Nutrition: The colour of your plate can influence how much you eat

For 2012, I’ve vowed to make my resolutions positive (I will eat more whole grains) rather than negative (I need

nutritionthecolourofyourplatecaninfluencehowmuchyoueat

For 2012, I’ve vowed to make my resolutions positive (I will eat more whole grains) rather than negative (I need to cut back on chocolate). Plus, new research out of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University in New York state has me planning to add more colourful foods to my meals to contrast with our white plates.

The study was conducted during a college reunion party. Party goers were directed to buffet tables serving pasta with either tomato or alfredo sauce and randomly given red or white plates. Participants were instructed to help themselves, and their plates were then weighted on hidden scales.

The researchers found that those who had low contrast between their food and the plate (red pasta on a red plate or white pasta on a white plate) served themselves about 22 percent more than those with high contrast between the food and plate, such as white pasta on a red plate. So if you want to eat less, choose plates that contrast the colour of your meal, or up the colour content of the food on your plate.

This research will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Consumer Research.

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