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Food, Eating and Weight Myths Debunked

Sometimes the science of food and eating moves along so fast that it’s hard to keep track of it. However, here are two myths that have been debunked and are worth noting.

  • “Will smaller plates lead to smaller waists? A systematic review and meta-analysis of
    the effect that experimental manipulation of dishware size has on energy consumption.”
    It has been suggested that providing consumers with smaller dishware may prove an effective way of helping people eat less and prevent weight gain, but experimental evidence supporting this has been mixed. The objective of the present work was to examine the current evidence base for whether experimentally manipulated differences in dishware size influence food consumption. We systematically reviewed studies that experimentally manipulated the dishware size with which participants served themselves at a meal with and measured subsequent food intake … With all available data included, analysis indicated a marginal effect of dishware size on food intake, with larger dishware size associated with greater intake. However, this effect was small and there was a large amount of heterogeneity across studies …Evidence to date does not show that dishware size has a consistent effect on food intake, so recommendations surrounding the use of smaller plates/dishware to improve public health may be premature. (Obesity Prevention, E. Robinson, S. Nolan, C. Tudur-Smith, E.J. Boyland, J.A. Harrold, C.A. Hardman, J.C.G. Halford, 7/11/14, DOI: 10.1111/obr12200)
  • “Effects of Sugar Ingestion Expectancies on Perceptions of Misbehavior”
    While the notion that sugar consumption leads to hyperactivity has repeatedly been unsupported in the literature, little research has attended to the effects of accepting the widely held belief. The present study aimed to investigate how one's perception of a child's behavior is affected when the individual believes in the sugar-hyperactivity myth and is provided information regarding the child's sugar consumption prior to observing behavior. Findings indicated that participants who were informed that the children ingested sugar prior to the observation rated the male child's and the female child's hyperactivity significantly higher than participants who were told that the children had ingested a sugar-free product. (Proquest, Legg, Kari M., M.S., Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, 2014, 47 pages; 1560371)

The first myth is important if you’ve been counting on using smaller dishes to reduce your food consumption. Of course, if it works for you, go for it. The second myth is important if you’ve been blaming your hyper-activity on sugar. And, please, don’t blame science for changing it’s mind. That’s what the scientific process is all about.

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You Can’t or You Won’t

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