25/07/2012 14:02 BST

Red Crisps Act As ‘Stop Signs' And Help You Eat Less, Say Researchers

You’ve all heard the slogan ‘Once you pop, you just can’t stop’ – and probably agree that it’s absolutely correct.

However, munching through endless tubes of crisps is never going to be good for the waistline.

Luckily, researchers at Cornell University in New York have found a way to keep the flab at bay – edible red-coloured crisps that mark out healthier-sized portions.

Which, of course, is news that might give Jamie Oliver reason to cheer up.

As part of an experiment carried out on two groups of college students (98 students in total) while they were watching video clips in class, researchers from Cornell's Food and Brand Lab served tubes of potato chips, some of which contained chips dyed red.

Researchers found that the red chips served as subconscious "stop signs" that curtailed the amount of food consumed.

In the first study, the red chips were interspersed at intervals designating one suggested serving size (seven chips) or two serving sizes (14 chips).

In the second study, this was changed to five and 10 crisps.

Unaware of why some of the crisps were red, the students who were served those tubes ate 50% less than their peers.

"People generally eat what is put in front of them if it is palatable," said Cornell Food and Brand Lab director Brian Wansink in a statement. "An increasing amount of research suggests that some people use visual indications such as a clean plate or bottom of a bowl to tell them when to stop eating."