Researchers have suggested a simple step that could help people lose weight and address the ongoing obesity issue.
A team looked at the findings of more than 56 previous research studies, which analysed the impact of using smaller plates on people's eating habits.
The research, published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, weighed up the evidence in the various reports and concluded that small plates can help to reduce the amount people eat.
During the study, they looked at whether just using smaller plates could encourage people to eat less in a variety of conditions. In the previous reports, the experiments tried different types of food, as well as changing the type of plate used and portion size.
Looking at all of the studies, the researchers concluded that reducing the size of the plate by half meant that people ate 30 per cent less, compared to the average consumption.
In their research, the team highlighted two important factors that could increase the positive results of using smaller plates.
Firstly, they concluded that if people served themselves, the impact was much more significant. The researchers found that if people were allowed to serve their own portions on smaller plates, they would give themselves less and so eat less.
The second factor that the team identified was that the results were best when people were unaware they were being watched. They found that using a smaller plate had little impact on the amount someone ate if they knew their consumption was being monitored.
According to the study, using smaller plates could help reduce overeating in places where people have control over what they eat.
"Just changing to smaller plates at home can help reduce how much you serve yourself and how much you eat," says joint-author Natalina Zlatevska of Bond University, Australia.
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