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Research shows that pretzel size influences intake by determining how fast a person eats and how large their bites are




Research shows that pretzel size influences intake by determining how fast a person eats and how large their bites are

Researchers found that pretzel size affects consumers’ eating speed, with smaller sizes leading to slower eating speed and smaller bites. Credit: Madeline Harper/Penn State, all rights reserved

The size of an individual snack affects not only how quickly a person eats it, but also how much of it they eat, according to a new study led by researchers at Penn State. Because nearly a quarter of daily calorie intake in the United States comes from snack foods, these findings may have implications for helping people better understand how eating behaviors influence calorie and sodium intake.

The team of food scientists investigated how pretzel size affects eating behavior (overall intake, eating speed, bite size and snack duration) and found that people eat larger pretzels more quickly with larger bites. They also found that even though people ate smaller pretzels more slowly and in smaller bites, and ate less overall, they still had a higher sodium intake. Their results are now available online and will remain so published in the June issue of Pull.

Seventy-five adults participated in the study and ate snacks three different times in the Sensory Evaluation Center. The extra-large snack consisted of approximately 2.5 servings of one of three pretzel sizes: small, medium or large. To calculate eating speed and bite size, the researchers recorded each snacking session on video, noting how many minutes each participant spent snacking and the number of bites. They also measured how much each participant ate, both in terms of weight and calories.

When participants were given the same amount of food, the amount they ate (both in snack weight and calories) depended on unit size, with study participants consuming 31% and 22% more of the large pretzels compared to the small and medium pretzels. respectively. Pretzel size also affected eating speed and bite size, with the largest pretzel yielding the fastest eating speed and largest average bite size.

The researchers also reported that, after accounting for eating behavior, pretzel size alone did not significantly affect how much someone ate, indicating that the eating behavior induced by the different pretzel sizes drove the total intake . Their results suggest that a larger pretzel prompts a person to eat faster and take larger bites.

Together, these findings indicate that unit size influences intake by influencing eating behavior and show that food characteristics such as unit size can be used to moderate snack intake, said corresponding author John Hayes, professor of nutritional sciences and director of the Penn State Sensory Evaluation. Centre.

“The study suggests that food structure (texture, size and shape) can be used to modulate eating behavior and food intake,” he said. “Food geometry, especially unit size, is of particular use for snack foods. We are interested in how the material properties of foods can be exploited to help people eat less without affecting their enjoyment.”

The relationship between pretzel size and sodium intake was obvious but previously overlooked, noted Madeline Harper, a graduate student in nutritional sciences and lead author of the study. She explained that eating more smaller pretzels will likely result in higher sodium consumption. The smaller size has more surface area for the same weight, so the researchers hypothesize that more total salt on the surface area means a snacker would consume more sodium when eating them.

“So we’re suggesting that if you’re trying to watch your calorie intake or trying to reduce the amount you eat as a snack, a smaller pretzel might better meet your needs, because of the inherent way the size of the pretzel affects on your eating speed,” she said.

“But if you are more concerned about high blood pressure or the amount of sodium you consume, the larger pretzel may be better for you because you will consume less sodium with that treatment, even though you may be consuming more ounces of pretzel.”

More information:
Madeline M. Harper et al., Unit size influences ad libitum intake in a snacking context via eating rate, Pull (2024). DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2024.107300

Provided by Pennsylvania State University

Quote: Study shows pretzel size influences intake by determining how fast a person eats and how large their bites are (2024, April 8), retrieved April 9, 2024 from -04-pretzel-size-affects -intake-snel.html

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