(ZURICH, Switzerland) — If you’re looking to cut calories, you might start by cutting your food into smaller pieces. So suggests a study reported Tuesday in Zurich, Switzerland, at the international conference for the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior.
Arizona State University researchers gave 301 hungry college students either a whole bagel or the same bagel cut into four separate pieces. Twenty minutes later, both groups of students were treated to a free lunch.
What the researchers found was that the college students in both groups ended up eating roughly the same amount of each bagel; however the students that ate the bagel cut in four pieces ate roughly 25 percent less of their free lunch than the students who ate the uncut bagel.
The phenomenon appeared to hold true in animals as well. As part of the same study, the researchers also found that when hungry rats were given a choice to look for food either as a single large pellet or 30 small pellets, the rats ran faster and more frequently to the small pellets.
“Cutting up energy-dense meal foods into smaller pieces may be beneficial to dieters who wish to make their meal more satiating while also maintaining portion control,” lead study author Devina Wadhera said in a news release.
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