New research, published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, has found that the size of the table a person eats at can significantly affect perception of how much food is present on the table, and ultimately, how much they eat.
While we may have already been told that eating from a smaller plate can influence the perception of quantity of food, and therefore influence how much food we actually eat, researchers have now found that the size of the table you eat at can have much of the same effect.
Researchers assessed this by placing varying amounts of food on either small or large tables. The researchers used pizza, which was either cut into eighths or sixteenths. They then placed the pizzas either on tables that were just a little larger than the entire pizza, or on tables that were much bigger than the pizzas. Participants were then asked to choose a table and eat as much as they desired.
The study revealed that when the pizza was cut into smaller pieces and set on larger tables, the participants tended to consume less calories overall. Given the results of the study, the researchers recommend that in order to eat less, to place smaller portions of food on larger sized tables.
Cornell University Food & Brand Lab Press Release: http://foodpsychology.cornell.edu/JACR/Size_matters
Davis, Brennan, Collin R. Payne and My Bui (2016). Making Small Food Units Seem “Regular:” How Larger Table Size Reduces Calories to be Consumed. The Journal of the Association for Consumer Research
Written by Deborah Tallarigo, PhD