(AFP) WASHINGTON — Researchers have found a new way to control the amount we eat: use a bigger fork.
While numerous studies have focused on portion sizes and their influence on how much we eat, researchers Arul and Himanshu Mishra and Tamara Masters looked at how bite sizes affect quantities ingested.
To do this, they conducted field research in a popular Italian restaurant in the southwestern United States.
Two sets of forks were used to tinker with bite size: a larger fork that held 20 percent more food than the fork usually used in the restaurant, and a smaller fork that held 20 percent less than the usual utensil.
Over two lunches and two dinners in the restaurant, tables were either “large fork” or “small fork” tables.
Servers, including one of the study‘s authors, took customers’ orders, and weighed the full plate of food that they had ordered before serving it to them.
A small sticky note was attached to the underside of each plate, noting the weight and other information -- just in case the fork and plate were separated when the table was cleared.
At the end of the meal, the plate was brought back to the kitchen and weighed again, and the researchers found that diners who used the bigger fork ate less of their food than those who used the smaller one.
But the big fork, less eaten theory only worked in a restaurant setting. A study conducted in the lab, which also used Italian food, found that people who used big forks actually consumed more.
The researchers, whose findings were published in the Journal of Consumer Research, concluded that there are different motivations when we eat in a restaurant or a lab.
Diners went to the restaurant with a “well-defined goal of satiating their hunger, and, because of this well-defined goal, they are willing to invest effort and resources to satiate their hunger.”
In the lab, participants were told they were taking part in a study and did not have that same motivation.
The restaurant diners felt that the small fork gave them “a feeling that they are not making much progress” towards their goal, and this resulted in them eating more of the food on their plate than the large-fork group, the researchers reasoned.
“Grandma‘s advice tells us to consume small bites, but remember, she also tells us to chew well so that our body has enough time to let us know that we are full,” the researchers conclude.
“Given people’s busy lives and the growing trend of eating in restaurants, if we are not chewing longer, then consuming from a larger fork may actually be more helpful in controlling overconsumption,” they write.
'포크' 다이어트 열풍, 왜?
큰 포크를 쓸수록 식사량이 줄어들어 살을 빼는데 도움이 된다는 연구 결과가 미국 시카고 대학이 발간하는 ‘소비자 연구 저널 (Journal of Consumer Research)에 기재 되었다.
미국 유타 대학교 연구진은 유명 이탈리아 레스토랑에서 포크의 크기가 식사량에 어떠한 영향을 미치는지 조사했다.
일반 포크 보다 20% 정도 크기가 큰 포크와 작은 포크 각각 하나씩을 준비해서 두 차례 점심, 저녁 손님을 대상으로 실험 한 결과, 큰 포크를 이용한 사람들이 작은 포크를 이용한 사람들 보다 음식을 더 많이 남긴 것으로 나타났다.
연구진은 실험 장소가 식당에서 연구실로 바뀜에 따라 피실험자들의 동기가 변해서 동일한 실험 결과가 도출되지는 않았지만 “작은 포크를 사용하면 ‘충분히 먹는다’는 느낌을 받기 어렵기 때문”에 음식 섭취량이 많다고 밝혔다.
반면 큰 포크로 음식을 섭취하면 입 안에서 씹는 시간이 길어지기 때문에 포만감 쉽게 느끼게 되고 과식을 줄이는 데 도움이 된다,