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A stark contrast “makes you think twice before you throw on another scoop,” explains Wansink. His own family bought some dark dinner plates to supplement their white ones, because people tend to overeat white starches more than veggies.

Wansink’s other research has found:

_Switching from 11-inch plates to 10-inch plates makes people take less food, and waste less food. The slightly smaller plate makes a normal serving look more satisfying.

_People think they’re drinking more from a tall skinny glass than a short wide one even if both hold the same volume, a finding Wansink says was widely adopted by bars.

_Beware if kids eat from the adult bowls. He found 6-year-olds serve themselves 44 percent more food in an 18-ounce bowl than a 12-ounce bowl.

Restaurants are starting to get the message that at least some customers want to eat more sensibly. Applebees, for example, has introduced a line of meals under 550 calories, including such things as steak.

And a National Restaurant Association survey found smaller-portion entrees, “mini-meals” for adults and kids, and bite-size desserts made a new trend list.

It’s all consumer demand, says association nutrition director Joy Dubost: More diners now are “requesting the healthier options and paying attention to their calories.”

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EDITOR’S NOTE _ Lauran Neergaard covers health and medical issues for The Associated Press in Washington.