Study: Smaller Food Pieces May Up Your Calories

When will you eat a cup of food that is half the calories of another cup of that same food? When that food is made of larger, fluffier pieces, suggests a new study. top view of various kids cereals in colorful bowls on wooden tab

The study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, focused on breakfast cereals. By eating flakes that were larger and took up more space in the bowl, people ate 100 calories less for breakfast than when eating the smaller, denser flaked cereal.

The findings relate to AICR’s recommendation for cancer prevention on eating mainly plant foods, which are low in calorie (energy) density. Bite for bite, many vegetables and other plant foods contain relatively few calories. That can help with weight control, which in turn reduces cancer risk. In the study, each week for four weeks, 41 breakfast eaters were offered 10 ounces (280 grams) of Wheaties.

Unbeknownst to them, the flake size was changed. One week they were served the cereal as packaged, considered the standard. The other three weeks they were given cereals where the flakes were crushed to 80%, 60% or 40% of the standard. As the flakes got smaller, the cereal took up less room in the bowl. Continue reading