Putting markers for portion sizes on dishes appears to help obese patients with diabetes lose weight, according to a Canadian study of 122 patients.
Plates were divided into sections for carbohydrate, protein, cheese and sauce, with the rest left for vegetables. Sections approximately totalled an 800-calorie meal for men and a 650-calorie meal for women.
A cereal bowl was similarly marked to allow a 200-calorie meal of cereal and milk.
Those using the portion-control dishes lost an average of 1.8% of their body weight over six months, compared with 0.1% among patients not using the specially-marked dishes.
Additionally, 16.9% of those using the dishes lost at least 5% of their body weight, compared with 4.6% of controls.
Lead researcher Sue Pedersen, from the University of Calgary, Alberta, said: 'This simple, inexpensive tool also enabled obese patients with diabetes mellitus to decrease their hypoglycemic medication requirements.'
Archives of Internal Medicine (2007) 167: 1277-1283