Once you pop the top of a tube of potato chips, it can be hard to stop munching its contents. But Cornell researchers may have found a novel way to help: Add edible serving size markers that act as subconscious stop signs.
As part of an experiment carried out on two groups of college students (98 students total) while they were watching video clips in class, researchers from Cornell’s Food and Brand Lab served tubes of Lays Stackables, some of which contained chips dyed red.
In the first study of the research, which is published online this month in Health Psychology, a journal of the American Psychological Association, the red chips were interspersed at intervals designating one suggested serving size (seven chips) or two serving sizes (14 chips); in the second study, this was changed to five and 10 chips.
Unaware of why some of the chips were red, the students who were served those tubes of chips nonetheless consumed about 50 percent less than their peers: 20 and 24 chips on average for the seven-chip and 14-chip segmented tubes, respectively, compared with 45 chips in the control group; 14 and 16 chips for the five-chip and 10-chip segmented tubes, compared with 35 chips in the control group.
Photo by Robin Wishna.