This might be a familiar optical illusion to some of you.
Which is the larger black circle – the left or the right?
Does the one on the right side look larger to you?
The correct answer is that they’re both the same size! I know what you’re thinking.. aren’t these optical illusion answers rather predictable?
Interestingly, these silly perception problems we have can be brought out of those puzzle books, and into our actual lives. It’s possible to trick the mind and stomach into eating healthier portions. For many people portion control is a problem – it feels too good heaping your plate when you’re starving at the end of the day, but if you’re struggling to finish all of it or you feel a huge energy slump after your meal, it’s probably a sign that you’re having more food than your body needs. A simple switch of dinnerware could be incredibly useful for those trying to eat smaller portions.
Research suggests that people eat up to 22% fewer calories when they’re able to decrease the amount of empty space on their plate. Basically, when you see a large plate with empty void around the food, the brain unconsciously assumes the plate contains less food than a smaller-sized dish with no white space (see below), when in fact, both plates contain the same amount.
Larger plates can make a serving of food appear smaller; and smaller plates can lead us to misjudge that the very same quantity of food as being much larger. This leads you to eating more from the large plate. And since the eyes (not the stomach) count the calories, the brain will still think that the body is eating less – and the more likely it will send signals for you to embark on getting hold of a second serving, thanks to the survival instinct.
So the key is to start small, in a small plate/vessel. Instead of using a big 22inch plate for your meals, opt for a 8-inch plate packed full to the sides. If you’re using different plates for different foods, you can switch things around to your advantage. Load your vegetables onto the larger plate while using the smaller saucers for meat and carbohydrates.