There are lots of factors that affect how much people eat. We all know that hunger, boredom and habit all play a part. And now, researchers have found that the size of your table might be influencing how much you eat too.
During the study, scientists sliced pizzas into different sized slices and distributed them between small tables (the size of a pizza) and large tables (much bigger than a pizza). The researchers then invited 219 university students into the room and told them to eat as much pizza as they liked.
When they analysed the results, the researchers found that people who were at the large tables ate less than the people at the small tables. The reason? They believe that the size of the table altered the way the students saw the pizza.
In other words, the people at the small tables thought that the regular sized slices of pizza were smaller, so ate twice as much. And the people at the large tables were distracted by the size of the tables and thought that the small slices of pizza were regular sized and therefore ate less overall.
Lead researcher Brennan Davis noted that if you want to eat less food it’s a good idea to serve it in smaller portions on large tables.
Nutritionist Tracie Conner says that she’s not surprised by the findings of the study. “ It's been known for a while that there's benefit to serving main meals on entree sized plates, that aims to limit overeating.
“If a larger table carrying smaller servings of food is perceived to be a satisfactory amount to eat, then there's a good chance it will limit the food intake too,” she explains.
However, Conner also notes that when it comes to overeating, the most important factor is will power.