home
RSS
Micro-size me, please!
February 9th, 2012
11:39 AM ET

Micro-size me, please!

How many times have you been to the movie theater, ordered a regular-sized popcorn or soda and been asked, “Would you like a large for a quarter more?” What about ordering a sandwich at your local deli? "Make it a combo!" you probably say.

We’re trained early on, oftentimes by our parents, to clean our plates or no dessert. Frequently, regardless of how hungry we are, that’s exactly what we’ll do. 

Sure, the medium-sized popcorn would’ve been entirely satisfying, but if offered the larger portion, we’re going to take it and eat it – all of it.

This phenomenon, in part, is was what sparked a series of studies conducted at a fast-food Chinese restaurant on Tulane’s New Orleans campus.

The researchers conclude, in a study published in this month’s Health Affairs,  that up to one-third of customers accepted a verbal offer to downsize their lunch, regardless of whether they were offered a minor monetary incentive to do so. Customers who accepted the downsized meals ate, on average, 200 fewer calories than did those who ordered the full-sized meals.

The truth of the matter is this: most Americans overeat, particularly the bad stuff. Recent attempts to list calories at chain and fast-food restaurants hasn’t seemed to make much of a difference as to what consumers actually order once they reach the register.

Furthermore, research by Brian Wansink, the author of “Mindless Eating,” suggests that people tend to feel satiated only when their plates are empty, regardless of how much food is actually served. Additional evidence from other studies confirms the notion that much of our overeating is due to mindless consumption. 

This is all to say that ordering food in any type of restaurant has become an automatic behavior. It’s something we do so often, in fact, that we follow what behavioral scientists call a script.

“Stopping people while they order can disrupt the expected flow and activate self-control in an environment where it may otherwise be unlikely to be activated or is absent from consumers’ minds,” write the studies’ authors.

This awareness can mean a major difference in the amount of calories consumed. Take a McDonald’s Big Mac “value meal” for example. A Big Mac, small fries and small Coke adds up to 920 calories (according to McDonald's website). A Big Mac, large fries and large Coke, on the other hand, adds up to 1,350 calories, nearly 1.5 times the amount of the smaller, more sensible option.

"People want to feel like they're getting their money's worth," says CNN Eatocracy's Managing Editor Kat Kinsman. "If you get more food, you'll feel obligated to eat it, even if you don't want it."

The studies' authors hope that, in the future, consumers will consider "downsizing" just as often as "supersizing,"  though they suggest referring to the practice as "rightsizing."

"Such a term could suggest and reinforce the more appropriate norm. For example, while the term ‘downsize’ is somewhat negative and emphasizes reduced amounts, the term ‘rightsize’ is more positive and emphasizes the optimal quality,” according to the Health Affairs report. 

Still, in the end, "a smaller portion of not-great-for-you food is still you eating not-great-for-you food," says Kinsman. "I would gladly take a massive portion of something that's good for me. I would super-size those Brussels sprouts every single time."


soundoff (1,082 Responses)
  1. RfvbZisse

    buy generic cialis http://cileve.com/ – generic cialis best price cialis professional wikipedia

    May 2, 2021 at 20:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. FbsfEncox

    Flexeril https://uspharmus.com/ Baclofen

    May 3, 2021 at 02:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. dolquine

    chloroquine natural sources https://chloroquineorigin.com/ choloriquine

    May 3, 2021 at 15:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. GtnbCrulk

    does viagra raise your blood pressure http://jokviagra.com/ viagra samples walgreens

    May 4, 2021 at 13:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. purpose training

    https://www.allthingscfnm.net/cfnm.php?url=https://realchrisburns.com

    May 4, 2021 at 15:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. hino flatbed truck

    https://maps.google.ee/url?sa=i&rct=j&url=https://ocrvfleetservices.com

    May 4, 2021 at 17:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. RebfZisse

    canadian cialis for sale http://rcialisgl.com/ cialis no prescription

    May 4, 2021 at 20:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. FmrfEncox

    generi cialis http://cialisee.com/ cialis australia online stores

    May 4, 2021 at 22:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. LbsoZisse

    buy cheap cialis https://ucialisdas.com/ cialis 20

    May 5, 2021 at 01:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. adhd online training

    Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon every day. It's always useful to read through articles from other writers and practice something from other web sites.

    https://google.cat/url?sa=i&rct=j&url=https://menmastermind.com

    May 5, 2021 at 01:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. aika online private server source

    https://clients1.google.com.kw/url?q=j&rct=j&url=https://aikareborn.com

    May 5, 2021 at 02:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. aika online private server download

    Aw, this was an exceptionally good post. Spending some time and actual effort to create a good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a lot and never manage to get anything done.

    http://www.lighthouseangels.net/cgi-bin/at3/out.cgi?id=1381&tag=toplist&trade=https://aikareborn.com

    May 5, 2021 at 04:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. aika online private servers

    http://www.noda-salon.com/feed2js/feed2js.php?src=https://www.aikareborn.com

    May 5, 2021 at 06:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. LebnEncox

    drugs online http://xlnpharmacy.com/ eye drop

    May 5, 2021 at 07:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. chase orange county

    The next time I read a blog, Hopefully it won't fail me as much as this one. After all, I know it was my choice to read through, but I truly believed you would have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something you can fix if you weren't too busy looking for attention.

    http://www.logisticsintegration.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.fleettruckrepairshop.com

    May 5, 2021 at 07:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. coachmen cross trek

    Your style is so unique compared to other people I have read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I'll just bookmark this page.

    https://google.com.ec/url?sa=i&rct=j&url=https3A2F2Ffleetservicesocrv.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 5, 2021 at 10:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. mercedes sprinter camper van

    https://s-pom.ru/bitrix/rk.php?goto=http3A2F2Ffleetrepairshops.com

    May 5, 2021 at 13:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. LbsoZisse

    generic cialis 20mg x 15 tabs http://ucialisdas.com/ buy cialis with prescription australia

    May 5, 2021 at 14:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. BbshMile

    viagra canadian pharmacy ezzz https://loxviagra.com/ chinese herb viagra

    May 5, 2021 at 16:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. laundromat near me

    I truly love your blog.. Great colors & theme. Did you make this web site yourself? Please reply back as I’m attempting to create my own personal blog and would love to know where you got this from or just what the theme is called. Thanks!

    https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/s?action=doLogout&rurl=http://ocrv.club

    May 5, 2021 at 20:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. beyond orange county

    You should be a part of a contest for one of the highest quality sites online. I will highly recommend this site!

    https://maps.google.as/url?sa=j&source=web&rct=j&url=https3A2F2Ffleetservicesorangecounty.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 5, 2021 at 21:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. JebgEncox

    good pharmacy Myambutol prescription drugs prices

    May 6, 2021 at 05:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. FmrfEncox

    generic cialis professional https://cialisee.com/ – buy cialis canada paypal i need cialis overnight

    May 6, 2021 at 07:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Vision Center

    Pretty! This was an extremely wonderful post. Thank you for providing this information.

    https://cse.google.co.ck/url?sa=j&rct=j&url=https://bettersightovernight.com

    May 6, 2021 at 08:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. smoking a one hitter

    Merchant Accounts For Trực Tuyến Smoke Shops|Best Online Headshop 2021|#1 Trực Tuyến Headshop|Zerona Smoke Shop|Denver's Premier Smoke Cửa Hàng reddit vaporizer smartphone app, you can find everything you need to know on the #DopeBoo blog. The problem with most trực tuyến head shops is they’re only the middlemen for other sellers. Everything you see here is from a genuine online smoke shop staffed by a professional team of experts who use the same products you do.|We've made the world's best smoke cửa hàng with only the best bongs, vapes, and dab rigs. They all of the new and hottest brands, our new favorite being Mathematix Glass. They stock a long list of American made glass and offer không tính phí U.S. shipping on all products. Another plus is that their hassle-free returns and customer service are remarkable.

    https://pilotdiarystore.com/

    May 6, 2021 at 08:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. peterbilt utility truck

    https://maps.google.com.mm/url?sa=j&source=web&rct=j&url=https://boxtruckrepairshop.com

    May 6, 2021 at 08:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. priligy

    priligy dapoxetine 100 mg

    May 6, 2021 at 09:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. GtnbCrulk

    how much is viagra at walmart http://jokviagra.com/ – buying viagra online without prescription best over the counter viagra

