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Don't Count On Your Plate To Help You Lose Weight

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Having a large or small plate of food won't make a difference when it comes to losing weight, a ground breaking study asserts. According to a pilot study recently published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, plate size has no effect on weight loss.

Professor Meena Shah of the Department of Kinesiology at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, designed a pilot study which investigated whether plate size effected meal intake (and thus useful for controlling energy intake). It is often recommended that plate size could help control weight gain but Shah noted the lack of scientific evidence to support such a recommendation. To find the answer they selected ten normal weight and ten overweight or obese women who were attending a metabolic lab on two separate days for lunch.

Shah and her team tested the recommendation on the twenty female volunteers, randomly assigning them to two days of lunches using either a small (21.6 cm) or large (27.4 cm) plate. The women were instructed to eat alone at separate tables and helped themselves to a meal of spaghetti mixed with tomato sauce which was transferred from individual serving bowls to their assigned plates. Each volunteer ate until satiety.

When the women returned the second day, they used the opposite plate size from the one used the previous day.

The results of the experiment were quite surprising. Throughout the experiment, the amount of food that each woman had eaten and the energy consumed from each meal was calculated and analyzed to compare energy intake.

Contrary to what would have been expected, Shah's team found no evidence that plate size affected energy intake. They compared the energy intake of both groups of volunteers and found no significant differences in the meal energy intake for either group. The differences in plate size didn't change the way the women felt about the food they were eating i.e. hunger, desire for more, feeling of fullness, etc. Plate size had no effect whatsoever on any of these things.

Based on the observed results, Shah and her team concluded: "Plate size did not affect energy intake from a single meal in either the normal weight or overweight/obese subjects."


Basically this experiment is showing that plate size in and of itself simply doesn't matter.


But if plate size doesn't have any affect on how much we eat then how do we explain dietary weight loss? The power of the mind would be the logical explanation.

The women in Shah's experiment were given the same amount of food, it was freely within their power to decide how much they wanted to eat. All things being equal, if food is available, we'll eat as much or as little of it as we can. If we want to cut back, we'll cut back; conversly, if we want to eat until we're sick to our stomach, we'll do that, too. 

This experiment speaks of personal choice and self - restraint which definitely gives us food for thought.


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Article Source 

Shah, M., Schroeder, R., Winn, W., & Adams-Huet, B. (2011). A pilot study to investigate the effect of plate size on meal energy intake in normal weight and overweight/obese women Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 24 (6), 612-615 DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-277X.2011.01210.x


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