Is The Size of Your Dinner Plate Preventing Weight Loss?

Is The Size of Your Dinner Plate Preventing Weight Loss?

Weight loss tip that has nothing to do with  DIET

The subject of the psychology of eating is fascinating. It’s also nice to know there are changes that you can make to positively affect your health and it has NOTHING to do with the word DIET. Did you know the average size of a dinner plate has increased by 2 inches in the last 50 years? That doesn’t sound like much right? What if I told you, those 2 inches actually increase the surface area of the plate by 50%? Obesity has tripled over that time period. I’m not saying it’s all due to the plate size, the food industry has also gone “supersize” crazy as well. Add that to the increase of processed foods and it’s no wonder we are a society out of control.

What if I told you, changing the size of your dinner plate could help you lose weight?

dinner plate
Size Matters

In several studies conducted by Cornell University, they found people’s perception of how much they were eating varied based on the size of the plate. As much as 18% more.  A more recent study by Temple University found in a study with children and plate size, 80% of those given larger plates, piled on an average of 90 additional calories. This is a known optical illusion referred to as the Delboeuf illusion. Basically, if you take 2 concentric circles, the perceived size of the interior circle changes when the circumference of the outer circle is changed. If you want to have some fun, check out an interactive image at the following site,

Color may play a role as well

In another study, a group of researchers, Wansink and van Ittersum decided to take it a step further and looked at plate color in terms of contrast to the food. What they found was very similar. Those people who were using a white plate with a predominately white food like a pasta dish with white sauce, were more likely to pile on more food than those with a pasta dish with red sauce on the same white plate. Up to 22% more! The contrast between the color of the food and the plate created the same illusion. In addition, the contrast of the table lining to the dish contributed in the same manner. An average of 10% more food by weight was added. Even the size of the fork made a difference. People who used a large fork tended to eat less. These visual cues play a key role in people’s perception of quantity.

Take DIET out of your vocabulary

One of the basic principles of our approach at All Just Choice, has been to focus on healthy living. We never looked at changing the way we eat as a means to lose weight, it was about longevity and feeling better. Weight loss has been a side effect of eating the right foods. The word “diet” itself creates so much anxiety with people. Just the mention and your shoulders start so shrug and tighten.  If you had the opportunity to introduce change without the stress, would you? As you have read here, it doesn’t have to start with food. We’ll get to that part later 🙂 Simple things like changing the size of the plate you use (9 or 10 inches).  Change the color of the plates or, more realistically, placemats. You will put less on your plate and consume less calories. I’ve seen tips for splitting your meal at a restraunt and placing half in a to go box at the start to avoid over eating. While, it’s a good practice, it didn’t work for me. I still had less on the plate and I knew it. Instead, ask for a smaller plate and what doesn’t fit goes into the box. You’ll still get the sensation of eating a full plate of food. Also, the brilliant part, based on the research, knowing about the Delboeuf illusion, did not affect the outcome. Imagine what a 10-20% reduction in calories would add up to over a period of a week, a month, a year. Based on an average daily calorie intake of 2500 cal/day.

If you reduced your calorie intake by 15%, you would lose about a 1lb a week. Boom! Let’s get started! Can’t wait to hear about your results. Click To Tweet