Tuesday, 19 July 2011

How Your Utensils Can Help You Lose Weight

Going on a diet can play havoc with your mind. It makes you hungry when you're not. It makes you crave foods you can't have. It makes you depressed and finally abandon the diet altogether.

Fortunately, there are mind games you can use to subconsciously convince your brain that you’ve eaten more than you really have. One of these involves using a teaspoon instead of a regular spoon when eating food such as desserts or breakfast cereal for example.

Doing this not only makes your food last longer, you’ll be taking more spoonfuls of food. This subconsciously leads you to believe you’ve eaten more than you really have. Plus, if you’re taking longer to get through your food, your stomach will have a chance to start sending signals to your brain that it’s filling up. This doesn’t happen so readily if you bolt your food down in a hurry.

In contrast, an interesting finding from researchers at the University of Utah have discovered that using a larger fork when eating out, causes you to eat less food. During a two day experiment in an Italian restaurant, tables were set with a big fork or a regular sized fork. Tables with the larger forks were given plates with 20 percent more food and those with smaller plates given 20 percent less food.

Food was weighed before and after to calculate how much was eaten. Researchers found those with the larger forks and bigger meals consistently left more food. The authors believe that the size of the fork helps the diner see how much of their meal is left before finishing, while those using the smaller forks felt their progress was slower, causing them to make more of an effort to satisfying their hunger. This resulted in them eating more.

What does this all really mean? Possibly that many of us rely on external factors to help us decide when to stop eating, rather than waiting for signals from our stomach informing us when we’re full up. It’s all quite confusing. But when it comes down to losing weight, it’s always worthwhile trying out different methods to see what works for you.

This report was published in the Journal of Consumer Research.

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