As an obesity crisis looms in the UK, with one in four adults thought to be obese, medical experts are calling on the government to stop the situation spiralling out of control.
Suggestions include a 20% tax on sugary drinks, educating parents on how to feed their children properly and encouraging NHS staff to talk to overweight patients about diet and exercise.
With this in mind HuffPost UK Lifestyle have pulled together six easy tricks and tips to help combat over-eating.
From taking smaller sips of drinks to eating off of colourful plates, here are a number of ways to curb mindless eating. Do you think we've missed any tips out? Let us know in the comments below.
Take Smaller Sips
It certainly sounds like a tall tale, but research consistently shows that taking in a smaller amount of liquid helps you consume less. And the latest study confirms that not only do <a href="http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0053288" target="_hplink">people drink more when they sip big</a>, they also underestimate how much they drank, researchers reported in the journal <em>PloS One</em>. For the study, researchers invited 53 participants to drink as much broth as they wanted, but divided them into three sip-size groups: small sips of five grams, big sips of 15 grams and "free" sips of a natural-seeming size to the participants. They found that those who took small sips drank 30 percent less broth than those who took big or "free" sips.
Pick Something Stinky
Foods with a strong smell may help curb your portion control, <a href="http://www.flavourjournal.com/content/1/1/3">according to a 2012 study in <em>Flavor</em></a>. Study participants were given vanilla custard and were exposed to varying intensities of vanilla scent. When they smelled more vanilla, <a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=strong-food-smell-cuts-down-quantit-12-03-20">they ate smaller portions</a>, Scientific American reported.
Choose A Contrasting Color
Want to eat less of those mashed potatoes? Don't pick a white plate. Choosing a container with <a href="http://foodpsychology.cornell.edu/outreach/color_plate.html">a color that contrasts the food</a> helps you heap less on to begin with, according to a study in the <em>Journal of Consumer Research</em>.
Use A Vibrating Fork
The HAPIfork helps users from eating too fast by vibrating as soon as it senses too many bites per minute, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20130109/us-tec-gadget-show-gadget-watch-electronic-fork/">thanks to its smart sensor</a>. But user beware. <a href="http://www.popsci.com/gadgets/article/2013-01/ces-2013-buzzing-fork-annoys-you-losing-weight">As PopSci pointed out</a>, "One fatal flaw: Hapifork is available in fork form only. So there's nothing to stop you from, say, picking up a spoon and shoveling a gallon of ice cream into your mouth."
Eat On A Smaller Plate
Eating off a small plate can help trick you into thinking you're eating more than you really are -- and <a href="http://news.health.com/2012/10/24/4-ways-to-cut-calorie-intake-at-every-meal/">that can reduce your consumption</a> by 20 percent.
Dim The Lights And The Music
A study of fast food restaurants found that <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120828194942.htm">adding softer lights and music inspired customers</a> to eat 175 fewer calories per meal -- an 18 percent decrease -- than if they were in the restaurant's normal environment. Why not try it at home?
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