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 (944 Responses)
  1. 4 bedroom houses for sale near me

    http://2ch.io/meganleary.com

    May 15, 2021 at 16:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Maserati Car

    Your style is very unique in comparison to other folks I've read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I'll just book mark this blog.

    http://aps.sn/spip.php?page=clic&id_publicite=366&id_banniere=6&from=/actualites/sports/lutte/article/modou-lo-lac-de-guiers-2-l-autre-enjeu&redirect=https://club-maserati.com

    May 15, 2021 at 18:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Internet Marketing Mechanics

    I’m amazed, I have to admit. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both equally educative and entertaining, and without a doubt, you've hit the nail on the head. The problem is something not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about. Now i'm very happy I stumbled across this in my hunt for something relating to this.

    https://www.audio-iwasaki.com/ys4/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=1551&url=https://www.whatisdisplayadvertising.com

    May 15, 2021 at 19:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Social Media Marketing Help Near Me

    http://sports-ranking.com/search/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=7&url=http://internetmarketingwashington.com/

    May 15, 2021 at 20:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Video Marketing Maker

    https://www.jyotu.net/modules/wordpress/wp-ktai.php?view=redir&url=https://www.affordableranking.com

    May 15, 2021 at 22:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Seo Marketing Job

    http://isixsigma.com/share.php?site=http://www.affordableranking.com/

    May 15, 2021 at 22:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Social Media Marketing Business

    Can I simply say what a comfort to discover an individual who actually understands what they are talking about online. You actually understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised that you are not more popular because you surely have the gift.

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

    May 15, 2021 at 22:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Seo Marketing Companies Near Me

    http://momsarchive.com/cgi-bin/a2/out.cgi?id=169&u=http://www.affordableranking.com

    May 16, 2021 at 00:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Local Marketing Association Near Me

    Hello there! This article couldn’t be written much better! Looking through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept preaching about this. I'll send this information to him. Fairly certain he will have a very good read. Many thanks for sharing!

    http://www.poetree.ru/go?https://affordableranking.com

    May 16, 2021 at 04:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Internet Marketing Companies Irvine

    Spot on with this write-up, I seriously feel this website needs a lot more attention. I’ll probably be back again to read more, thanks for the advice!

    https://vizioshop.com/?sajt=1322&redir=http://affordableranking.com

    May 16, 2021 at 05:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Social Media Marketing Specialist Near Me

    Good blog you've got here.. It’s hard to find quality writing like yours nowadays. I honestly appreciate people like you! Take care!!

    http://www.puresensation.co.uk/guestbook/go.php?url=http://www.affordableranking.com

    May 16, 2021 at 06:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. AnooEncox

    viagra za i przeciw http://llviagra.com/ can you take viagra with lithium

    May 16, 2021 at 06:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Sprinter Broken Flex Pipe Repair

    I enjoy reading a post that can make men and women think. Also, thanks for allowing for me to comment!

    http://www.flash.wakunavi.net/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=333&url=https://thewaydownwanderers.com/blogs/wandering-stories-from-the-road/posts/7-29-15-columbia-missouri-rose-music-hall-after-spending

    May 16, 2021 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. anything rv service center

    http://singhui.com/uchome/link.php?url=https://mock-c.com/ecsite/全国ネットshopグランプリ/

    May 16, 2021 at 12:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. AnooEncox

    si una mujer toma viagra que le pasa http://llviagra.com/ how much does viagra increase size

    May 16, 2021 at 12:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Mercedes Sprinter Diesel Repair Near Me

    Hi! I just wish to give you a huge thumbs up for the great information you have got here on this post. I am returning to your site for more soon.

    http://rs.rikkyo.ac.jp/rs/error/ApplicationError.aspx?TopURL=https://ingenieurleistungenreiter.com/index.php?option=com_phocaguestbook&view=phocaguestbook&id=1&Itemid=4&t=140?&limitstart=62020

    May 16, 2021 at 12:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Release Clip Repair On Mercedes Sprinter Seat

    http://www.tces.hlc.edu.tw/dyna/netlink/hits.php?id=140&url=https://boxtruckrepairshop.com/cargo-van-conversion-shop-near-me/

    May 16, 2021 at 13:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Repair Sprinter Seat

    I really like it when individuals get together and share opinions. Great website, continue the good work!

    https://aidenpan.com/home/link.php?url=https://fleetservicesorangecounty.com/semi-truck-upholstery-shop-near-me

    May 16, 2021 at 19:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Best Diesel Sprinter Repair Service

    http://action.ae911truth.org/dia/logout.jsp?killorg=50694&redirect=http://boxtruckrepairshop.com/services

    May 16, 2021 at 20:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Maserati Grand Turismo Review

    I really like reading an article that will make people think. Also, many thanks for permitting me to comment!

    https://caroleannbrown.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=club-maserati.com

    May 16, 2021 at 21:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Sprinter Van Repair Near Me

    Spot on with this write-up, I absolutely think this site needs far more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the information!

    http://www.bigtimesportsohio.com/Redirect.aspx?destination=https://fleetservicerepairshop.com/sprinter-van-upgrades-shop-near-me/

    May 16, 2021 at 21:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. stornobrzinol

    I am now not sure the place you're getting your info, however great topic. I needs to spend some time studying much more or working out more. Thank you for fantastic info I was looking for this info for my mission.

    http://www.stornobrzinol.com/

    May 16, 2021 at 23:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Sprinter Repair Shops

    https://email.ratemyagent.com.au/Email/RedirectToURL?url=http://fleetservicesorangecounty.com/restoration-shop-near-me

