Small Packages Lead to Overeating

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Small McDonalds PackToday, all kinds of goodies and yummies come in small packages. Supposedly, they should help the sweet-toothed cut back on their portion sizes. However, a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research shows that the reality of small packaging is different. While small package of high calorie goodies looks diet-friendly, its content does not reduce calorie intake. They actually add calories to our diet as we tend to buy a few packages at once.

Research team discovered that people associated big packages with overeating and, thus, tried to stay away, while small packages were perceived as innocent indulgence, whatever their number.

The study comprised a few stages. The group of volunteers was challenged to think about weight and nutrition issues. They filled out questionnaires like Are you satisfied with your body?, Weight loss scale, Diet control scale. They were also weighed and measured in front of a mirror. Then, together with the control group (the one that wasn’t tested and measured) the volunteers went to the movie hall where they watched the episodes of the Friends serial interrupted by commercials. Volunteers thought their aim was to rank commercials while in reality scientists observed the consumption of potato chips that were offered for free.

Chips came in big and small packages. People from the control group who took big packages were small-eaters. They hesitated longer before they tore the package open and consumed fewer chips.