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Identifying Barriers to Reducing Portion Size: A Qualitative Focus Group Study of British Men and Women

1
Nutrition and Behaviour Unit, School of Psychological Science, University of Bristol, 12a Priory Road, Bristol BS8 1TU, UK
2
National Institute for Health Research Bristol Biomedical Research Centre, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, University of Bristol, Bristol BS2 8AE, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2019, 11(5), 1054; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11051054
Received: 7 March 2019 / Revised: 3 May 2019 / Accepted: 6 May 2019 / Published: 10 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Portion Size Effect and Strategies for Portion Control)
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Abstract

Reducing portion size might reduce meal satisfaction, which could minimize adherence to portion size interventions. The present study sought to identify the perceived barriers for consumers to eat smaller portions. A secondary aim explored the relative contribution of enjoyment of taste and post-meal fullness as determinants of meal satisfaction. Focus groups (N = 42) evaluated consumers’ feelings toward a small reduction in portion size. Thematic analysis of written free association tasks and open-ended group discussions revealed that most participants expected to feel hungry and unsatisfied, which motivated them to consume something else. However, others expected to feel comfortable, healthy, and virtuous. The acceptability of the reduced portion was also determined by meal characteristics (e.g., time and setting) and individual characteristics (e.g., predicted energy requirements). Compared to post-meal fullness, enjoyment of taste was perceived to be the more important determinant of meal satisfaction. In conclusion, interventions should present portion reduction as a marginal modification with little physiological consequence to energy reserves, while emphasizing the positive feelings (e.g., comfort, satisfaction, and self-worth) experienced after consuming a smaller portion. Additionally, focusing on taste enjoyment (rather than fullness) might be a useful strategy to maintain meal satisfaction despite a reduction in meal size. View Full-Text
Keywords: portion reduction; portion size intervention; qualitative; meal satisfaction; focus group portion reduction; portion size intervention; qualitative; meal satisfaction; focus group
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Ferrar, J.; Ferriday, D.; Smit, H.J.; McCaig, D.C.; Rogers, P.J. Identifying Barriers to Reducing Portion Size: A Qualitative Focus Group Study of British Men and Women. Nutrients 2019, 11, 1054.

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