Health professionals often recommend smaller plates to people looking to eat less. While a lot of research has shown visual cues to be a major aspect of satiety, a recent study published in the recent issues of Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics suggested that eating off of a smaller plate may not necessarily lead people to eat less.
10 overweight or obese women and 10 women with a normal BMI were randomly assigned to have lunch using either a small (8.5-inch) or large (10.8-inch) plate and to serve themselves, eating until they were satisfied. This was done on two different days, using a different sized plate each time. Results showed no difference in energy intake due to plate size, weight status or plate size by weight status. Subjects ate the same amount regardless.
According to senior researcher Meena Shah, a professor of kinesiology at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, the overweight and obese women “reported lower levels of hunger and prospective consumptions before the meals and felt less full after the meals compared to normal weight subjects despite no difference in energy consumption between two groups. This suggests that overweight/obese individuals may have a lower ability to sense hunger and fullness than normal weight adults.”
However, it’s worth noting that this was a very small study, and the subjects were told to eat until satisfied. Had they been given a one-plate rule or at least not known which size plate they were using, it might have shown more directly whether the , uh, size mattered.
Sorry, I just giggled a little.
What do you think—does plate size matter?