    May 17, 2021 at 02:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. 2006 Sprinter Fuel Pump Repair

    I love it whenever people come together and share thoughts. Great site, continue the good work!

    http://ibar.cc/link.php?url=https://sprintervanrepairshop.com/rv-collision-repair-shop-near-me/

    May 17, 2021 at 03:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Service B Mercedes Sprinter

    Everything is very open with a really clear explanation of the issues. It was definitely informative. Your site is useful. Thanks for sharing!

    https://m.yimiaotui.com/index/index/jump?url=http://fleetrepairshops.com/van-mechanic-shop-near-me

    May 17, 2021 at 06:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Sprinter Service Repair

    Hey there! I simply wish to offer you a big thumbs up for the great information you have here on this post. I'll be returning to your site for more soon.

    http://x.webdo.cc/global_outurl.php?now_url=http://sprintervanrepairshop.com/ram-high-top-van-repair-shop-near-me

    May 17, 2021 at 06:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Dodge Sprinter Vacuum Pump Repair

    http://media.vol.at/weiterleitung/redirect.asp?id=http://fleetservicerepairshop.com/mercedes-camper-van-repair-shop-near-me

    May 17, 2021 at 06:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Sprinter Service Repair

    There's definately a lot to know about this issue. I love all the points you made.

    https://sc.devb.gov.hk/TuniS/fleetrepairshops.com/van-body-shop-near-me

    May 17, 2021 at 08:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. rv restoration near me

    http://www.cs.odu.edu/~mln/teaching/cs518-f08/?method=display&redirect=http://www.resonantmind.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9097

    May 17, 2021 at 13:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. RebfZisse

    generic cialis for sale http://rcialisgl.com/ – cialis and viagra taken together cheap cialis pills uk

    May 17, 2021 at 21:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. LbsoZisse

    what is cialis black http://ucialisdas.com/ – buy cialis online overnight delivery dapoxetine and cialis

    May 18, 2021 at 03:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. tires orange county

    http://parkcities.bubblelife.com/click/c3592/?url=https://ocrvcenter.com

    May 18, 2021 at 03:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. local rv repair shops

    http://www.ktpusan.com/NEW/bin/search/jump.php?url=https://ocrvcenter.com/

    May 18, 2021 at 09:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. FmrfEncox

    cialis online without prescription http://cialisee.com/ top web source for cialis

    May 18, 2021 at 11:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Family Dentist

    https://www.zlatestranky.cz/Cookies/Disagree?returnUrl=https://getdentalimplantsnearme.com

    May 18, 2021 at 14:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. 2019 Maserati Ghibli Configurations

    This website was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something that helped me. Thank you!

    http://www.preissuchmaschine.de/link.asp?url=https://maseratis.net

    May 18, 2021 at 15:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Nearest Dentists

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this post and also the rest of the site is very good.

    http://home.guanzhuang.org/link.php?url=newportcenterdentalgroup.com

    May 18, 2021 at 17:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Best Oral Surgeons Near Me

    http://dort.brontosaurus.cz/forum/go.php?url=https://newportcenterdentalgroup.com/

    May 18, 2021 at 18:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. stacker energy pills

    https://error404.atomseo.com/away?to=http://hootnholler.net/

    May 18, 2021 at 22:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. 2017 Maserati Granturismo

    https://www.joblinkapply.com/Joblink/5972/Account/ChangeLanguage?lang=es-MX&returnUrl=http://maseratis.net/

    May 18, 2021 at 22:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. safe energy pills

    Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon everyday. It will always be interesting to read articles from other authors and practice a little something from their web sites.

    http://www.s-school.com/toyo/1/yomi-search/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=62&url=http://www.gopepp.com

    May 18, 2021 at 22:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Google Marketing Consultant

    There's definately a great deal to learn about this topic. I really like all the points you've made.

    https://www.sns.51.ca/link.php?url=https://webdesignpostfalls.com/

    May 18, 2021 at 23:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. 2019 Maserati Quattroporte Gts Gransport

    http://refer.ccbill.com/cgi-bin/clicks.cgi?CA=928532-0000&PA=2298149&HTML=http://maseratis.net/

    May 19, 2021 at 00:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Prices For Maserati

    http://www.10lowkey.us/UCH/link.php?url=https://maseratiforum.net/

    May 19, 2021 at 00:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Dharti Bandhani

    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful post with us.

    https://dhartibandhani.com

    May 19, 2021 at 01:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Optomitrists Near Me

    http://s-school.com/toyo/1/yomi-search/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=62&url=https://arizonasvision.com/

    May 19, 2021 at 04:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Digital Marketing Programs

    Very good write-up. I absolutely love this website. Keep it up!

    https://www.smartsupp.com/affiliate/click?id=1124&url=https://postfallsmarketing.com/

    May 19, 2021 at 04:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Eye Exam Cost Near Me

    http://www.sweetcotton.com/osanpo/search/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=1154&url=https://sunglasseseyedoctorsoptometristphoenixaz.com

    May 19, 2021 at 05:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. LebnEncox

    australia online pharmacy free shipping http://xlnpharmacy.com/ Isoptin SR

    May 19, 2021 at 07:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Silver Maserati

    http://www.cbs.co.kr/proxy/banner_click.asp?pos_code=HOMPY1920&group_num=2&num=2&url=https://maseratiforum.net/

    May 19, 2021 at 08:08 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Post a comment


 

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.