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Eat Behav. 2015 Jan;16:40-2. doi: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2014.10.007. Epub 2014 Nov 1.

Can serving-size labels reduce the portion-size effect? A pilot study.

Author information

1
School of Psychology, UNSW Australia, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia. Electronic address: Samantha_spanos@hotmail.com.
2
School of Psychology, UNSW Australia, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.
3
School of Psychology, UNSW Australia, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia. Electronic address: lvartanian@psy.unsw.edu.au.

Abstract

Research has shown that the bigger the portion that people are served, the more food they eat; this phenomenon is referred to as the portion-size effect. Providing objective serving-size information on food products has been shown to reduce the influence of external food cues on people's eating behavior. The current study examined whether providing objective serving-size information would also reduce the portion-size effect. 100 female participants were served either a small or large portion of pizza in the context of a taste test. The large portion was either unlabeled, labeled as "Contains 2 servings," or labeled as "Contains 4 servings." Food intake was lower when the large portion was labeled "Contains 4 servings" compared to when it was labeled "Contains 2 servings." Moreover, participants' intake in the large portion/4 servings condition was statistically similar to the intake of participants in the small portion condition. Thus, the standard portion-size effect was observed when the large portion was unlabeled or was labeled as "Contains 2 servings," but not when the large portion was labeled as "Contains 4 servings". These findings suggest that providing serving-size information can reduce the portion-size effect, but that the specific content (and not just the presence) of serving-size information is important in determining food intake.

KEYWORDS:

College women; Food intake; Labeling; Portion size; Serving size

PMID:
25464065
DOI:
10.1016/j.eatbeh.2014.10.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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