When you clean your plate, you just add weight

ITHACA, N.Y. – If you’re a member of the Clean Plate Club – you eat pretty much everything you put on your plate – you’re not alone.  A new Cornell University study shows that the average adult eats 92 percent of whatever is on his/her plate.

“If you put it on your plate, it’s going into your stomach,” said Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab and the study’s lead researcher.

Wansink and co-author Katherine Abowd Johnson, student at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, analyzed 1,179 diners and concluded that the urge to clean our plates is not just an American trait. The results were nearly identical in seven developed countries studied: United States, Canada, France, Taiwan, Korea, Finland, and the Netherlands. If we serve it, we’ll eat it regardless of gender or nationality.

Wansink says that these findings, published in the International Journal of Obesity, can positively impact an individual’s eating behavior, “Just knowing that you’re likely to consume almost all of what you serve yourself can help you be more mindful of appropriate portion size.” Next time you grab that serving spoon, think to yourself, “How much do I want to eat?” and serve accordingly.

Media note: A short video of Brian Wansink explaining the research, as well as an informational graphic and additional details about this research can be found at http://foodpsychology.cornell.edu/op/Clean_Plate_Club