If you’re giving in to cravings for chocolate or other snacks, think smaller, take a bite and wait. A new Cornell study finds that eating smaller portions of commonly craved foods will satisfy a person just as well as a larger portion of the same food would.
“This research supports the notion that eating for pleasure — hedonic hunger — is driven more by the availability of foods instead of the food already eaten,” said Brian Wansink…a co-author of the study, “Just a bite: Considerably smaller snack portions satisfy delayed hunger and craving…”
The study found that portion size has a direct impact on calorie intake — and portion size did not have a direct impact on the level of satisfaction in the person eating the snack. The researchers came to these conclusions after giving one group of 104 adults regular-size portions of the same snack — either chocolate, apple pie or potato chips — and offering another group just a couple of small bites of the same snacks.
Those who ate large portions consumed 77 percent more calories than those who ate a few bites. Although they ate substantially more calories, their hunger decreased the same amount as those eating small portions. For both groups, cravings significantly decreased 15 minutes after eating, and they were equally satisfied.
“So, how much chocolate would you need to eat to be satisfied? Less than half as much as you think,” Wansink said. “If you want to control your weight, here’s the secret: Take a bite and wait. After 15 minutes all you’ll remember — in your head and in your stomach — is that you had a tasty snack.”
Every year I continue a never-ending battle with portion control. Happily, I mostly seem to be winning. At least my weight has declined each of the past 8 years.
My evening chocolate snack is only 47 grams – with damned little sugar. But, other impulsive snacks can be larger – and higher in calories. I’ll start experimenting with this. The whole day.