How size-related food labels impact how much we eat
Portions — such as 8, 12 or 16 ounces — are given different labels — small, medium or large — at different restaurants. However, how a portion is described size-wise impacts how much we eat and how much we’re willing to pay for our food, a new study finds.
June 24, 2013 — Just what size is a “small” drink — 8 ounces, 12 ounces, 16 ounces? The truth is, those are all “small” sizes depending on what restaurants and fast food joints you go to. As customers, we are used to ordering food based on relative size, but according to a new study from Cornell University, these seemingly standard labels impact our entire eating experience.Share This:Dr. David R. Just and Dr. Brian Wansink of the Cornell Food & Brand Lab designed a study to understand how portion labels impact what you’re willing to pay for your food as well as how much you actually eat. The researchers served two different portion sizes of lunch items, including spaghetti: either 1 cup (small) or 2 cups (large). The twist was in the labeling: for some participants, the small and large portions were labeled “Half-Size” and “Regular” respectively, giving the impression that the large 2-cup portion was the norm. For the others, however, the same portions were labeled “Regular” and “Double-Size” — indicating that the smaller 1-cup portion was the norm. These varying concepts of “Regular” portions made all the difference in how much people would spend and subsequently eat.Portion DistortionThe researchers examined how people’s eating habits differed depending on these food labels. …
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