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Plate Size Doesn’t Matter When Hungry

There’s a portion control trick some dieters use to limit food intake. Instead of placing food on a standard sized dinner plate, they use a smaller plate. This tactic is supposed to make you think you’re getting more, but a study published in the journal Appetite suggests hunger helps your brain see portions for what they really are.

The original concept is based on the Delbouef illusion which predicts people will identify size differently when the same object is placed on a smaller surface compared to a surface with greater area.

But this doesn’t seem to work when people are hungry. Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev found that subjects who hadn’t eaten for 3 hours were more likely to correctly identify portion sizes on large and small plates compared to people who had recently eaten.