Food on plate-a

The eye bigger than the stomach?

You know the saying that our eyes are bigger than our stomachs? Not true. A new study from Cornell University reveals that whenever adults serve themselves food, on average, they eat 92% of what they put on their plate, regardless of nationality, dining setting, and a host of other factors.

Researchers from Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab analysed the dinner eating habits of more than 1,100 people from the US, Canada, France, Taiwan, Korea, Finland and the Netherlands. So long as diners were allowed to serve themselves, most people, they found, finished nearly everything on their plate. On average, the subjects tucked away 92 percent of their food.

Kids under 18 were the exception, however. The study also included more than 300 minors, who finished just 59 percent of the food they served themselves, on average.

Adults are generally good at knowing how much they want to eat and serve themselves accordingly, while kids are worse at that skill, the scientists suggest.

Kids, apparently, grow into adults who do finish all of their self-servings, so the researchers point out that curbing the amount of food you dish out—whether it’s because the plate is oversized, the ladle is large, or you’re just really excited about eating—could help diners keep their waistlines in check.

The authors say these findings, published in the International Journal of Obesity, can positively impact an individual’s eating behaviour, “Just knowing that you’re likely to consume almost all of what you serve yourself can help you be more mindful of appropriate portion size. Next time you grab that serving spoon, think to yourself, ‘How much do I want to eat?’ and serve accordingly.”

Food for thought to keep in mind next time you visit the buffet.

Cornell University: Read more