Want to lose weight without having to cut back your meals?
It turns out you can trick your body into feeling full for longer simply by using a square shaped bowl, experts suggest.
So will standing up while eating rather than sitting down.
But the good news ends there for coffee lovers, as research from Oxford University suggests you shouldn’t drink your morning caffeine hit with your cereal.
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Jennifer Newton, a neuroscientist from the university, said eating cereal from a square bowl increases the brain’s perception of nutrition and leaves it feeling more nourished as a result.
Commissioned by cereal brand Special K, she carried out a two-day experiment following the eating patterns of 78 women.
All participants were given 30 grams of cereal, 125 milliliters of cold semi-skimmed milk and a stainless steel spoon.
Some were then given round bowls to eat their breakfast and others were given square ones.
Some were also asked to eat standing up, some sitting down, some with coffee and some without.
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The experiment controlled where they ate their breakfast, with some women eating in a noisy area and others eating in a calm atmosphere.
When they’d finished, they were asked to fill out questionnaires about how nourished they felt, how the cereal tasted and how it had affected their mood.
“Participants who consumed cereal from a round shaped bowl found it less nutritious than those eating from a square shaped bowl," Newson said. “The interviews conducted with the women who took part in the experiment suggest many of us eat with our eyes, because the cereal looked more appetising in a square shaped bowl the women found it more nutritious.
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“More than ever, people are eating on the go, and we found that eating standing up actually increased how wholesome people thought the cereal was.
“Based on new evidence it could be argued that when we’re not sitting down at a breakfast table, our brain’s perception of nutrition is higher.”
The research also concluded that the more nutritious a person thinks his or her cereal is, the tastier they find it.
Those who found their cereal nutritious and tasty reported feeling happier and more energized after breakfast.
And drinking coffee can actually make you think your breakfast is less tasty.
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Newson said: “This could be due to multisensory interactions between the different olfactory and taste sensations affecting the nutritional perception, or more indirectly through learned associations that we have attached to drinks like coffee.
“The experiment highlights how the perception of nutrition, like many other aspects of human perception, is a flexible concept at the level of the brain.
“A judgement that is not just based on the cereal itself, but also according to what’s going on in your surroundings, your internal state of mind, and what else you are doing.”
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TV personality Katie Piper was one of the women who took part in the experiment.
She said: “Whilst I think a lot about what I’m eating for breakfast, I don’t really think about how I eat it.
“Taking part in this experiment made me realize I should take more time to mindfully eat my morning bowl of cereal, so my brain realizes I’ve had a nutritious breakfast and I’m ready to tackle the day ahead.”
Special K nutritionist Alexa Hoyland said: “Women are more conscious of nutrition than ever before, but not enough women are thinking about how they eat may affect how they feel about their food.
“It’s interesting that during this experiment women ate the same nutritious cereal but their perception of this changes depending on the circumstances in which they were eating it.”