Feeling guilty about that huge serving you heaped onto your plate at dinner last night and promptly finished? You're not the only one who does it. New research published in the International Journal of Obesity finds that the average adult eats 92% of the food on his or her plate. The reasons have yet to be hashed out, but the reality is clear: "If you put it on your plate, it's going into your stomach," says Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, in a Eureka Alert press release. The findings hold across several developed countries. Researchers observed 1,179 diners in the US, Canada, France, Taiwan, Korea, Finland, and the Netherlands, and regardless of location or gender the results were almost identical.
There is, however, one exception: kids. Observing 326 participants under 18, researchers found that the typical child eats 59% of the food he or she puts on the plate. Whatever the reason, we grow up to belong to the Clean Plate Club, as researchers call it, they say this can be a wake-up call to be more mindful of what we serve ourselves in the first place. The LA Times susses out one piece of good news along those lines: Those who pile on fruits, veggies, whole grains, and other healthful stuff tend to clean their plates more thoroughly than those who eat less healthful foods. (Other research suggests it's all the sitting, not eating, that's putting on the pounds.)