Bowls for Plates, Lose Weight!

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The illusion works because we think things are smaller when we compare them to things that are larger. If you put a small piece of food on a large plate, your mind will tell you that you are eating a small portion and you will automatically put more food on the plate. However, if you put that same piece of food on a small plate, your mind will tell you that you are eating a large portion and you'll stop adding food. The image below depicts the Delboeuf Illusion and how it applies to food.

The circles of food are the same size on each plate. Either way, you are eating the same amount of food. However, forcing yourself to put a small portion of food on a large plate will drain your willpower and motivation.

Dishware design might guide our food portions in ways we don’t even realize.

From a psychological standpoint, it feels like you are depriving yourself. Meanwhile, the same portion feels bigger and more filling when you see it on a small plate. The Delboeuf Illusion has been proven to work for a wide range of shapes, including squares, rectangles, and triangles. In other words, it doesn't matter what you're eating, your mind will still play tricks on you when it comes to the relative size perception of your portion and your plate.

Thanks to the Delboeuf Illusion, downsizing your plates will reduce the number of calories you are eating and allow you to feel satisfied at the same time. Forget about willpower and motivation and let the plate control your portion for you.

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You can safely and happily eat a full plate of food and still lose weight, just start with a smaller plate. The size of your plate isn't the only thing that determines how much you eat.

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Wansink and van Ittersum have discovered that the color of your plate matters too. The two men conducted an experiment where they examined the relationship between plate color and serving size. The researchers instructed one group of participants to serve themselves pasta pre—mixed with a red tomato sauce and a second group to serve themselves pasta pre—mixed with a white Alfredo sauce.

SMALLER plates CAN help you shed pounds by 'slashing 159 calories a day'

Each person was randomly given a white plate or a dark red plate. The same was true for eating pasta with a white Alfredo sauce on a white plate compared to a dark red plate. The reason behind this drastic difference in serving size is that when the color of your food blends in with the color of your plate, then the amount of food doesn't appear to be as large. The result is that you will end up scooping more food onto the plate. Look at the color contrast in the image below to get a sense of this effect. The higher contrast in plate color to food color will automatically prevent you from throwing an extra scoop onto the plate.

Typically, this isn't something you will think about, your mind will just realize that you don't need another serving. You don't have to rely on motivation because the color of the plate is helping your mind make the decision for you. Based on the research, if I had to choose a color for my dinner plates, I would choose dark green. Presumably, this color would contrast with most foods that I would want to limit: pastas, potatoes, cereals, and grains. At the same time, I would enjoy a positive effect from the dark green color: over—serving helpings of broccoli, spinach, and leafy greens.

The first option is to remember to eat differently, which is more commonly known as dieting. Effect sizes were larger when all the food in the study was manipulated.

Adults were more susceptible than children. But all those things are minor quibbles, compared to the huge catch buried down in the full text of this study. The longer-term sustainability of the effects of prolonged or repeated exposures, and effects under free-living conditions, therefore remain to be established. So in other words, they have no idea how well this works in actual humans living in the real world for long periods of time. They also have no idea whether it works if you try doing it to yourself, instead of having a researcher do it to you.

Remember from above that a lot of human eating behavior is based on expected fullness, not actual physical signals of fullness from our digestive system. Learn Start Meal Plans. Paleo Keto Paleo Beginner?

The weight of the waiter who served us our food. How healthy we think the food is.


Current plate diameter, in inches Small reduction Large reduction 12 10 8.