Larger portions at restaurants usually mean we tend to eat more, but surprisingly bigger bites lead to eating less.
“We examined the influence of small versus large bite-sizes on overall quantity of food consumed,” write study authors Arul Mishra, Himanshu Mishra, and Tamara M. Masters from the University of Utah, Salt Lake City.
They conducted a field study at a popular Italian restaurant. They used two fork sizes to manipulate bite sizes and found that diners who used large forks ate less than those with small forks.
“Diners can satisfy their hunger by choosing, eating, and paying for their food — all of which involve effort. The fork size provided the diners with a means to observe their goal progress,” the authors explain, according to an Utah statement.
The authors tested this conclusion by varying the quantities of food. They found that when the initial quantity of food was more (a well-loaded plate), diners with small forks ate significantly more than those with large forks.
When customers were served small servings, the fork size did not affect the amount of food.
Interestingly, in a lab experiment the authors found that participants with small forks consumed less than those with large forks.