It is often believed that one eats less if they use a smaller plate. However, a new study has revealed that this trick might just not work for everyone, particularly teenage girls. The study found that smaller plates may not encourage overweight teenage girls to reduce portion sizes because they may be less attentive to visual cues.
Professor Lance Bauer from the University of Connecticut said, "It has been assumed that overweight or obese consumers are more likely to underestimate the size of a food serving and accordingly overeat, particularly when the food is presented on a large dinner plate or in a large container. For this reason and others, it is frequently recommended that these consumers use smaller plates to defeat the illusion."
The study comprised of 162 girls aged 14 to 18, and when Bauer and colleagues tested these teenage girls' attentiveness and quizzed them about their perception of a constant portion size relative to varying plate sizes, they found a surprising result.
Bauer said, "The study found that, on average, overweight or obese adolescent girls were less attentive than normal weight girls to visual cues of different types. This finding suggests that changing the size of their dinnerware may be less effective than we thought. It also suggests that presenting them with detailed charts summarizing diet rules or calorie counts might also be less effective than we would like."