Researchers found that one third of customers opt for half portions of rice or noodles when given the option, even when the cost in not significantly less. Cutting down the serving size of starchy sides like these can represent a major calories savings, even when the entree remained the same.
The research was conduced at a popular Chinese restaurant not far from Duke University, typically frequented by students, staff and visitors to the campus hospital. The standard serving of rice or noodles is 10 ounces for 400 calories. Patrons where asked, “Would you like a half-order to save 200 calories?” Depending on the day, 14 to 33 percent of patrons said yes. Moreover, those who ordered the smaller side dishes also ate less, the researchers determined.
The researchers also tested to see if adding calorie counts to menus and offering a small discount for smaller servings would motivate patrons to eat less, however these changes did not affect ordering habits. We’re more likely respond to visual cues to tell us how much to eat, rather than slowing down and waiting for our bodies to trigger feelings of fullness.
The research confirms the that people are becoming more aware of over-sized portions, which have grown considerably in the past 20 years. Many more restaurants are now offering half-portions, but health experts say that customers shouldn’t feel free to ask for smaller portions.