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We’re more likely to overeat when foods are considered snacks rather than meals, according to a study of 80 people at the University of Surrey in the UK, where appetite for candy was compared after people ate pasta. Even though all pasta dishes were identical, some were labelled as snacks, came in a plastic dish with a plastic fork, and were eaten while standing, while others were labelled as meals and were eaten off a ceramic plate with a real fork, sitting at a table. When offered candy afterward, those who had the snack version ate up to twice as much.
“Those who are consuming snacks are more likely to overeat as they may not realize or even remember what they have eaten,” says lead study author Jane Ogden, PhD. She recommends:
- Eat food as a meal rather than a snack.
- Sit down when eating.
- Pay attention to the food instead of other activities.