Here's another way you can (allegedly) trick yourself into eating less: get yourself a new table (or a bunch of new plates). A new study suggests that the color contrast between your plates, your table, and your food can influence how much you eat.
According to ABC, researchers served meals to 200 subjects. Those who got meals on bigger plates ate more, a result that's been reported before. But those who ate off plates that had a high level of contrast with the tablecloth beneath them also ate more than subjects whose plates were the same color as the table. But the opposite was true of contrasts between plates and food — subjects tended to eat more if the food was close to the same color as the plate, and less if the plate and food contrasted sharply. The study authors believe their results are caused by optical illusions that make the amount of food look bigger or smaller depending on the color contrast around it. They write, "Someone who owns a larger dinnerware in different colors may want to choose the color that highly contrasts with the food he is serving to minimize overserving biases."
So basically, get a whole bunch of different-colored plates and match (or rather mismatch) them to your food for maximum dieting efficacy. Or just get a tablecloth that's the same color as your dinnerware — it's not clear, however, whether the tablecloth-food contrast matters, which is a whole other level of complexity. Previous research has shown pretty convincingly that how much we eat can depend on seemingly silly things like how big our plates are — but this particular study seems somewhat difficult to apply in real life.
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