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The Houston Chronicle reports on a University of Pennsylvania study saying that people tend to eat what’s available and what they’re given – which is at least one explanation for why people tend to get super-sized from eating super-sized portions.

It is what researchers call a “unit bias” – people thinking that a single unit of food or drink, no matter how big or small, is actually a single serving. When, in fact, this often is anything but correct.

Among the examples cited by researchers:

• “Yogurt containers in French supermarkets are a bit more than half the size of their American counterparts. Yet French shoppers don't make up the difference by eating more containers of the stuff.”

• In one experiment, researchers “put a large bowl with a pound of M&Ms in the lobby of an upscale apartment building with a sign: ‘Eat Your Fill ... please use the spoon to serve yourself.’ The candy was left out through the day for 10 days, sometimes with a spoon that held a quarter-cup, and other times with a tablespoon. Sure enough, people consistently took more M&Ms on days when the bigger scoop was provided, about two-thirds more on average than when the spoon was present.”
KC's View:
This study would seem to contradict research surrounding the new 100-calorie packs that have become so popular, which has suggested that a lot of people are actually eating two or three of them rather than only eating one.