"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

To eat less while snacking, select the most effective size

April 16, 2024 – Almost everyone who's watching their calorie intake knows to skip the family-sized snack bags because experts have long warned us that we're probably bingeing more than we had planned.

Now recent research suggests that the… Size of the snack can be essential. Conclusion: To eat less, select the smallest snacks.

In the Study, Seventy-five adults got 2.5 servings of pretzels in three sizes over three visits and were told to eat as much as they wanted. They ate the smaller pretzels more slowly, took smaller bites, and ate less overall than with the medium and huge pretzels.

There was an unexpected twist (and it wasn't due to the pretzel), said John E. Hayes, PhD, MS, professor of food science at Penn State University in University Park, Pa. While people ate less and more slowly with small pretzels, they'd the very best sodium intake at that size.

“The surface area is larger, and when the salt is sprinkled on the outside, the sodium content per serving is higher,” said Hayes, co-author of the study.

The study results suggest that it's idea to decide on the dimensions of your snack based in your goals, in response to the study's lead writer, Madeline Harper, a doctoral student in food science at Penn State University.

“We therefore suggest that if you are trying to watch your calorie intake or reduce the amount you eat in a snack, perhaps a smaller pretzel will better suit your needs due to the inherent size.” The amount of Pretzel affects your eating speed,” she said. However, for those who're concerned about limiting sodium (perhaps on account of hypertension), the larger pretzel could also be higher since it means you're consuming less sodium, she noted.

Special features of the study

During study sessions, researchers videotaped participants, noting what number of minutes everyone spent snacking, what number of bites they ate, and the way much weight and calories they consumed. Participants within the study ate 31% more large pretzels than small ones and 22% more large pretzels than medium-sized pretzels. They ate fastest and took the most important bites after they ate the big pretzels.

Small pretzels weighed 0.017 ounces each, medium 0.05 ounces, and huge 0.35 ounces.

The researchers said the dimensions of the pretzels alone had no effect on how much an individual ate, which suggests eating behavior Caused by The different pretzel sizes determined how much they ate. In short, the larger the pretzel, the faster they ate, the larger the bites were, and the more they ate.

Hayes said his team hypothesized that eating speed would predict food intake because faster eating speeds and bigger bite sizes have previously been linked to it eat more. Before the study, he wondered whether those that ate the small pretzels would grab a handful. But that didn't occur – they picked them up one after the other. “And we didn’t tell them how to eat,” he said.

A practical insight, says Hayes, is that research shows that the speed at which individuals eat will be controlled, “and if we can slow people down, we can use that to help people eat less.” .” Just a few years ago, he said, British researchers investigated Food prices in healthy and chubby children and concludes that eating speed is a heritable trait that is probably going passed on from parents to children.

Expert perspective

The results of this study are consistent with other research, said Evan Reister, PhD, professor of health studies at American University, who present in his study Recent study that folks given large snack packs eat about 12% greater than those given smaller snack packs.

Smaller snack sizes could cause people to eat less for several reasons, he said.

“People often assume that a snack, no matter how large, can be consumed in one sitting. When presented as a single entity [package]”It's easy for people to think it should be consumed in a single serving.” (Reister noted exceptions and said he doesn't expect anyone to eat a 5-pound candy bar in one sitting.)

But if someone eats a “fun-sized” candy bar, for example, “there is a period of time after the end where they can stop and think about whether they want to eat another one.” On the other hand, if someone eats a “part-sized” candy bar, there is no break time. This often leads to eating more than you might want to.”