More Colors!

2 Jan

Beautiful Fresh Sushi

Just look at those colors!  Even something as small as a sushi roll can have beautiful appetizing colors.  The plate of sushi is composed on a white plate.  The colors pop off the plate. So appetizing!  Sushi is usually served on either a plain white plate or a plain black plate.  Look at that picture.  There is not a lot of food on that plate.  The plate contains 8 small pieces of sushi, ginger ribbons, and wasabi.  The food, as you can see, is beautifully presented on a solid colored plate.  Studies have been conducted to determine if plate color has an impact on both appetite and  how we portion food.  The findings may surprise you!

Marketers have long understood how color affects our mood.  Food packaging is geared toward stimulating the appetite.  Generally, blue is not a color used in food marketing or dinnerware.  It is considered an appetite suppressant.  One theory as to why blue does not stimulate the appetite is because it is not a color generally found in natural food.  With the exception of blueberries and some potatoes, we just don’t eat blue, so we do not associate it with appetite.

Studies suggest that food on solid colored plates make portions look larger.  Portions tend to get “lost” on a plate with a pattern.  Portion control is mental as well as visual.  We can trick our mind.  And sometimes we need to trick ourselves into having smaller portions.  One tool to begin downsizing portions is to use a solid colored plate for meals.  When portions are exactly equal, our brain perceives a larger portion on a solid colored plate versus a plate with a pattern on it.  This improves satiety.  But what is satiety?

In my field of nutrition, satiety is a term used in the classroom and a commonly recognized buzzword relating to nutrition and wellness.   It is used to define, in a way, satisfaction or fullness while eating.  When studying satiety, one of my professors discussed how many bites it took of a food to feel satisfied.  She indicated that the number was three.  Yep…3 bites and you begin to feel satisfied with the food flavor.  If a craving hits, 3 bites of the food craved and gratification begins.  Slow down, enjoy the satiety, the flavors, the fullness, and eat less.

Problem with satiety, though,  is that it is a slower signal to our brain than hunger.  Sometimes we eat too fast to realize when we are satisfied, leading to overeating.  And other times we simply ignore the signal and keep eating.  We are more in tune with hunger signals than satiety.  But you can train your body to recognize satiety sooner, and eat less.  And use solid colored plates so your brain appreciates the portion size.  Its a new year folks.  Lets get healthy!!

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