    May 6, 2021 at 10:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. attractions near me

    May I simply just say what a relief to discover an individual who really knows what they're discussing on the internet. You definitely know how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people must look at this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised you are not more popular since you most certainly have the gift.

    https://www.webarre.com/location.php?loc=hk¤t=https://lifeboosterpack.com

    May 6, 2021 at 14:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Forklift For Sale California

    I really like it when individuals come together and share thoughts. Great site, continue the good work!

    http://google.ge/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://commercialforklifts.com

    May 6, 2021 at 14:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. BbshMile

    viagra women http://loxviagra.com/ – what does a viagra pill look like viagra u.s.a

    May 6, 2021 at 16:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. mattress near me

    I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Exceptionally well written!

    http://shop-rank.com/01-09/rl_out.cgi?id=atorie&url=http://bikecraze.com

    May 6, 2021 at 17:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. box truck repair parts

    Hi, I do believe this is a great web site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I may revisit yet again since i have book-marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide others.

    http://www.nsfwyoutube.com/watch?v=3C56ArglU_8

    May 6, 2021 at 17:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. New Forklifts

    https://reppeat.com/watch/?v=h8HNNFmhuMc

    May 6, 2021 at 18:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Beer Idaho

    Excellent post. I am experiencing some of these issues as well..

    https://images.google.co.kr/url?sa=i&source=web&rct=j&url=https3A2F2Fcraftbrewersofboise.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 6, 2021 at 18:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. RebfZisse

    how long does cialis last http://rcialisgl.com/ generic cialis online purchase

    May 6, 2021 at 21:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Forklift Dealer Near Me

    http://image.google.com.bd/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://commercialforklifts.com

    May 6, 2021 at 23:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. LebnEncox

    Gyne-Lotrimin http://xlnpharmacy.com/ reputable indian pharmacies

    May 7, 2021 at 04:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. furniture near me

    Very good post. I certainly love this website. Continue the good work!

    http://www.zhipu360.com/uch/link.php?url=https://searchinteraction.com

    May 7, 2021 at 04:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. store xnxx

    It’s nearly impossible to find educated people in this particular topic, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

    https://www.funnycat.tv/video/watch/s7P4vfK4L0w

    May 7, 2021 at 07:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Forklift Repair Los Angeles

    You have made some decent points there. I checked on the net for more info about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.

    https://trendtube.wdeco.jp/playlist/shadowbox/?dZ-KvRhE3qU

    May 7, 2021 at 09:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Brewing Companies

    http://jurisearch.com/link.asp?url=https://craftbrewersofboise.com

    May 7, 2021 at 09:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. JebgEncox

    best drugstore eyebrow pencil online medicine tablets shopping Myambutol

    May 7, 2021 at 10:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. chinese restaurant near me

    http://www.reservations-page.com/linktracking/linktracking.ashx?trackingid=TRACKING_ID&mcid=&url=http://www.nearmyspot.com

    May 7, 2021 at 15:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. remodeling motorhome interior

    http://www.uvioo.com/watch/?m=felixdu073&so=yt&v=6jqOiQ3ZOgU

    May 7, 2021 at 20:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Social Media Marketing Companies

    I was extremely pleased to discover this web site. I want to to thank you for ones time due to this wonderful read!! I definitely savored every little bit of it and I have you book marked to look at new information on your site.

    http://evangelisminsights.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 7, 2021 at 23:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. monrovia collision center

    I blog often and I truly appreciate your information. This article has truly peaked my interest. I'm going to book mark your blog and keep checking for new information about once a week. I opted in for your Feed too.

    http://ayso769.org/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrvcenter.com

    May 8, 2021 at 00:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Social Media Marketing Job

    https://monroe-court.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 00:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Digital Marketing Jobs

    An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a friend who has been conducting a little homework on this. And he actually bought me dinner simply because I discovered it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to discuss this subject here on your web site.

    https://jecustom.com/index.php?cmd=Cell&cell=Links&act=Redirect&url=https://affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 01:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Digital Marketing Firm

    http://hannahlent.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 02:47 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Leave a Reply to Tommie Birenbaum


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.