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Eating habits

Study Shows Students choosing 'Snack Size' Portions Eat More

Friday, November 28, 2008 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: eating habits, health news, Natural News


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(NaturalNews) People who select smaller, "snack-size" packages of foods like cookies or chips actually end up eating more than people who select larger packages, according to a study conducted by researchers from Tilburg University in the Netherlands and published in the Journal of Consumer Research.

"You are just more conscious of what you are eating if you have a proper-sized snack," psychologist Nadine Field said. "Having a smaller size is a comforting delusion, really. Most of us have done this at one time or another."

Researchers recruited student volunteers and primed half of them to think about their weight, by weighing them in front of a mirror and then asking them questions about weight issues. These participants were told that the weighing and questions were part of a different study.

All volunteers were then told to watch television and rate the advertisements that they saw. In front of them was either a 200 gram (7 ounce) bag of chips, or nine 45 gram (1.6 ounce) bags.

Among the students who had not been primed to think about weight, 50 percent of those who were offered a large bag chose to open it, while 75 percent of those who were offered the small bags chose to open at least one. The students ate roughly the same amount, regardless of which bag they had opened.

Among those who had been primed, only 25 percent chose to open large bag, while 59 percent chose to open the small bags. Those who opened the small bags, however, ate twice as much as those who had opened the large.

Lead researcher Rik Pieters speculated that people who open "snack-size" packages may expand less energy on self-control, because they believe that the portion size is already pre-determined. The same effect may occur among people who eat foods that are presented as "low-fat" or "natural," the researchers suggested.

Sources for this story include: news.bbc.co.uk; www.telegraph.co.uk.

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