One of the larger problems in combating obesity in America comes from the difficulty many individuals who struggle with their weight have in visually measuring portion sizes.
And indeed, in the past two decades, portion size has become a big contributor to obesity rates. Chains like The Cheesecake Factory and Claim Jumper trade in sometimes comical portions of even “healthy” foods like salads, but even home-cooked meals and convenience food often outstrips what any human should reasonably consume in a single seating.
Still, we tend to consume as much as possible of what is placed in front of us, which presents a conundrum for public health officials attempting to educate the populace as to what represents a reasonable portion of food to eat in a single sitting. But researchers at Cornell have discovered one way that is surprisingly efficient at encouraging consumers to eat smaller portions- and it is almost literally a stop sign.
Humans are conditioned from an early age to interpret green as “go,” and red as “stop,” and applying that knowledge to food seems to do the trick quite effectively. A study published this month in the journal Health Psychology, details a study done at the university involving stackable chips (think Pringles), wherein every 7th chip was colored red. (Seven chips was considered a single serving.)