Cutting food into smaller pieces may help control weight by making food more satisfying according to this and other studies.

It appears that both rats and humans would rather eat several pieces of food rather than one big one – even if the total amount of the food is the same.

A previous study found that rats would rather eat four 75 mg bits of food than one 300 mg bit.

In this human study, researchers gave each of 301 students a bagel. In some cases the students got a whole uncut bagel and in others they got a bagel that had been cut into quarters.

The researchers measured how much of the bagel the students ate as well as how much of a test meal they ate later.

Students given the cut up bagel not only ate less of the bagel but also ate less of the test meal.

Researchers think that eating more pieces of food is more satiating, which should lead to lower calorie intake.

One way to help dieters make their meals more satiating and satisfying would be to cut energy-dense foods into several smaller pieces, say the authors.

The study findings were presented at the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior. Therefore, the findings are preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed journal.