We have all experienced it: we have eaten the entire plate of food without remembering a single bite. We were so engrossed in a movie or a book and were completely distracted from the food. It is one of the fastest ways of getting fat. But, if we eat by taking small bites, the things might not be so bad. That is the result of a study conducted by a group of researchers from Wageningen University in the Netherlands.
Counteracting a bad habit
This is not the first study to show that we tend to eat more than we should if we eat while distracted, and it is not the first one to show that it is a good idea to take smaller bites because we get to feel full sooner. But, it is the first study to put the two together.
The researchers found that people who eat small bites of food consume about 30 percents less food than people who eat normal size bites. The study participants who ate while distracted in general ate more, but even when distracted, they consumed less food if they did it by taking small bites.
One of the reasons for the consumption of less food with smaller bites is that we are forced to make more bites, for the same amount of food. Scientists believe that it is possible that because of a large number of small bites, people believe that they actually ate more. These results show that cognitive factor plays an important role in the sense of satiety. If you think that you are full, your appetite will go down and you will stop eating, regardless of the actual amount of food eaten.
Small bites and other tricks
The scientists concluded that their findings can play an important role in the fight against the obesity epidemics. The food industry could prepare prepackaged meals that encourage smaller bites or smaller sips.
While the results of the study are interesting, taking small bites and trying to eat without the distraction of the TV are just some of many small tricks you can use to reduce the amount of food you eat, and reduce excess weight. Some of the other tips you might find useful are:
1. Eat at the dining table and make a meal into a ritual;
2. Use small plate;
3. Put a variety of foods on the same plate (meat, vegetables, salad etc.);
4. Make meals colorful and flavorful to engage all your senses;
5. Drink water before the meal and during the meal, not sodas;