Effect of plate size on meal energy intake in normal weight women
Several authors showed that providing choice may increase food liking and food intake. However, the impact of choice may be modulated by assortment's characteristics, such as the number of alternatives or their dissimilarity. The present study compared the impact of choice on food liking and intake under the two following conditions: (1) when choosing a product to consume from among similar products versus dissimilar products; and (2) when choosing a product to consume from among pleasant products versus unpleasant products. Two experiments were carried out using the same design: the "apple puree" experiment (n = 80), where the volunteers choose from among similar products (apple purees varying in texture) and the "dessert" experiment (n = 80), where the volunteers choose from among dissimilar products (fruit dessert, dairy dessert, custard, pudding). During the first session, participants rated their liking for 12 products (apples purees or desserts). Then the participants were divided into a "pleasant" group (n = 40) in which volunteers were assigned three pleasant products, and an "unpleasant" group (n = 40) in which volunteers were assigned three unpleasant products. Finally, all of the volunteers participated in a choice session - volunteers were presented with their three assigned products and asked to choose one of the products, and a no-choice session - volunteers were served with one product that was randomly selected from among their three assigned products. Providing choice led to an increase in food liking in both experiments and an increase in food intake only for the desserts, namely only when the volunteers chose the product to consume from among "not too similar" alternatives. No effect of assortment's pleasantness was observed.