Have you ever noticed how certain colors can cause you to lose your appetite,
or how certain famous fast-food chains tend to use the same colors in their logos? Colors can play a major role in your appetite and diet, and could even influence you to overeat even when you’re not thinking about it.
Yellow, orange, and red are the three colors that stimulate our appetites most — especially red, which tends to increase our blood pressure and heart rate — triggering hunger as a result. Gray, black, brown, and purple are examples of colors that suppress our appetites and make us feel less hungry. With this knowledge in mind, it makes sense that those who eat in yellow, orange, and red environments are more likely to overeat, whereas those subjected to darker colors may shy away from food.
A relatively new study suggests that even the color of our plates can cause us to eat less or more, depending on both the color of the food and plate. This new study, which was conducted by researchers at Cornell University and published in the Journal of Consumer Research, involved a series of former college students who attended a university reunion party.
At the reunion party, all 60 party guests were instructed to serve themselves pasta from buffet tables that offered either white alfredo sauce or red tomato sauce. Each unsuspecting guest was handed either a red- or white-colored plate while standing in the buffet line, and had their plates and portion sizes weighed using scales hidden in tables.
The researchers found that those who served themselves white sauce on red plates or red sauce on white plates served themselves far smaller portions than those who served themselves white sauce on white plates, and red sauce on red plates. In fact, those who served themselves food the same color as their plates consumed 22 percent more food than their counterparts.
The researchers theorized that those who ate larger portions were unaware of the amounts they were serving themselves because the color of the food blended in with the plate color. On the other hand, those who ate smaller portion sizes were able to better recognize the amount of food they were serving themselves as a result of the contrast in color between the food and plate.
The study results suggest that weight- and health-conscious individuals start using plates with colors that largely contrast with the foods they’re eating to avoid overeating and weight gain. Alternately, individuals could eat from plates in colors that encourage them to eat larger portions of healthier foods, such as green plates that encourage the consumption of healthy green peppers, broccoli, lettuce, green beans, etc. Those who want to eat smaller portions in general should buy plates in darker colors such as gray, black, brown, and purple.