People are easily swayed by the size labels on our food, and will eat more if they believe they're consuming a "small" as opposed to a "large." And to make things worse, consumers aren't aware of their overindulgence.
This distorting effect, on both perception and eating behavior, is worse for people who aren't much concerned with their nutrition, and for those whose minds are distracted by other tasks, the study found.
The findings suggest size labels are contributing the to the country's obesity epidemic, the researchers said. Over the last several decades, food portion sizes have increased dramatically, along with people's waistlines. ... But what might be the effect of more ambiguous labels, for instance, Starbuck's "Venti" or Cold Stone Creamery's "Like It" sizes? While the researchers have not studied this question directly, they speculate the ambiguity may make things even worse.
"It's even more possible to indulge in this guiltless gluttony, because you can convince yourself of anything," Krishna told MyHealthNewsDaily. "If you take 'Venti,' you can convince yourself that it's really nothing big, because [the word] has no meaning for you."
To improve the situation, Krishna said it should be made clear what a normal serving size for an adult is. From there, "small," "medium" and "large" sizes should be standardized across stores and restaurant chains. ...