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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, say researchers.
The research – to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB) – investigated how the size and number of food pieces impacted satiety and reward mechanisms, revealing that that both animals and humans find multiple pieces of food to be more filling and rewarding than a single-piece portion of food with equal calorific value. “Perhaps food in pieces appears bigger and is therefore more rewarding and satiating to both animals and humans,” said the researchers, led by Devina Wadhera of Arizona State University, USA.
Wadhera noted that both humans and animals use number as a cue to judge quantities of food – with larger numbers usually associated with larger quantities. “Therefore, a food portion cut into multiple, bite-sized pieces may perceptually look more and therefore elicit greater satiation than the same portion presented as a single, large piece,” explained the team.