A new study from the University of Bristol found that lean people generally consider the time interval between two meals when selecting portion sizes. This means, for example, that they might go easy on arvo tea, if there’s an early dinner on the horizon.
The researchers found people with a high BMI were less influenced by info about what they call the “inter-meal interval” when deciding on portion sizes. In the study, participants had to select lunch portion sizes after being told how long after lunch the next meal would be.
Scientists believe the difference between the lean and overweight participants’ choices can be put down to “delay discounting” – this is the tendency to treat something as less significant based on how far in the future it will occur.
“Our results are consistent with the idea that overeating is promoted by feeling in the moment, disregarding future consequences of decisions,” said lead author Annie Zimmerman. “This novel finding might help to explain why being overweight is associated with irregular meal timings.”
One of the takeaways? Meal planning may be the real MVP – it can keep both portion sizes and meal timings consistent.
The biggest upside, though, is that finally science has confirmed that always thinking of your next meal isn’t a bad thing at all.