Effect of plate size on meal energy intake in normal weight women

Nutr Res Pract. 2016 Oct;10(5):524-529. doi: 10.4162/nrp.2016.10.5.524. Epub 2016 Aug 2.


Background/objectives: Use of smaller plates to control food intake is a commonly recommended strategy for restricting energy intake, despite conflicting results. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine whether or not three different sizes of plates influence energy intake during a multi-itemed buffet meal in normal weight women.

Subjects/methods: This was a cross-over study conducted on 37 female participants aged 19-25 years with normal BMI levels. Participants were recruited from Hacettepe University and the surrounding community. On experimental days, participants ate a standard breakfast and were then randomly assigned to eat lunch using a small (19 cm), medium (23 cm), or large (28 cm) diameter plate. Visual analogue scale (VAS) scores on sensory and satiety outcomes were measured for all meals. Energy and macronutrient intakes during lunch were recorded.

Results: There was no evidence that use of a smaller plate size reduced energy or specific macronutrient intake during the free choice lunch meal. Multiple visits to the serving table were not associated with energy or macronutrient intake. Plate size did not affect VAS scores during the test days.

Conclusions: Plate size did not influence energy intake, meal composition, or palatability in normal weight women during a multi-itemed open buffet lunch. Studies in natural settings at the population level are needed to clarify current outcomes.

Keywords: Plate size; energy intake; obesity; satiety response.