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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Optical Solutions

For many of us, trying to lose weight (or maintain our weight) is a challenge.  As you know, there are all sorts of diets--everyone from Valerie Bertinelli to Janet Jackson to Charles Barkley telling us to use their plan.

Most experts agree, though, that simply eating less is one of the easiest ways to lose weight--and quickly.  Still, eating less isn't always so easy.

A recent study has shown that our brain can be tricked into making us want to eat more--or less. 

Part of the study showed that if your plate and food are of contrasting colors, you'll serve yourself less food.  22% less than if the food and plate are of a similar color. 

Would you like seconds?
Also, the size of the plate can come into play.  Those dishing out food onto a large plate served themselves more food than those using smaller plates.  A certain amount of food on a large plate looks smaller to your brain than it does on a small plate. 

You know the optical illusion:  Think of 2 circles--one inside the other.  The inner circle looks smaller if surrounded by a much larger circle; it looks larger if the outer circle is not as large.  The same thing is happening with the food and plate.

In fact, the study also showed that if the plate and tablecloth were the same color, the portion control was easier because the size of the plate wasn't as apparent to the brain.

Of course, these aren't the only reasons for overeating.  Distractions--like TV, computer, music, etc--can take your attention away from what you're eating and make overeating easier.  For many, simply lacking the self-discipline for stopping after one serving is the biggest obstacle.

Is it time for us all to go out and buy tiny plates?  Maybe not, but it is interesting.  And it's good to be aware of things like this.  I guarantee you'll think about this the next time you're spooning food onto your plate!

You can read more about this study by clicking here

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