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Eating off a plate with the right color makes eating less much easier

Eating off a plate with the right color makes eating less much easier
If you want to eat less, use a plate with a color that contrasts strongly with the color of your meal. Usually that will be a white plate. With the right choice of color, you will eat about 150 calories less of a large meal, Turkish researchers discovered.

The researchers, who were affiliated with Hacettepe University, gave 54 healthy and normal women aged 18-30 years lunch on three different occasions. The researchers had ensured that the women had all received the same evening meal and breakfast before the experiment. From the lunch - a pasta with Napolitana sauce - the women were allowed to eat as much as they wanted.

On one occasion the women got their lunch on white plates, one another occasion on black plates and on yet another occasion on red plates. The researchers were hoping that the plates with a different color made the women extra attentive to the food on their plates, and that this state they would make them spontaneously eat less.

Contrary to what the researchers had hoped for, the women did not eat less when got their food on a red or black plate. Instead, they ate 155-165 kilocalories more when they were using colored plates.

Eating off a plate with the right color makes eating less much easier

The researchers suspect that the pasta Napolitana was a bit less visible on a red or black plate than on a white plate. This reduced quality of visual perception stimulated appetite. [JCR. 2011;39:215-28.] If their subjects had received a dish with cauliflower, mashed potatoes and a white cheese sauce, for example, a black or red plate might have reduced the calorie intake.

"The present study demonstrated that red and black plates did not induce avoidance behaviour in healthy women during lunch", write the researchers. "The results of this study suggest that the influence of plate colour on food intake may depend on other factors, such as the type of the food and contrast interaction between the colours of the plate and the served food."

"As the need for efficient strategies in restricting food intake is crucial to combating overeating and increased energy intake, research assessing the impact of colour on eating behaviour should be continued in future studies."

Nutr J. 2018 Apr 21;17(1):46.

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