It is often stated that that the increasing size of food portions is a strong factor contributing to the incidence of overweight and obesity. Numerous studies have shown it again and again: larger portion sizes, serving devices and packages lead people to eat more, often without them realizing it. In particular, individual serving devices such as plates, spoons and bowl have been shown to influence food intake. However, what has not been shown is whether the most central focus of the dinner table, the main serving bowl, has a similar magnifying effect. When one is eating at home and eating out in buffet restaurants, food is often available in serving bowls from which individual portions are distributed.
These findings again highlight the role that external cues play in food consumption and show the importance of considering serving bowl size in nutrition education. Maybe our findings can be used to turn bad habits around; just put your salad in bigger bowls.