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Appetite. 2010 Feb;54(1):214-6. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2009.09.016. Epub 2009 Oct 4.

"Is this a meal or snack?" Situational cues that drive perceptions.

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Cornell University, 110 Warren Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


What determines whether a person perceives an eating occasion as a meal or snack? The answer may influence what and how much they eat on that occasion and over the remainder of the day. A survey of 122 participants indicated that they used food cues (such as the food quality, portion size, perceived healthfulness, and preparation time) as well as environmental cues (such as the presence of friends and family, whether one is seated, and the quality of napkins and plates) to determine if they were eating a meal rather than a snack. Implications for dieters and for health professionals are provided.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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