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Big Forks, Little Waistlines

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I recently moved into a new house and had the joy of decorating the place from scratch. From couches to bed linens, mirrors to silverware, I’ve been quite the busy girl filling my new home with all the essentials and the luxuries no home should go without.

But had I previously read a study conducted by researchers from the Journal of Consumer Research, in all my newly acquired goods, I may have made at least one slightly larger purchase.

According to a study titled “The Influence of Bite Size on Quantity of Food Consumed: A Field Study,” researchers found that people consumed less food at mealtime when they eat with a larger fork.

For the study, researchers assigned diners to either a “large fork” or a “small fork” -- both 20 percent larger or smaller than a standard fork -- over the course of two lunches and two dinners at an Italian restaurant.

“The researchers weighed the plates before they went out to diners and when they came back. After controlling for factors such as lunch versus dinner, whether alcohol was consumed, and initial plate weight, people with small forks left less on their plates (4.4 ounces) than people with big forks (7.9 ounces),” according to an article published on The Wall Street Journal website.

Overall, researchers found that diners who used large forks ate less than those who were given smaller forks, even when other variables were accounted for.

“The reason for the discrepancy, the study authors suggested, is that people who eat out have a well-defined goal of satisfying their hunger. This makes them more willing to invest energy and resources to meet that goal, such as making menu selections, eating and paying the check,” according to an article on USA Today.

"The fork size provided the diners with a means to observe their goal progress," the investigators explained in a journal news release. "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."

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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