Background/Aims: Accumulating evidence show positive relationships between eating rate and body weight. Acute food intake is affected by eating rate, bite size, and palatability. The objective was to investigate whether habitual fork vs. spoon use influence eating rate and food intake in four meals that differ in palatability (salt) and in energy density (fat).
Methods: Forty healthy adults (18-54 y) were recruited. In a randomized 2 × 2 cross-over design, participants attended four lunch time sessions after a standardized breakfast. Meals were either 1) low-fat/low-salt, 2) low-fat/high-salt, 3) high-fat/low-salt, or 4) high-fat/high-salt.
Results: Nineteen participants (6 males) consistently used a fork and 21 (8 males) used a spoon (BMI fork: 22.5 ± 0.4 kg/m2; spoon: 25.8 ± 0.4 kg/m2, P = 0.006). Overall, spoon users consumed ~17% more (P = 0.004), and faster (fork: 51 ± 3.4 g/min; spoon: 63 ± 3.5 g/min, P < 0.001). In both groups, the high-salt meals were more pleasant than the low-salt meals (P < 0.03). In fork users, the high-salt meals led to greater food intake (g) (P = 0.019), and tended to be consumed at higher eating rate (P = 0.08), but these effects were not observed for spoon users (P > 0.5). Fat did not affect food intake (g) in both groups.
Conclusions: Fork users consumed slower and less, and adjust their amount of food intake to pleasantness. Consumption with smaller bites may be a strategy to reduce energy intake and increase the awareness of taste.
Funding source: NHMRC, Deakin University