Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Understanding the science of portion control and the art of downsizing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Author(s)

Marion Hetherington, Pam Blundell-Birtill, Samantha Caton, Joanne E. Cecil, Charlotte Evans, Barbara Rolls, Tang Tang

School/Research organisations

Abstract

Offering large portions of high-energy-dense (HED) foods increases overall intake in children and adults. This is known as the portion size effect (PSE). It is robust, reliable and enduring. Over time, the PSE may facilitate overeating and ultimately positive energy balance. Therefore, it is important to understand what drives the PSE and what might be done to counter the effects of an environment promoting large portions, especially in children. Explanations for the PSE are many and diverse, ranging from consumer error in estimating portion size to simple heuristics such as cleaning the plate or eating in accordance with consumption norms. However, individual characteristics and hedonic processes influence the PSE, suggesting a more complex explanation than error or heuristics. Here PSE studies are reviewed to identify interventions that can be used to downsize portions of HED foods, with a focus on children who are still learning about social norms for portion size. Although the scientific evidence for the PSE is robust, there is still a need for creative downsizing solutions to facilitate portion control as children and adolescents establish their eating habits.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Nutrition Society
VolumeFirst View
Early online date24 May 2018
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 May 2018

    Research areas

  • Portion size, Food intake, Children, Adolescents, Energy density

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. The effect of food type on the portion size effect in children aged 2-12 years: a systematic review and meta-analysis

    Reale, S., Hamilton, J., Akparibo, R., Hetherington, M., Cecil, J. E. & Caton, S., 16 Feb 2019, In : Appetite. 137, p. 47-61

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  2. Can reduced intake associated with downsizing of a high energy dense meal item be offset by increased vegetable variety in 3-5-year-old children?

    Carstairs, S. A., Caton, S. J., Blundell-Birtill, P., Rolls, B. J., Hetherington, M. M. & Cecil, J. E., 3 Dec 2018, In : Nutrients. 10, 12, 15 p., 1879.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. The feasibility and acceptability of two methods of snack portion control in United Kingdom (UK) preschool children: reduction and replacement

    Reale, S., Kearney, C., Hetherington, M., Croden, F., Cecil, J. E., Carstairs, S. A., Rolls, B. & Caton, S., 12 Oct 2018, In : Nutrients. 10, 10, 25 p., 1493.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Dietary patterns of university students in the UK: a multi-centre, cross-sectional study

    Sprake, E., Russell, J., Cecil, J. E., Cooper, R., Grabowski, P., Pourshahidi, L. & Barker, M. E., 5 Oct 2018, In : Nutrition Journal . 17, 90.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Downsizing meal items in pre-schoolers using variety

    Cecil, J. E., Carstairs, S., Caton, S., Blundell-Birtill, P., Rolls, B. & Hetherington, M. M., 1 Apr 2018, In : Appetite. 123, p. 460

    Research output: Contribution to journalAbstract

Related by journal

  1. Preliminary results of a randomised controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy of a dietary and physical activity intervention in prostate cancer patients receiving androgen deprivation therapy

    Haseen, F., O'Neill, RF., Murray, L., O'Sullivan, JM. & Cantwell, M., 1 Aug 2011, In : Proceedings of the Nutrition Society . 70 , OCE1, p. E20

    Research output: Contribution to journalAbstract

  2. A randomised controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy of a 6-month dietary and physical activity intervention for prostate cancer patients receiving androgen deprivation therapy: midpoint analysis

    Haseen, F., Murray, L. J., O'Neill, R. F., O'Sullivan, J. M. & Cantwell, M. M., Jan 2010, In : Proceedings of the Nutrition Society . 69, OCE5, p. E359

    Research output: Contribution to journalAbstract

  3. Investigation of the relationship between perceived stress and cholesterol in healthy volunteers

    Wong, V., Ritchie, M. R., Mackinnon, L. J., Gates, S. E. E., Gilmour, A., Ravishankar, A., Ramnarine, S. & Gibbs, T. J., 2007, In : Proceedings of the Nutrition Society . 66, 1 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Monitoring phyto-oestrogen exposure in patients with breast cancer after diagnosis

    Gilmour, A., Ritchie, M. R., Mackinnon, L. J., Wong, V., Charlton, C., Steel, C. M., Gates, S. E. E., Smith, J. & Gibbs, T. J., 2007, In : Proceedings of the Nutrition Society . 66, p. 31A-31A 1 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 252973571