The Size Of Each Piece of Food You Eat May Impact How Much You Eat Of It

One of my favorite researchers is Dr. Barbara Rolls (I always find it ironic that she has a food name!). She has given us many amazing studies on how we eat and the many tricky factors that challenge our appetite (volume, liquids, fibers, fruit, bowl size).

I thought about Dr. Rolls and one of her recent studies this week as I was strolling down the cereal aisle at the grocery store deciding what to buy. I love to sprinkle whole grain cereal on top of yogurt for some crunch.

Dr. Roll’s and colleagues *recent study on breakfast cereal looked at the size of the flakes. It seems like a little thing. But, actually her findings were quite interesting and revealing. In this study, 41 adults ate cereal for breakfast for 4 weeks. The cereal was either a standard wheat flakes or the same cereal crushed to a reduce volume of 80%, 60%, 40% of the normal size.

As cereal flake size was reduced, participants decreased the volume of cereal they poured from an average of 1.9 cups to 1.1 cups. Despite this reduction in volume selected, they consumed 34% more calories when you considered the milk they poured and that the smaller flakes were actually more calorie dense (more per square inch than big flakes).

The subjects estimated that they had taken a similar amount of calories in all versions. What does this mean? The size of each piece of food you eat may actually impact how much you eat of it more than you realize.

Think about this the next time you are pouring your morning bowl or are eating foods that come in different sizes (mini bite sized crackers versus regular sized for example).

Remember to Eat, Drink & Be Mindful!

To get more motivated to eat mindfully, check out my free download, 20 Top Motivational Quotes To Remind You To Believe In Yourself. Click here for more information.

*Variations in Cereal Volume Affect the Amount Selected and Eaten for Breakfast

Barbara J. Rolls, PhD,
Jennifer S. Meengs, MS, RDN,
Liane S. Roe, MPH, RDN,
doi:10.1016/j.jand.2014.01.014

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