SSIB logoFranklin D. Roosevelt’s thought ‘Men are not prisoners of fate, but prisoners of their own minds’ may seem apt for this tidbit. Investigators supposedly allege that the key to eating less is how satisfying we think our food will be before consuming. It has been claimed that portion control is just a matter of perception.

During the investigation, the study participants had to consume altering quantities of food. The scientists made the subjects believe the portion sizes of food to be larger than they really were. It was then observed that these participants reported to be more satisfied for longer duration.

It was affirmed that memories on how satisfying previous meals were seem to enhance individuals in concluding how long those meals staved off hunger. Having scrutinized the results of the study, the investigators assume that appetite and satiety are controlled by expectations before eating and memory after eating.

“The extent to which a food that can alleviate hunger is not determined solely by its physical size, energy content, and so on. Instead, it is influenced by prior experience with a food, which affects our beliefs and expectations about satiation. This has an immediate effect on the portion sizes that we select and an effect on the hunger that we experience after eating,” enlightened Dr. Brunstrom.

While carrying out the investigations, the scientists conducted two experiments. Participants in the former experiment were shown the ingredients of a fruit smoothie. Half the subjects were shown a small portion of fruit and the other half were shown a large portion. The participants were then made to evaluate the ‘expected satiety’ of the smoothie. They had to also rate the smoothie before and three hours after consumption.

It then appeared that the participants who had seen the large portion of fruit registered considerably greater fullness. It should be noted that greater fullness was reported though all the subjects consumed the same smaller quantity of fruit.

Dr. Brunstrom quoted, “Labels on ‘light’ and ‘diet’ foods might lead us to think we will not be satisfied by such foods, possibly leading us to eat more afterwards. One way to militate against this, and indeed accentuate potential satiety effects, might be to emphasize the satiating properties of a food using labels such as ‘satisfying’ or ‘hunger relieving’.”

In the latter experiment, participants were manipulated in the ‘actual’ and ‘perceived’ amount of soup that they thought to have consumed. As the subjects ate, the quantity of soup in the bowl was increased or decreased with the help of a hidden pump connected from beneath the bowl. It was mentioned that the participants were unaware about the pump and didn’t know if the amount of their soup was altered.

The outcome was that, after three hours of consuming the meal, the participants actualized the quantity of soup in the bowl and not the actual amount of soup consumed that predicted post-meal hunger and fullness ratings. The investigators elucidate that the study findings have associations for more effective food labeling.

The study will be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB).