Using a smaller plate did not reduce energy intake at meals

Barbara J. Rolls, Liane S. Roe, Kitti H. Halverson, Jennifer S. Meengs

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99 Scopus citations


In three cross-over experiments, we examined the effect on energy intake of changing the size of the plate used at a meal. On separate days, adults were served the same lunch menu but were given a different-sized plate. In the first study, 45 participants used each of three plate sizes (17, 22, or 26 cm) and served the main course from a large dish. In the second study, 30 participants received an equal amount of food presented on each of the two larger plates. In the third study, 44 participants used each of the three plates and selected from a buffet of five foods matched for energy density. Results showed that plate size had no significant effect on energy intake. The mean differences in intake using the smallest and largest plates in the three studies were 21±13 g, 11±13 g, and 4±18 g, respectively, equivalent to <142 kJ (34 kcal) and not significantly different from zero. Participants in the third study made significantly more trips to the buffet when they were given the smallest plate. These findings show that using a smaller plate did not lead to a reduction in food intake at meals eaten in the laboratory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)652-660
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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