Elevated dog bowl consumption increased from 2,300 calories per person per day to 4,000 in two years, according to a study published online in the journal PLOS ONE.
Elevated bowls have been linked to obesity and a host of other health problems in pets, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
“People have a great desire to eat, and it’s easy to overeat,” study author Dr. Matthew C. O’Connor, associate professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, told ABC News.
“We wanted to know if it’s possible to improve a food’s ability to help people lose weight, and whether that would be better than a diet.”
O’Conner, who is also an associate professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the UC Davis, and colleagues recruited 673 people with an average age of 35.
After measuring their blood sugar levels, they assessed their overall health and their appetite levels.
They then assessed the weight of the bowls and the amount of food they ate.
The researchers found that elevated bowls increased the average number of calories consumed per bowl by 1,200, or by 17 percent, and increased the amount eaten per bowl to 1,300.
In contrast, elevated bowls decreased the amount consumed per person by just over 200 calories, or 4 percent.
The study also showed that elevated bowl consumption had a negative impact on blood sugar, which correlated with weight gain and other health outcomes in the study.
“These findings highlight that elevated feeding is a health risk that can be prevented and controlled through an effective lifestyle modification,” O’Connors team wrote in the paper.
The authors hope to extend their study to look at other types of bowls in the future.
“The research that has been done on elevated bowls is promising, but the research that’s been done in the last year has really led us to a different direction,” O`Connor said.
“That is, the idea of elevating bowls may not be as harmful as it seems.
People might be more willing to put in a lot of effort to eat a bowl than people have been in the past.”