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30 January 2013

Small snacking is smart snacking

Researchers designed a study to determine if people who were given smaller portions of snack foods would feel hungrier or satisfied fifteen minutes after eating.

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How much chocolate would you need to eat to be satisfied? Less than half as much as you think, according to this recently published Cornell University snacking study. Using chocolate chips, apple pie, and potato chips, researchers Ellen van Kleef, Mitsuru Shimizu, and Brian Wansink designed a study to determine if people who were given smaller portions of snack foods would feel hungrier or satisfied fifteen minutes after eating.

Smart snacking?

Two groups with different portion sizes were tested. The larger portion size group was given 100g of chocolate, 200g of apple pie, and 80g of potato chips, all slightly larger than the recommended portion sizes. This equaled 5754 kilojoules in snack foods. The other group was given 10g, 40g, and 10g of these same foods respectively, for a total of 819 kilojoules.

The two groups were given as much time to eat as needed, and were asked to fill out surveys to rate the liking, familiarity, and boredom with the food. They were also asked to rate their hunger and craving before the food was presented and fifteen minutes after the taste tests ended.

Choose snacks in smaller portions

The results remarkably showed that smaller portion sizes are capable of providing similar feelings of satisfaction as larger ones. Those given larger portions consumed 77% more food, amounting to 432 kilojoules more, but they did not feel any appetite enhancing or stronger feelings of satiety than the group with the smaller portions.

Overall these findings reflect the importance of portion size. While larger portions result in increased food intake, smaller portions may make you feel equally satisfied. The smaller portions can lead to a decline in hunger and desire that would help people limit their food intake. So, next time you are craving a snack food, remember that you can feel similarly satisfied with one handful as you would with two!

(EurekAlert, January 2013)

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