Here's a well-known weight-loss tip: use a smaller plate, and you'll be satisfied with a smaller portion. The tip works — provided you're not genuinely very hungry — because a large part of our satisfaction at the end of a meal is determined by expectations about what a decent meal looks like. If we feel like we've eaten a proper dinner, we're not likely to eat another one an hour later.

If the sight of our meals matters, then how about the sight of each bite? Business-school researchers at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, conducted a clever experiment — published recently [PDF] in the Journal of Consumer Research — to find out.

The study authors enlisted help from a local Italian restaurant. Over the course of two days — serving two lunches and two dinners — the researchers randomly selected tables to receive either unusually large forks (20% larger than the restaurant's normal fork) or unusually small forks (20% smaller than normal). They then weighed each plate of food before it went out to a customer and once again when it came back, in order to calculate how much each person had eaten.

Overall, the results showed, the customers given bigger forks ate less, leaving more on their plates at the end of each meal.

Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2011/07/1...#ixzz1SYtXMoD6