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What determines real-world meal size? Evidence for pre-meal planning

By Stephanie H. Fay, Danielle Ferriday, Elanor C. Hinton, Nicholas G. Shakeshaft, Peter J. Rogers and Jeffrey M. Brunstrom


The customary approach to the study of meal size suggests that ‘events’ occurring during a meal lead to its termination. Recent research, however, suggests that a number of decisions are made before eating commences that may affect meal size. The present study sought to address three key research questions around meal size: the extent to which plate cleaning occurs; prevalence of pre-meal planning and its influence on meal size; and the effect of within-meal experiences, notably the development of satiation. To address these, a large-cohort internet-based questionnaire was developed. Results showed that plate cleaning occurred at 91% of meals, and was planned from the outset in 92% of these cases. A significant relationship between plate cleaning and meal planning was observed. Pre meal plans were resistant to modification over the course of the meal: only 18% of participants reported consumption that deviated from expected. By contrast, 28% reported continuing eating beyond satiation, and 57% stated that they could have eaten more at the end of the meal. Logistic regression confirmed pre-meal planning as the most important predictor of consumption. Together, our findings demonstrate the importance of meal planning as a key determinant of meal size and energy intake

Topics: 111100 NUTRITION AND DIETETICS, meal-size, planning, satiation, satiety, plate cleaning, portion size, appetite
Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.appet.2011.01.006
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