Don't Let the Size Fool You
Is it possible that as a society we can't tell the difference between a small and a large soda? Or a small and a large order of fries? And could our lack of serving size comprehension be giving way to guiltless gluttony? Well, a new study suggests that size labels are tricking us into consuming more fat and sugar.
New research from Koc University in Istanbul, Turkey and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan suggests that yes, labels enable us to engage in “guiltless gluttony.”
. . .
“When a larger food item is labeled ‘smaller,’ consumers perceive it to be less in size versus a smaller food item labeled ‘larger,’” the researchers noted.
This is from the Science Blog:
When people consumed a large item that was labeled “small,” they felt less guilty; the authors call this effect “guiltless gluttony.” “An implication of our results is that consumers can continue to eat large sizes that are labeled as smaller and feel that they have not consumed too much. This can result in unintended and uninformed over-consumption, which is clearly ridden with significant health ramifications, and size labels could be contributing to the rampant obesity problems in the United States.”
Is it really possible that we don't understand when we are consuming a large serving of food or soda just because corporations have labeled them as small?
I'm sorry, I have a hard time believing this could possibly be true. Far be it for me to question the results of a scientific study, but I think that people are a little smarter than that. What do you think?
Don't get me wrong, I do think that our serving sizes have gotten out of control (and are probably contributing to obesity in some way), I just don't think that any of us are so naive not to realize.
And it's not just the food we eat. Have you noticed how larger clothes are coming in smaller sizes?
The companies that make our clothes know we want to fit into smaller sizes, so they've developed something called vanity-sizing.
Vanity sizing – you know… labeling a piece of clothing a size or so smaller than what it actually is to make it more appealing.
. . .
Wearing a pair of jeans that says they are five inches smaller than they really are might make you feel good. But hello???! Snap out of it already. There’s an obesity crisis in this country and hiding from it with this vanity sizing stuff is not helping. This country is in desperate need of a reality size-check.
From That's Fit:
When you take home a tag that says size 36, trying measuring the waistline next time. It could be a size 39.5 in reality. Some major culprits are H&M; Calvin Klein; Alfani; Gap; Haggar; Dockers; and, last and worst, Old Navy.
It seems Old Navy is one of the biggest offenders of vanity sizing (check out this chart from Esquire). I had a first hand look at it this past weekend. I was in Old Navy and tried on a pair of pants that were a size 4, and they were actually too large. When I tried on another pair in a size 2, they were larger than the size 4. The funny thing is -- In the real world, I'm not a size 2 or 4, I'm a size 6. Does Old Navy really think that if I can buy a smaller size at their store, I'll keep coming back? If that's what they think, they're wrong, because I'm not flattered, I'm just annoyed.
In my opinion, consumers are not being fooled by these food and clothing size lies, but I imagine they could be contributing (in a small way) to the obesity epidemic. What do you think? Is it guiltless gluttony? Do you recognize that a small soda is much larger these days? Would you prefer to buy clothes in smaller sizes, even if you know it's a lie? Let us know what you think in comments.
Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan
Also at Catherine-Morgan.com
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