January 31, 2012 | 11:00am
As you've probably figured out, this ol' blog of ours isn't intended to help you look like this guy
(case in point
Still, we appreciate good eating tips, and this NPR piece is packed with them
. The basis is that--surprise--we humans aren't as brilliant as we think we are, and can integrate some easy tricks into our food routines to punk ourselves into eating less. Sneaky!
Using smaller plates is one we've heard before, but it makes even more sense when we look at this classic illustration of the Delboeuf effect (above). Which dot looks bigger? Now, imagine that the dot is burger on a plate. [Lightbulb goes off in head.]
Researchers tested the theory by having subjects re-create a "target" serving of soup in bowls of various sizes. As predicted, "people underserved and overestimated on small dishes, while the reverse was true for large dishes. People using the smallest dishes undershot the target serving by as much as 12 percent. But people using the largest dishes took up to 13 percent more food than they intended."
Other helpful tricks:
Buy tall, skinny glasses: We tend to overestimate vertical lengths.
Use red food coloring: We expect red items to be sweet, so we perceive them to be sweet when we consume them.
Put healthy food at eye level in your kitchen: If you can't see unhealthy foods right away, you're less likely to eat them.
Eat with men: "Women may try to eat daintily around men, while men may feel less inclined to show off by pigging out if no women are around." Oh, society.
And don't look at food porn: Except, of course, on Stick a Fork on It.