The Clean Plate Club: About 92% of Self-Served Food is Eaten

International Journal of Obesity (20 June 2014) | doi:10.1038/ijo.2014.104

15 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2014

See all articles by Brian Wansink

Brian Wansink

Retired

Katherine Johnson

Johns Hopkins University - Bloomberg School of Public Health

Date Written: July 22, 2014

Abstract

Many eating studies in psychology, consumer behavior, and marketing journals are dismissed because they focus on how much one serves and not how much is eaten. We develop a means of estimating the percentage of self-served food that is consumed under various conditions. An aggregate analysis was conducted of studies where participants served themselves food and where actual intake was measured. Analyses explored what percentage of food was consumed depending on population, food, and situational cues and generally showed that adults consistently consume the vast majority (91.7%) of what they serve themselves. This was higher for meals (92.8%) than for snacks (76.1%) and higher when a person was not distracted (97.1%) than when he or she was distracted (88.8%). The percentage eaten did not vary between lab (90.7%) and field settings (91.9%). Because many eating behavior studies outside of nutrition measure food selection, but not intake, the aggregate estimates presented in this research can enable obesity, nutrition, and public health researchers to extrapolate how much may have been eaten in such studies. Doing so will extend their relevance to better understanding eating behavior and better developing solutions to overeating.

Keywords: eating behavior, clean plate club, consumption norms, overeating, portion control, meta-analysis, psychology, waste

Suggested Citation

Wansink, Brian and Johnson, Katherine, The Clean Plate Club: About 92% of Self-Served Food is Eaten (July 22, 2014). International Journal of Obesity (20 June 2014) | doi:10.1038/ijo.2014.104, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2469970

Brian Wansink (Contact Author)

Retired ( email )

607-319-0123 (Phone)

Katherine Johnson

Johns Hopkins University - Bloomberg School of Public Health ( email )

615 North Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD 21205
United States

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