Serve smaller plates and turn the TV off during meal times: simple changes to the way we consume food can have a positive effect on how much we eat, say Prof Charles Spence and chef Jozef Youssef.
The following should not be considered as dietary tips – more a list of reflections on how you can reduce calorie intake and potentially eat healthier based on current and ongoing research in the emerging scientific field of “gastrophysics” – a combination of gastronomy and psychophysics.
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Using smaller crockery tends to trick our brains into believing we are eating more, a psychological phenomenon that can best be illustrated by taking a look at the Delboeuf optical illusion.
If you put two identical portions of food on a big plate and a small plate, the portion on the bigger plate will look smaller, and vice versa: our brains can’t help but be fooled by this effect, even when we know they are the same.
We consume as much as 30% more when we’re engaged in other activities, such as watching television.
Many people don’t even use their dining space at home, preferring to eat in front of the TV or looking at phones. Messaging and checking social media are ways to ensure you’re not focused on the food you are eating; which results in a reduced sense of satiety and overeating.
It’s interesting to note that we consume fewer calories when eating apples than we do with apple puree, and fewer calories with apple puree than apple juice because we get more sensation information from the puree than the juice, more still from the actual apple. In other words, our brains use the amount of sensation we receive from texture as one of the cues to tell us when to stop eating.
- How to trick your brain into healthy eating | July 2016
- Mechanisms of the portion size effect. What is known and where do we go from here? | November 2014
- Top 10 Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Weight | December 2016
- 10 Mind Tricks to Fool Yourself Into Eating Less | December 2014
Eat Good, Feel Good!
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