Cutting your food into bite-sized pieces might be just as obsessive-compulsive as an Order Muppet counting cookies on a plate before letting anyone eat them, but it turns out that doing exactly that may benefit your waistline, if not your O.C.D. tendencies: A study from Arizona State University researchers reveals that you may eat less simply by cutting your food into small pieces, rather than tackling the entire portion at once.
As ABC News reports, researchers gave 301 college students either a whole bagel or a bagel cut into four pieces. After eating the bagel, lunch was served, and participants were free to eat as little or as much as they pleased. It was during this lunch that differences between the two groups became apparent: While all participants consumed about the same amount of the bagel whether it was quartered or not, those who had the whole, uncut bagel ate 25% more during lunch than those students who were served the bagel cut into four. "This shows that food cut into multiple pieces may be more satiating than a single, uncut portion of food," the researchers say.
The researchers theorize that our greater satisfaction with the multiple over the whole can be attributed to the way the mind uses "number as a cue to judge quantities of food, with larger numbers usually associated with larger quantities." Thus, slicing up our dinner into several small portions "may perceptually look more and therefore elicit greater satiation than the same portion presented as a single, large piece." Or, as a clinical professor of pediatrics told ABC News, "Sometimes being 'full' is a mind game."
Which might be even more reason, then, to pick up the O.C.D. Chef Cutting Board so you can slice and dice with geometrical efficiency. Or, if your O.C.D. tendencies overlap with your artistic impulses, maybe refer to a Piet Mondrian piece for inspiration. Square meals will take on a new meaning, your plate will look pretty and you might lose weight. Not bad for a modern(ist) day diet.