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expert reaction to Cochrane review looking at portion size and consumption of food and drink

Researchers writing in The Cochrane Library journal have published their meta-analysis focusing on multiple studies which look at packaging, shape or size of portions of food, alcohol or tobacco or the instruments used to consume them. They report higher consumption levels when larger portions, packaging or tableware were on offer.


Prof. Brian Ratcliffe, Emeritus Professor of Nutrition, Robert Gordon University, said:

“This review was conducted using standard methods that comply with the Cochrane protocol. It provides evidence to support what might seem to be a self-evident truth that serving larger portions leads to greater levels of consumption, and the effect seems to be more pronounced in adults than children. Presumably related to a lack of effective self-restraint, people seem to be reluctant to leave or waste food and so consume what they are served or find larger portions more attractive. The authors conclude that the effects are modest, nevertheless, changing portion sizes or offering a range of them could help people to control their food intakes and reduce the risks of becoming overweight or obese. A limited number of restaurants and food outlets already offer more than one portion size with appropriate pricing differentials and this seems to be a way forward to help people to avoid overconsumption.”


‘Portion, package or tableware size for changing selection and consumption of food, alcohol and tobacco (Review)’ by Hollands GJ et al. published in The Cochrane Library on Monday 14 September 2015. 


Declared interests

Prof. Brian Ratcliffe: “I have no conflicts of interest or commercial interests in this or related areas.”

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