The Color Of the Plates Affect the Appetite
Science & Tech / /
Fast food restaurants and chefs know that many factors affect our appetite. For example, bright colors such as yellow and red combined with high brightness will lead you to order more and eat quickly. In contrast, with dim lighting and gentle music the guest will eat slower and less.
A study by Dr. Brian Wansink and Dr. Koert van Ittersum seems to have the answet to the question- Does the color of your plate affect how much we eat? More specifically they concluded that the color contrast between food and plate creates an the Delboeuf illusion. This optical illusion makes you take more than youactually realize.
According to the Belgian scientist Delboeuf, when one looks at concentric circles, the perceived size of the interior circle changes when the circumference of the outer circle is altered: as the outer circle becomes larger, the perception is that the inner circle becomes smaller.
To test the color contrast effect, Wansink and van Ittersum set up an experiment in which sixty party attendees were offered a pasta with either tomato or Alfredo sauce. In line they were randomly given either red or white plates. After serving themselves, their portion sizes were weighed using hidden scales.
The results confirmed that participants who had low contrast between their food and the plates (red plate and pasta with Alfredo sauce, or white plate and pasta with tomato sauce), served themselves 30% - or 42 grams more pasta than participants with high contrast between their food and the plate.
Therefore, a difference that can be made on our waistlines by combining appropriate color of our plates and the food we eat is significant. Interestingly the same authors also found that reducing the color-contrast between the dinnerware and its background influence the reduction of over-serving by around 10%.
In addition, they also reconfirmed that the larger the plate is, the smaller people perceive the served portion on it. In those cases even being aware of the Delboeuf illusion, it does not necessarily change our perception and help us make better choices.
So, when setting your dinner table keep in mind the Delboeuf illusion and use these findings to your advantage!