bias in favor of consuming a single unit cannot be attributed solely to the avoidance of perceptible gluttony.

They said the concept of unit bias helps explain how environmental differences in portion and package sizes impact overall consumption and might lead to a better understanding of the psychology of obesity.

The study appears in the journal Psychological Science.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: The 'Angelina Effect' was not only immediate, but also long-lasting

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Rio's Olympic golf course in legal bunker

1 hour ago

The return of golf to the Olympics after what will be 112 years by the time Rio hosts South America's first Games in 2016 comes amid accusations environmental laws were got round to build the facility in ...

Alibaba prices IPO at $68 per share

3 hours ago

Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce powerhouse named after a fabled, poor woodsman who discovers a thieves' den full of treasures, is ready to strike it rich on the New York Stock Exchange.

Recommended for you

Cooling of dialysis fluids protects against brain damage

5 hours ago

While dialysis can cause blood pressure changes that damage the brain, cooling dialysis fluids can protect against such effects. The findings come from a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American So ...

User comments : 0