Baby bites avoid bigger bellies
A recent study revealed that if 50 college students were given a bagel uncut or a bagel cut into quarters the group that were given the cut up bagel consumed less. Subjects who received the single uncut bagel ate more calories from both the bagel and the test meal that followed the bagel eating.
The researchers showed that when food is cut up into smaller pieces, less is consumed. They believe that food served in smaller amounts may be more satisfying than a single, uncut portion of food.
The author said that cutting food up into smaller pieces may be beneficial to people who are trying to make meals more filling while limiting portion control. One of the reasons that this might be effective is an actual optical illusion.
When something is divided into a smaller proportion the surface area of the food is increased. The more of the product that is seen with the eyes, the more the belly thinks it is receiving. That theory, my friends, is definitely mind over matter, or otherwise known as an optical illusion.
Another explanation has to do with manners. Taking a few bites out of a bagel and leaving it is either judged as wasting food or being rude enough to expect someone else to gnaw on your half eaten bagel. When there are pieces of a bagel available, it is not a faux pas to take one or two small pieces and leave the rest.
Yet another explanation has to do with how the body digests food. Taking a large bite out of a bagel and not adequately chewing it, in other words, swallowing a big bite whole surely increases the speed in which the bagel is consumed. It takes your brain 15 to 20 minutes to process the fact that your stomach is getting a full sensation.
If food is eaten quickly and in big chunks, your brain does not have the required time to register that your tank is on full. However, if food is eaten slowly in smaller bites, the brain and belly balk at cramming more into the mouth. A feeling of fullness appears and voila, fewer calories are consumed.
To take this one step further, just making the effort to cut food into pieces and pick up the fork to put it into the mouth takes additional time. That is valuable time for the brain and gut to communicate.
Although this research was necessary to fulfill someone’s master or doctorate degree, I really didn’t need the statistics to be convinced. Take small bites, chew slowly and less will be consumed. It is ignoring the feeling of fullness, the sensation of satiety that gets many people in trouble with over consumption of calories.
There is one exception where I have personal experience. If I have an entire one ounce chocolate bar in front of me and I break it into pieces, I am still going to eat every one of those chocolate morsels. Consider M&Ms. They are already little pieces. How would I break them into smaller pieces? Perhaps that is another study for another day.
Bobbie Randall is a certified diabetes educator, registered, licensed dietitian. She supervises a diabetes self-management training program at Aultman-Orrville Hospital, Orrville. Contact her at email@example.com or 330–684-4776.