A new study suggests that limiting portion sizes of food items served at home and in restaurants and which are available at the supermarket will curb the epidemic of obesity. The scientists reached this conclusion after reviewing the findings of 61 past studies. The results have been published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
The authors explain that portion sizes have been increasing in the past few decades. The obesity epidemic might be reversed, according to them, if this is changed.
The researchers found that portion size has some influence on how we eat. People tend to eat more if they are offered more food. On the other hand, smaller plates, glasses and cutlery helped them to eat less. Therefore, reducing the serving size is expected to improve one’s eating habits.
The results of the study show that getting rid of “large portions” could do away with up to 279 calories per day.
Obesity is a condition that has been gaining more and more victims. Being obese, or overweight, is linked with a number of health problems such as heart diseases, diabetes, and even cancer. The authors are positive that their results can be applied on the individual level, to counter overeating.
“This is the most conclusive evidence to date that people consistently consume more food and drink when given larger portions, packaging or tableware,” Dr Ian Shemilt, from Cambridge’s Behaviour and Health Research Unit, said in a statement to the BBC. “Consumers do have a role to play – for example, all of us can reduce the size of plates or glasses we use and put pressure on the pubs and restaurants we visit by asking for a smaller portion.”
Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said:
“This study clearly demonstrates that reducing portion sizes is a successful way to cut calories.
“It’s important to keep an eye on portion sizes when cooking, shopping and eating out to avoid overeating and help maintain a healthy weight.”