How much do we need to eat to feel satisifed? Has it to do with the quanitity of the food we eat or with the satisfaction we experience in the mind? Ellen van Kleef from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, and Brian Wansink and Mitsuru Shimizu from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY conducted a study to examine this. They tried to examine if people who were given smaller portions of snack foods would feel hungrier or satisfied fifteen minutes after eating.
A group of people was given large portion sizes e.g. 100g of chocolate, 200g of apple pie, and 80g of potato chips; all sizes a little bigger than the recommended portion sizes. The total calories this group consumed in these portion sizes was 1370 . The second group was given smaller porions sizes e.g. 10g, 40g, and 10g of these same foods respectively. The total calories for this group was 195. Both the groups were asked to eat at leisure with time restrictions. The groups then filled out surveys to rate the liking, familiarity, and boredom with the food. They rated their hunger and craving before the food was presented and fifteen minutes after the taste tests ended.
Surprisingly, satisfaction scores from smaller portion sizes were quite same as eating the larger ones. Those given larger portions consumed 77% more food, amounting to 103 calories more, but they did not feel any appetite enhancing or stronger feelings of satiety than the group with the smaller portions. The result points to the importance of portion size. Larger portions increased the amount of food we eat, where as even if we eat smaller portions, we may feel equally satisfied. The smaller portions can be an effective way limit food intake because they strike at the very root —our hunger desire and since that desire is satisfied we eat lesser on our own account.. So, next time you are craving a snack food, remember that you can feel similarly satisfied with one handful as you would with two!