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Table 1 Studies into the effects of portion size on food intake

From: Portion size: review and framework for interventions

First author, year (reference) Study design Respondents Type of food Main outcome
Diliberti,2004 [12] Between subjects, parallel group design, with two different portion sizes (100%a, 152%) Cafeteria visitors at a university campus, n = 180 Baked pasta in cheese sauce (54% fat, energy density 1.7 kcal/g) -Increased energy intake when served a larger portion, 43% more (172 kcal)
-Overall extra energy intake of entire meal 25% (172 kcal)
Fisher, 2007 [13] Within subjects cross over design, with two different portion sizes (100%a, 200%) Low income Hispanic and African American mothers, n = 58 Macaroni & cheese (1.51 kcal/g), apple juice (0.47 kcal/g), crackers (4.62 kcal.g), chicken (1.73–2.42 kcal/g), rice (0.8 kcal/g), cereal (4.0 kcal/g) -Increased energy intake when served a larger portion, 21% more (270 kcal), over 24 hour period
Flood, 2006 [14] Within subjects cross over design, with two different portion sizes (100%a, 150%) (and three different beverages) Adults, n = 33 (aged 18–45) Beverages (regular cola (0.4 kcal/g), diet cola, water) -Increased beverage intake when served a larger portion, 10% more for women, 26% for men (regular cola)
Kral, 2004 [15] Within subjects cross over design, with three different portion sizes (100%a, 140%, 180%) (and three different energy densities) Women (aged 20–45), n = 39 Italian pasta bake (25% fat, 60% carbohydrate, 15% protein, 1.25 kcal/g–1.75 kcal/g) -Increased food intake when served a larger portion, 20% more food intake when served the largest portion compared to the smallest portion
-Combined effect with energy density: 56% more energy intake when served the largest higher energy dense portion compared to the smallest lower energy dense portion (225 kcal)
Raynor, 2007 [16] Random 2(small amount or large amount, 100%a, 200%) × 2 (small unit or large unit) between subjects design Adults (aged 18–30), n = 28 Potato chips, cheese crackers, cookies, candy -Increased energy intake when served a larger portion, 81% (2246 kcal), over three day period
-No effect of package unit size
Rolls, 2002 [17] Within subjects cross over design, with four different portion sizes (100%a,125%, 150%, 200%) Adults (aged 21–40), n = 51 Macaroni & cheese (1.63 kcal/g) -Increased energy intake when served a larger portion (resp. 12% more (64 kcal), 19% more (105 kcal), and 30% more (161 kcal)
Rolls, 2004 [18] Within subjects cross over design, with five different portion sizes (100%a, 150%, 204%, 357%, 507%) Adults (aged 20–45), n = 60 Potato chips (5.4 kcal/g) -Increased energy intake when served a larger portion, 184 kcal more for women when comparing largest vs smallest portion, for men 311 kcal
-No short term compensation at dinner
Rolls, 2004 [19] Within subjects cross over design, with four different portion sizes (100%a, 134%, 167%, 200%) Adults (aged 20–45), n = 75 Deli-style sandwich, (2.4 kcal/g) -Increased energy intake when served a larger portion, 31% more for women when comparing largest vs smallest portion(159 kcal), for men 56% more (355 kcal)
Rolls, 2006 [20] Within subjects cross over design, with three different portion sizes (100%a, 150%, 200%) Adults (aged 19–45), n = 32 Complete daily menu (varying from 0.2 kcal/g (vegetable side dish) to 5.5 kcal/g (snack foods) -Increased energy intake when served larger portions, for all food categories, resp. 16% more (women 335 kcal/day, men 504 kcal/day) and 26% more (women 530 kcal/day, men 812 kcal/day)
-No compensation over two day time period
Rolls, 2007 [21] Within subjects cross over design, with two different portion sizes (100%a, 150%) Adults (aged 20–40), n = 23 Complete daily menu, each day different -Increased energy intake when served larger portions, for all food categories except fruit as afternoon snack and vegetables, average increase in energy intake 423 kcal/day
-No compensation over 11-day time period
Wansink, 2001 [22] 2 (medium or large container, 100%a, 200%) × 2(perceived favourable vs unfavourable taste) between subjects design Moviegoers (aged 11–89), n = 151 Popcorn -Increased food intake when served a larger portion, for both perceived favourable and unfavourable taste, 53% more
Wansink, 2005 [23] Random 2 (medium or large container, 100%a, 200%, × 2 (fresh or stale) between subjects design Adult moviegoers, n = 158 Fresh and stale popcorn -Increased food intake when served a larger portion, for both fresh and stale popcorn, resp. 45% and 34%
Wansink, 2005 [24] Random between subjects, parallel group design (normal bowl vs self refilling bowl) Adults (ages 18–46), n = Soup -Increased energy intake when served a larger portion without accurate visual cue, 73% more (113 kcal)
  1. a smallest portion is referred to as 100%