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Take Smaller Bites! Why Bite-Sized Foods Are Better

Take Smaller Bites! Why Bite-Sized Foods Are Better

So much of the recent concern and debate over nutrition and obesity has centered on the issue of portion size. With much of the fast food/junk food industry marketing bigger is better, it is hard not to conclude that the opposite might be true – small is preferable. Maybe a slider is better than a Big Mac, and a bite of chocolate is better than a whole bar. Now, seemingly, there is conclusive scientific proof that smaller bites are better than a mouthful.

Researchers at Arizona State University investigated how the size and number of food pieces affected human satisfaction and the human reward mechanism. The researchers found that smaller pieces of food are more “rewarding” and lead to a greater feeling of fullness than one large piece of food with equal energy values. A food portion cut into multiple bite-sized pieces may look more voluminous and will elicit greater satisfaction than the same portion presented as a single large piece. This means that a plate of cute little pizza slices will be infinitely more rewarding to a hungry person than just four massive slices of pizza. This is good news for the calorie-conscious who want to provide a more satisfying dining experience – just cut everything up into smaller, bite-sized, pieces (if only it were that easy).

While this theory does hold some water, it is not clear whether we are looking at a future of mini-everything. Sure it would likely be better for portion control and sensible eating (not to mention a boon to marketers selling bite-sized pieces at a premium), but we humans are hungry animals with an unyielding desire for the grand offering.

What are your thoughts on smaller portions of food being inherently more rewarding than big servings? Have you found this to be true for yourself? What are some of your favorite small bites?

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Read more: Appetizers & Snacks, Blogs, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Following Food, Food, News & Issues, Obesity, , , , , ,

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Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.


+ add your own
2:35AM PST on Jan 9, 2013

thanks for sharing

2:48PM PST on Dec 20, 2012

This makes sense to me. I seem to enjoy eating more when I either split my meals into two or eat something that's bite sized. I suppose it's that whole have some for later mentality that gives us something to look forward to.

1:06PM PDT on Sep 27, 2012

makes sense. if I am very hungry sometimes I take huge bites and swallow too soon.. it hurts all the way down. Gotta work on that

12:44PM PDT on Aug 27, 2012


8:40AM PDT on Aug 27, 2012


8:40AM PDT on Aug 27, 2012


8:18AM PDT on Aug 27, 2012

good tips and reminders

12:53AM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

Well, I heard once that because smaller pieces go in our mouths can be chewed easier, because we're conditioned to eat a certain way, that bigger chunks of food in our stomachs lead to the fact that they take longer to digest, and some how make us fatter. Eating and chewing your food also helps you feel full sooner.

5:10AM PDT on Aug 10, 2012

Alan Sugar recommends using a smaller fork

6:03AM PDT on Aug 5, 2012


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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people are talking

Well I guess there are other compelling reasons to not eat fast food other than it really is nothing…

Thanks for posting.

Cannot stop catalogs, I tried- recycle them.

This sounds just a bit too new agey for me, sorry.

All good. Thank you.


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