Using a Big Fork May Help People Lose Weight

Stacey Doyle's picture

A recent experiment performed by researchers at the University of Utah revealed people who used larger forks ate less than those using smaller forks.

For years, consumers recognized the weight loss suggestion to use a smaller plate to feel satisfied eating a lesser portion. Now it seems the opposite works when it comes to using a fork. According to a recent experiment conducted by business school researchers at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, diners who used a big fork ate less. The study was recently published in the Journal of Consumer Research.

reports the study authors had help from an Italian restaurant for two days, serving two lunches and two dinners. Researchers randomly selected tables to get bigger forks that were 20 percent larger than usual or littler forks that were 20 percent smaller. Food was weighed before and after serving to figure out how much was consumed. The diners using larger forks left more food on their plates at the end of the meal. Consumers using smaller forks ate more because they did not see as much progress being made on their meal.

The concept of portion size was also explored during the experiment. Diners who received small forks and large portions ate more than either of those factors on their own. When food portions are large, consumers feel compelled to eat more to make a dent in the meal.

According to the Daily Mail, study co-author Arul Mishra stated, “The fork size provided diners with a means to observe their goal progress. The physiological feedback of feeling full or the satiation signal comes with a time lag. In its absence diners focus on the visual cue of whether they are making any dent on the food on their plate to assess goal progress.”

Another well-known weight loss tip for decades is to chew food well so the body feels full without eating too much. This popular weight loss suggestion was also addressed at the conclusion of the study.

The study concluded, “Grandma’s advice tells us to chew well so that our body has enough time to let us know that we are full. But given people’s busy lives, if we are not chewing longer, then using a larger fork may actually be more helpful in controlling over-consumption.”

In the face of time constraints and large portions, dieters may find using a big fork works to reduce calorie intake because because it makes them feel they consumed enough.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

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