Study: Half the Cookie, Save the Calories

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If you give a kid half a cookie, will he want more? The answer, somewhat surprisingly, is no, suggests a new study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

Yesterday, Alice wrote about snacking – the good and the bad of it. For many people, including kids, snacking is a part of the day. The researchers in this study looked at whether reducing a snack’s size would change how much children ate. In this case, the snack was a cookie.

In the study, researchers presented 77 first and sixth graders with an abundance of wafer cookie at their afternoon tea – yes, the study was conducted in Europe. About half of the children were offered full size cookies; the other group was served half-sized cookies. (The cookies were rectangular so it wasn’t as obvious they were halved.)

Kids helped themselves, and there was no other food or drink offered at the tea break. Researchers noted the weight of the cookies at the beginning and those of the leftovers.

The children offered the smaller cookies ate more servings, but in total, they ate 68 fewer calories than those served the larger wafers. That worked out to about 25 percent less gram weight. And both groups reported similar ratings on hunger and how much they liked the cookies.

The study is one of many that suggests, what we see, is what we eat. Small plates and portioning out foods are a couple strategies people use to help eat healthy portions.

Any favorite portion strategies? Please share.


    Author: Mya Nelson

    Mya R. Nelson is at American Institute for Cancer Research, where she writes about the research in the field.

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