The Eye

Can a Dinner Plate Inspired by a Sponge Actually Help Reduce Calories?

The AbsorbPlate has 500 holes that its designers claim drain up to 30 calories of excess oil from greasy food.

BBDO Bangkok

Ad agency BBDO Bangkok created a prototype for the Thai Health Promotion Foundation to create a new kind of dinner plate designed to help extract excess calories from greasy Thai dishes. Inspired by the surface of a sponge, the AbsorbPlate is perforated with 500 holes that its creators claim can collect and hold micropuddles of oil, siphoning up to 7 ml (about 0.24 ounces) of grease from a serving of food, shaving a potential 30 calories from every meal.

“Thai food is delicious but sometimes very greasy,” BBDO writes in a project description, adding that the hundreds of stir-fry and deep fried dishes cooked with oil are one of the reasons that Thais have the second highest obesity rate in Southeast Asia. “Unhealthy eating behaviour is hard to change, and most Thai people go for what’s delicious. How can we help Thai people eat healthier without changing their regular meal?”

Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab Brian Wansink has argued for redesigned school lunch trays and using smaller plates, taller glasses, and ditching serving tongs and spoons as small tweaks that can help people consume fewer calories in his book Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life.

But 30 calories per meal is such a negligible amount that this is certainly not a silver bullet. A pound roughly equals 3,500 calories, so a dieter needs to reduce his or her caloric intake by 500 to 1,000 calories per day to lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But it might catch on as an even more effortless form of pizza blotting.

Check out the video below to see the AbsorbPlate in action.