Your cereal has small flakes
You’ll eat more calories if your cereal bowl is filled with smaller flakes than larger ones, even if your serving size is smaller, according to interesting recent Penn State research. Researchers took a basic wheat flake cereal and crushed it down to various smaller volumes (80 percent, 60 percent, and 40 percent of the original size). They asked 41 adults to eat cereal for breakfast once a week for four weeks; each week they poured a different-sized flake version. As flake size was reduced (meaning the cereal looked more crushed), participants poured a lower volume of cereal, but still ate more in terms of calories. “Without us even knowing it, these variations can have a big impact on how much we’re eating,” study author Barbara Rolls, PhD, professor of nutritional sciences, said in a press release. “For cereals with small pieces, the recommended serving size should be reduced to account for the uncharacteristically low volume, in the same way that the recommended serving size is increased for voluminous foods, such as puffed cereals and leafy greens.” Make sure you’re not making these breakfast mistakes that could sabotage your weight loss.
It’s not you—it’s the people around you
A recent study in the journal Appetite found that our fellow eaters’ appearance and food selection do influence our own choices. In the study, 82 participants were randomly assigned to watch a normal-weight actress serve herself a meal of salad and pasta in one of four different scenarios; then they helped themselves to the same meal. In one video she ate more salad than pasta; in another more pasta than salad. Then she did the exact same thing in a prosthetic suit that made her look 50 pounds heavier. Participants who saw the “overweight” actress took and ate almost 32 percent more pasta, regardless of what she ate. The lesson? Being with overweight people may make you less in tune with your own health goals. Try checking menus in advance so you’re not as tempted by this subtle environmental cue, or adopt these habits of naturally thin people.