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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Popcorn Study

What luck! Imagine yourself paying to get in to your favorite movie, and someone hands you a drink and a very large bucket of popcorn. Your date even gets their own, so you don't have to share! The people behind you also get buckets of popcorn, theirs is just a little bit smaller. Everyone is getting free popcorn! This is a great day! There is no way you won't enjoy the movie now! You just have to stay after the movie and have your popcorn bucket weighed, but thats no big deal, for free popcorn!

Through out the movie, you snack and munch to your hearts content...on old, stale, burnt popcorn, intentionally served to unsuspecting movie goers, just to see if container size makes a difference. And it turns out, it does! The folks who were served Cornell researchers' large size of 14 day old popcorn ate 53 percent more than the folks with the medium size buckets of popcorn. That is about 170 more calories and more than 20 hand fulls of the stale stuff!

The end result of the experiment is that large packages can lead to folks eating large amounts of foods that they don't even find appealing! Like 14 day old popcorn!

That can easily translate into the kitchen at home. Bowls the size of the Grand Canyon lead to eating half a days worth of calories in cereal or ice cream, oversize mugs hold three or four servings of coffee or hot chocolate and large plate can be overloaded with four or five servings of lasagna or meatloaf.

The good news is that it goes for healthy foods too. So use a big plate for your salad (dressing on the side), a small plate for your pizza, and a small cup for your soda pop (even if that means you get up to refill it). Portion out your snacks instead of eating them from the box or bag they came in, and don't eat in front of the TV or at the movies, when you aren't paying attention to how much you actually eat (or to what stale old mess is being served to you!).

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