Using oversized tableware and food packages as well as getting servings of larger-sized portions of food could contribute to overeating. Researchers said that eliminating jumbo food and beverage servings could significantly reduce caloric intake.
Overeating is known to increase a person's risks for obesity, which is associated with higher odds for serious chronic health problems that include diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
Researchers now reveal that by just reducing the availability of super-sized foods, caloric intake could be reduced among Americans by as high as 29 percent.
For a new study published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews on Sept. 14, Gareth Hollands, from the University of Cambridge, and colleagues looked at the results of 61 earlier studies involving over 6,700 participants to determine the link between food portion, tableware size and package on food consumption.
The researchers found that people who are routinely offered larger portions consistently consume more food and non-alcoholic drinks. The participants similarly ate and drink more when they use larger-sized tableware or packages.
"Overall, this review provides the most conclusive evidence to date that acting to reduce the size, availability and appeal of larger-sized portions, packages and tableware has potential to reduce the quantities of food that people select and consume by meaningful amounts," the researchers wrote.
Hollands and colleagues, however, said that it is not certain if reducing portions at the smaller end of the size range can also be as effective in reducing consumption of food.
The findings suggest that reducing exposure to large sizes could reduce American adults' daily energy intake from food by 22 to 29 percent, which is equal to up to 527 kcals per day. The reduction is between 12 to 16 percent among adults in the U.K.
The researchers suggested a range of potential actons that could be adopted to help reduce the availability, size and appeal of larger sized food portions , tableware and packages and these include placing larger portion sizes father away from consumers so these become less accessible and demarcating single portion prizes in packages through visual cues.
"Our findings highlight the important role of environmental influences on food consumption," Hollands said. "Helping people to avoid 'overserving' themselves or others with larger portions of food or drink by reducing their size, availability and appeal in shops, restaurants and in the home, is likely to be a good way of helping lots of people to reduce their risk of overeating."
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