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Br J Nutr. 2018 Oct;120(7):830-837. doi: 10.1017/S0007114518002246. Epub 2018 Aug 29.

Eating with a smaller spoon decreases bite size, eating rate and ad libitum food intake in healthy young males.

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1National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine,School of Sport,Exercise and Health Sciences,Loughborough University,Loughborough LE11 3TU,UK.
2Academy of Sport and Physical Activity,Sheffield Hallam University,Sheffield S10 2BP,UK.


There is a paucity of data examining the effect of cutlery size on the microstructure of within-meal eating behaviour or food intake. Therefore, the present studies examined how manipulation of spoon size influenced these eating behaviour measures in lean young men. In study one, subjects ate a semi-solid porridge breakfast ad libitum, until satiation. In study two, subjects ate a standardised amount of porridge, with mean bite size and mean eating rate covertly measured by observation through a one-way mirror. Both studies involved subjects completing a familiarisation visit and two experimental visits, where they ate with a teaspoon (SMALL) or dessert spoon (LARGE), in randomised order. Subjective appetite measures (hunger, fullness, desire to eat and satisfaction) were made before and after meals. In study one, subjects ate 8 % less food when they ate with the SMALL spoon (SMALL 532 (SD 189) g; LARGE 575 (SD 227) g; P=0·006). In study two, mean bite size (SMALL 10·5 (SD 1·3) g; LARGE 13·7 (SD 2·6) g; P<0·001) and eating rate (SMALL 92 (SD 25) g/min; LARGE 108 (SD 29) g/min; P<0·001) were reduced in the SMALL condition. There were no condition or interaction effects for subjective appetite measures. These results suggest that eating with a small spoon decreases ad libitum food intake, possibly via a cascade of effects on within-meal eating microstructure. A small spoon might be a practical strategy for decreasing bite size and eating rate, likely increasing oral processing, and subsequently decreasing food intake, at least in lean young men.


DTE desire to eat; LARGE dessert spoon; SMALL teaspoon; Appetite; Energy balance; Obesity; Portion size; Weight gain

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