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Might bigger portions of healthier snack food help?

Werle, Carolina O.C., Dubelaar, Chris, Zlatevska, Natalina, Holden, Stephen S.
Food quality and preference 2019 v.71 pp. 181-184
field experimentation, healthy diet, high school students, portion size, snack foods, snacks
Two experiments in France investigate how larger portions influence consumption of healthy foods. Our studies compare the portion-size effect across snack foods varying in healthiness (potato chips and apple chips) and in a healthy snack (carrots) in a field setting (a movie theatre). Study 1 showed that doubling the portions increased consumption of both healthy and unhealthy snacks. Study 2, conducted in a movie theatre, showed that high-school students ate more of a healthy snack (baby-carrots) when given a larger portion. It also investigated if the portion-size effect was moderated by the type of movie being watched. Portion-size effect was mitigated when participants watched a food-related (vs. food-unrelated) movie, suggesting that food-focus reduces the effect of the portion size cue. Increasing portion sizes of healthy snacks may be a promising way to promote healthier food consumption. Being exposed to a food-related movie, however, mitigates the effect of portion size on consumption.