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Crinkled plate may be new method for weight loss

A new crinkled plate, designed graphic designer Nauris Cinovics at the Art Academy of Latvia, has been suggested as a method of weight loss and reduced food intake.

The plate was presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Porto, Portugal, as a possible variable in reducing the weight of the 30 per cent of the world’s population who are obese.

Cinovics told The Guardian: “My idea is to make food appear bigger than it is. If you make the plate three-dimensional [with the ridges and troughs] it actually looks like there is the same amount of food as on a normal plate—but there is less of it.”

The plate is made of clear glass, and although it looks the same as a normal plate from above, it has ridges and troughs, which reduces the amount of food that can be piled onto it.

In addition to holding less food, it is suggested that the speed of eating will be slowed down as people navigate the troughs and ridges.

Professor Charles Spence is a behavioural psychologist at Somerville college, who specialises in the perception of food and taste. Spence’s book Gastrophysics: The New Science of Eating reveals the importance of the “off-the-plate” elements of a meal, such as the weight of the cutlery, the placing on the plate, the background music, and more.

Many things can influence perceptions of how much one has eaten and what it tastes like. For example, Spence’s research has indicated that “sweet” tastes are better expressed by means of rounded shapes, typefaces, and names, and low-pitched sounds.

Spence told the Cherwell: “[this wavy plate] certainly fits well with the literature suggesting that using smaller plates tricks brain into thinking that there is more food.”

The Smaller Plate Study is a famous study conducted by Dr Brian Wansink and Dr Koert van Ittersum which indicated that people eat less when eating off of a ten inch diameter plate as compared to a plate of twelve inches in diameter, without having an effect on perceived fullness or satisfaction.

“That said, there is a fine line between effortlessly nudging people toward eating less and making it difficult to eat, which trying to retrieve your food from between the cracks might turn out to be,” said Spence.

Professor Susan Jebb is a professor of diet and population health at the Nuffield department of primary care health sciences. She told the Cherwell that the new plate is an interesting idea to reduce food intake and portion size.

However, she added “before we start recommending this we need evidence from a study that shows people really do eat less overall and don’t compensate for smaller meals with more snacks.”

Cinovics is planning on testing the plate in a trial soon, and if the results are significant, we may all see crinkled plates in our households soon.

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