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Supersize packs of food cause over-eating

Supersize packs of food cause over-eating

Supersize packs of food may be causing people to over-eat as they inflate the idea of a normal portion, new research has discovered.

A team from the University of Surrey found that bigger packs of items such as crisps, lager and lasagne are prone to tricking people into what is deemed a healthy portion size. And it seems men are more affected by what they've dubbed the 'pack size effect'.

Over 13,000 participants from Britain, Germany, France, Spain, Sweden and Poland were involved in the study. Those who were more likely to fill up their plates with excess food noted they don't check the recommended dietary information.

It appears portion sizes get back to normal as people age though, as older participants were seen choosing a more suitable amount of food. The findings were documented in the journal Appetite.

Hunger isn't the only factor that necessarily comes into play though as pack sizes are a psychological ploy used to boost sales. Food manufacturers pay a bounty to big supermarkets for their products to be in an ideal position on shelves. Along with this, red promotional signs draw in shoppers' attention so they're more likely to pick up a supersize pack if it's on sale.

"Our results indicate a small but significant ‘pack size effect’ across all countries and for different types of food and drinks," Dr Sophie Hieke, from the European Food Information Council, noted.

"If people were to actually consume the portions they estimate in this study, there would be a substantial increase in energy intake in each of these eating occasions.

"The study did not measure actual intake and that further research would be needed to test whether the increases in portion sizes do lead to the predicted increase in energy intakes over time."

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