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Appetite. 2004 Feb;42(1):63-9.

Increasing the portion size of a packaged snack increases energy intake in men and women.

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Department of Nutritional Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, 226 Henderson Building, University Park, PA 16802-6502, USA.


The objective of this study was to determine how the portion size of a packaged snack affects energy intake of the snack and of the subsequent meal. On five separate days, 60 subjects (34 women and 26 men) ate an afternoon snack and dinner in individual cubicles. For each snack, subjects were served one of five packages of potato chips (28, 42, 85, 128, or 170 g), which they consumed ad libitum directly from the unlabelled, opaque package. Subjects returned to the lab three hours later for a standard dinner, which was also consumed ad libitum. Results showed that snack intake increased significantly as the package size increased for both males and females (p < 0.001). The combined energy intake from snack and dinner also increased as the package size increased. On average, when served the largest snack package compared to the smallest, subjects consumed an additional 596 kJ (143 kcal) at snack and dinner combined. Results from this study demonstrate that short-term energy intake increases with increasing package size of a snack. These data suggest that the availability of large packages of energy-dense snacks may be one of the environmental influences associated with excess energy intake.

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