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Meal Memories Change How Full We Feel

lentilsoupWhat did you have for lunch today? Was it a big lunch? A small lunch? Maybe a big snack? Think about it! It’s important. Because what you remember about how much you ate can influence how full you think you are and how much you eat at the next meal.

The connection between our memory of our meals and how full we feel comes to us courtesy of researchers from the University of Bristol in the UK. Using bowls that could be manipulated to contain more or less soup, the researchers determined that people who were shown a larger portion of soup rated themselves to be less hungry and more satiated several hours later compared with those who were shown a smaller portion even if their actual serving was secretly manipulated to be less than what they saw.

The study, published in PLOSOne, sheds some light on the relationship between perceptions and actual physical sensation and that our memories and perceptions can influence our behavior. While the researchers acknowledge that more work needs to be done before these findings are useful in combatting overeating and obesity, it is heartening to have another perspective on the issue and another means of examining it.

So, what did you have for lunch? Did you pay attention? Did you give bits and pieces of it to your children so you don’t really have any idea how big your meal ended up being? Are you hungry now? If you are, is it because it seemed like a small meal at the time? Think about it. It could be important.

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