Smaller Portion of Foods Make People Eat More Vegetables

A research conducted in the United States of America found that splitting food into smaller servings may help to stop the intake of sweets, for example, while helping the consumption of herbs. Underlying this is an entire analysis of human behavior towards consumption.

Failing to eat fresh fruits and vegetables may have serious impacts on health, from obesity to macular degeneration.

However, a lot of people refuse to eat such foods. The University of Georgia scientists have now looked at the psychology of how vegetables are introduced and serviced and the effect this has on their consumption.

Previous studies have found that people consume less of a certain type of food if it is wrapped up separately. As an example, having chocolates that are packaged apart usually decreases their consumption, thereby raising consumer awareness.
However, this varies depending on the kind of food. ” For chocolates, the desire to eat more needs to be suppressed.

Each decision-making point reminds them to stop and therefore increase in decision points actually decreases consumption,” explains Michelle van Dellen, a professor at the department of psychology and the main author of the paper.

Yet scientists have suggested that offering the serving of foods that are less appealing ( like vegetables and other foods with low fat and low sugar content) in separated units can have the opposite effect and increase their consumption.

More people need to engage in self-control to consume vegetables. More decision-making steps may require more empowerment. Presenting the food in separated pieces may reduce the decision points. But since people also have a strong desire for completion, they are more likely to finish a portion or unit, no matter if they are made up of relatively unattractive items,” says van Dellen.

Full format and separated portion of cauliflowers.

The research team carried out experiments where they presented cauliflowers randomly in full shape or in portions.

In general, participants did not consume significantly different amounts of cauliflower, but the research team determined that the format of the appearance affected the consumption.

In the full-size presentation, the majority of the participants only ate one slice of cauliflower. In the divided portions format, most participants were more inclined to eat all the pieces and less likely to stop at once.

Although earlier findings had shown that separated servings may help stop the intake of unhealthy foods as a result of improved self-control, our work had provided further evidence for the benefit of using portions. Curiously, servings can help drive up the consumption of healthy items, such as vegetables, by stimulating people to finish what they started,” says Julio Sevilla, an associate professor and co-author of the research.

The findings inform how a slight variation in the appearance of vegetables can have an impact on eating behavior. The outcome can also help increase the consumption of fruit and vegetables both in cafes and restaurants and even at home.

In general, fruits and vegetables are low in calories and rich in vitamins, minerals, and other equally important nutrients. Many of them are low in carbohydrates and high in fibers, and this makes them ideal for people wanting to follow a low-fat diet.

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