The Surprising Way Lighting Can Affect What You Eat

In the modern day, it’s no secret that eating out makes sticking to a diet harder. Despite the enormous portions served in restaurants, new research has now discovered that ambient lighting can in fact trick individuals, by paving the way to consume more.

The aforementioned study, published in The Journal of Marketing Research, was initiated by examining orders of 160 diners at 4 chain restaurants. It was found that nearly half the diners were seated in rooms which were dimly lit, while the other half was seated in well-lit surroundings. Researchers also found that the diners with low light ordered 39% more calories, whereas individuals in brighter surroundings were 16 – 24% more likely to pick healthy items from the menu such as grilled fish, white meat & veggies). The researchers replicated the aforementioned results with hundreds of college students in follow up experiments.

“The thing about brightness which paved the way to eat smarter is that people feel more alert in brighter rooms, which therefore leads to making more forward-thinking, healthful decisions”, explained Dipayan Biswas, Ph.D., lead author, in a press release.

Researchers also concluded that when a coffee placebo is offered or when individuals were simply requested to be more alert in diners in dimly lit rooms, people were as likely as their counterparts in well-lit rooms to make healthy food choices.

It was proposed that making healthy choices often relied on the brightness of one’s mental state than simply the brightness of the room, of course advising not to swear off candlelit dinners as yet.

The director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, co-author Brian Wansink, Ph.D., states that the best way to avoid overindulging is to make one’s self-feel more alert.

The aforementioned would mean taking a brisk walk before dinner time or for to receive an instant boost of energy, simply splashing water on face. As Wansink pointed out, mood lighting is not all bad and strategies like these might actually be desirable. Prior research conducted of his has discovered that individuals who have meals in darkened rooms enjoy food more, eat slower & overall consume less.

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