Research by Dr. Brian Wansink and his coauthors has empirically and scientifically validated results related to consumption that enables confident promotion of ways people can enjoy all food, but in smaller amounts. Based on findings found in the book Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, the Small Plate Movement™ continues the promotion of consumer awareness in regards to food intake. In particular, the Small Plate Movement™ promotes utilizing 10" diameter plates to decrease the amount of food people eat, without having an effect on their perceived fullness or satisfaction.
A person tends to over-serve onto larger plates, and because people consume an average of 92% of what they serve themselves, larger plates lead to larger food intake. A two inch difference in plate diameter — from 12" to 10" plates — would result in 22% fewer calories being served, yet it is not drastic enough to trigger a counteracting response. If a typical dinner has 800 calories, a smaller plate would lead to a weight loss of around 18 pounds per year for an average size adult.
The movement will include a collective weight loss goal, entitled the Small Plate Challenge. We will challenge participants to eat off of a 10" plate for their largest meal of each day for one month. The Challenge will officially launch on January 1, 2009, but can be incorporated at any time. During the period that you challenge yourself, we will also track other changes participants' make in their lives, e.g. incorporating more vegetables in their diet or discussing the Challenge with co-workers.
Additionally, the movement will bring current and past research findings to local and chain restaurants as well as plate manufacturers in order to spread the movement across the country. Health conscious consumers would decrease their caloric intake, allowing restaurants to appeal to a nutrition-oriented market. Utilizing smaller dinnerware could decrease costs (via serving size), satisfying the economic interests of the restaurant owners. Smaller dinnerware would also effectively decrease the amount of waste produced by restaurants. The size of dinnerware could be simultaneously satisfying (win-win-win) to all aspects of the food industry.