Portion size and mindful eating is the key to weight loss, says new study

It's not what you eat, it's how you eat it

Woman cutting fruit
(Image credit: Getty)

If you're dieting and not seeing any results - then this new study could change the way you approach your weight loss journey.

Instead of focussing too much on what you're eating, experts have concluded that portion size, being more mindful about how quickly you're eating and taking smaller bites can all have an effect on how much food you consume.

The research was undertaken by doctors at Pennsylvania State University  - who studied the eating habits of 44 men and women over four weeks. 

Whether you are dieting or looking for the best exercises for weight loss - it's always disheartening to see no change on the scales - so this study could be a step in the right direction for many any us trying to shed the pounds.

Healthiest foods: unsaturated fats including seeds

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During the study, the dieters were given, once a week for four weeks, different sized portions of macaroni cheese for their lunch.

The doctors, who conducted the research, then analysed how quickly they ate, along with how big their bites were. After the four week period, they concluded that a bigger portion meant they ate quicker and took bigger bites.

When the lasagne portion was increased by 75 per cent the dieters ate on average 45 per cent more. The study, which was published in the American Society for Nutrition also found that when people had smaller portions they were more mindful  - eating slower with smaller bites. 

Author of the study Paige Cunningham, a doctoral student at The Pennsylvania State University, said: "Based on our findings, being aware of portion size, slowing down when you eat and taking smaller bites of food could help avoid over-consumption.

"Also, since people eat more when served more, over-consumption of calories from large portions can be reduced by choosing foods that have less calories per bite.

"This lets you eat the same filling portions of foods while consuming fewer calories."

If you want to start eating healthier check out our reviews of the best health grills and the best blenders.

Sarah Finley

Sarah is a freelance journalist who writes about fitness and wellbeing for the BBC, Woman&Home and Tech Radar. During lockdown she found her love of running outside again and now attempts to run around 50 miles a month. When it comes to other fitness, she loves a sweaty cardio session – although since she’s been working out from home she’s sure her downstairs neighbors aren’t too happy about it. She also loves to challenge herself - and has signed up to do hiking holidays, intense bootcamps and last year she went on her dream activity holiday: paddle boarding around deserted islands in Croatia. On her rest days, she loves to recover with a simple yoga flow session – the perfect antidote to her active fitness schedule.